“Sustained growth of Pakistan economy is possible only with export of higher value-added goods”, says a policy brief issued today by the Institute for Policy Reforms. To achieve this, Pakistan must increase its focus on science and technology. IPR’s Brief written by the renowned Dr. Attaur Rahman former federal minister and Chairman HEC, recommends that the country must commit in earnest to a Science and Technology strategy. This is critical for the country’s future or else “Pakistan risks being left behind permanently”.
Pakistan’s main export product is textiles. While textile constitutes 60% of Pakistan’s exports, it has a mere 6% share in world exports. Overall, manufactured goods are 67% of world trade. Resultantly, Pakistan’s role in world trade is limited because it does not have the value-added products to participate in bulk of the world market. That is the main reason that its exports do not increase.
Also, no economy grows on a long-term basis without a dynamic and continually modernizing manufacturing sector. The share of manufacturing in Pakistan’s GDP is under 14%, whereas it ranges between 37% to 43% of GDP in middle income East Asian economies. India and Bangladesh have a share of 30 and 28% of GDP respectively.
To boost manufacturing and economic growth, the S&T strategy must integrate into all aspects of the economy: industry, agriculture, SDGs as well as government.
For effective implementation, it must be led at the highest government level, by the Prime Minister. Support through S&T is the only way for the private sector to productively use the external and internal knowledge needed to manufacture and export value added goods.