Making of the best version of Pakistan
This year will witness a magnificent thrust of “Make Pakistan”, it would be a glorious era where we would be able to see our local Pakistani products grow and glow in the shelves of International markets. This statement seems to be dreamier than reality but following a right systematic approach and government support, that day is not far away when our local products will be highly preferred domestically and internationally as well.
It’s a fact that Pakistan’s products have a high demand in the developed world. In South Africa, China and USA, surprisingly Chinioti furniture is very much appreciated. Similarly China craves for the aromatic rice from the fertile lands of Pakistan; Pakistani fruits are treasured all over the globe due to their exotic taste and freshness. Pakistani handicrafts are accredited as superb wonders of arts and crafts, Pakistani gemstones are considered purest and valued all over the world, and Pakistani cotton fabric is greatly appreciated among the international aesthetics.
Moreover, the uniqueness of Pakistani embroidered fabric attracts a large number of foreign buyers. In short, there is a big room to fill! The only thing we lack is ‘value addition; and an accurate marketing strategy.
To increase our exports, a public-private alliance can play a useful role. The private sector can mobilize resources and take part in the manufacturing and marketing of Pakistani goods. The government, on the other hand, should come up with a comprehensive scheme to tap the international markets.
There are numerous effective ‘made in Pakistan’ alternatives that can help build the national economy. At domestic level, people should now follow the trend of preferring local brands, we should feel that there is something extremely empowering and satisfying about buying products that have been grown, produced and handcrafted by our own people.
Buying local has far-reaching benefits for the community and the environment overall as well. Across the board, research has shown that small-scale, locally owned businesses create communities inter-connected and prosperous.
In order to promote the domestic market and our own products, Pakistanis should follow ‘Make Pakistan’ ‘be Pakistani’, and buy Pakistani’ trend.
Unless and until manufacturing sector and exports are strengthened, economy would not be able to achieve a sustainable high growth rate. Pakistan needs export-driven growth strategy. Even the United States cannot run without exports, Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh are all flourishing economies through their active exports.
In Pakistan, nearly four million youngsters are coming every year to the job market and the only way to provide them employment is to boost manufacturing activities. Initially, we can mark only five significantly potent sectors that can give a gigantic boost to the country's exports. These sectors should be encouraged through relaxation in duties and taxes. Currently our products are struggling in the international market as our prices are higher than India and China.
Pakistan can never get itself free of manipulative outsiders unless it raises its own revenue from domestic resources. The move of marketing “Made in Pakistan” products in the country and abroad is the only way forward for dealing with the current trade deficit. Pakistan needs to rethink and reconfigure the trading patterns for focusing on self-sufficiency.
Fortunately in move of making Pakistan best version of itself current government is determined to bring investor-friendly reforms in ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and evolve agriculture and industrial policies for creating ‘Industrial Base’ in the country. The government is in full swing to launch the move of ‘Made in Pakistan’ to decrease reliance on the foreign products for domestic consumers.
Export-led economy on the first place requires sustainable industrial growth and, value addition, modern agro-industry and effective branding of top notch Pakistani products in the international markets.
Whereas, “Made in Pakistan consumer pattern’ involves Quality control of local products and up gradation of technology to shift consumer preference towards local products. In this regard, Pakistan embassies working in different parts of the world can play a vital role to promote Pakistani products. Thus the collective efforts by business people and government servants with shared sense of responsibility may lead to explore more horizons for ‘Making the best version of Pakistan’.
Ministry of Commerce contribution is notable at the moment which is actively developing a three-stage communication and image building strategy that will work on branding Pakistan (image building), made in Pakistan (trade) and Make in Pakistan (investment).
The ministry is undertaking consistent efforts for getting additional market access for Pakistani products in potential markets and in this regard, free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with Turkey and Thailand are at an advanced stage, negotiations with Iran on the FTA are being initiated and joint research study to assess potential for a preferential arrangement with Korea is underway.
In this regard, trade development authority of Pakistan is also doing various export promotional activities through trade exhibitions and delegations while commerce division is working on diversifying export markets through an outreach strategy for Africa, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Latin America.
EXIM Bank is being established to facilitate export credit and for reducing cost of borrowing for exports sectors on long term basis. All these combined efforts predict an optimistic standing of Pakistan in 2020.
Last but not the least; we need radical transformation that brings the search for knowledge, science, technology and innovation to the forefront of government support. We need to make innovation a part of our knowledge culture and the government urgently needs to redefine how it plans to pursue its creation.