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"We are left far behind"

Feb 28 - Mar 05, 2000

"The nation is facing the challenge not only to achieve growth but to achieve sustained growth which is consistent with the highest values in the interest of the country. "We do have the potential to grow but since we are already left far behind, we need to accelerate our endeavour to create new initiatives".

These observations were made by Munnawar Hamid, President of the Pakistan Society for Training and Development (PSTD) in his address of welcome at the second national human resource conference on the "Competencies and Values of National Growth" organized by the PSTD in Karachi. The Citibank, Engro, ICI Pakistan Ltd, PPL and Reckitt & Colman were the leading sponsors of this 2-day conference.

The conference was aimed at developing rigorous and determined approaches to managing the national affairs with full responsibility to the future generations

Munnawar Hamid said that PSTD feels that no amount of effort in promoting professional competencies and values can be enough. Pakistan needs more dedicated efforts than many developing countries do. We may not be lacking in basic competencies, as has been proved by the remarkable performance shown by Pakistanis both inside and outside the country. The nation as a whole does not benefit if the professional competencies are used for personal and parochial benefits alone and are not applied towards national growth, he remarked.

The conference which was inaugurated by Syed Babar Ali, Pro-Chancellor of Lahore University of Management Science, was addressed by eminent professionals and academicians.

Dr. Attaur Rehman, Director HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi, in his paper highlighted the inadequacy in professional competencies and values in the field of Science and Technology as the single biggest reason for a poor cumulative GDP of OIC countries at $1150 billion compared with a single developed country i.e. Japan with $5100. Thus OIC's weak role in world politics and economic leadership. Dr. Attaur Rehman emphasized the need for building institutions, achievement of National Self Reliance, improving teaching and research standards and methods and improvement in our examination systems as a means to bridge the gap. He recommended that Science and Technology should be directed to achieving rapid industrialization, strengthening of agriculture sector, major increase in GDP, adequate health cover, increase in literacy to 100 per cent, adequate infrastructure and self reliance in defence technology.

Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha, former federal minister for commerce and the chairman Tariff Reform Committee who is known for his services for the cause of education in Pakistan spoke on "Elements of Good Economic Governance". Served as Dean and Director of IBA, and Vice Chancellor of University of Karachi, Dr. Pasha in his paper said that the economic literature has traditionally emphasized that the rates of expansion in the physical inputs lies in capital and labour as the principle source of growth, and that this explains only part of growth achieved, leaving technical progress and more importantly human capital unexplained. He focused on issues of what constitute good governance and explained that for achieving economic growth, there are nine elements including full harnessing of productions potential for equity, sustainability, fiscal discipline, institutional capacity of management, policies, credibility protection of the public interest, effective delivery of services, ability for crisis management, integrity and sovereignty of state.

For achieving results both short and long term, the government must take immediate steps for the restoration of investors' confidence, export promotion and resource mobilisation, he concluded.

Samir A. Hoodbhay, Managing Director, Data Communication and Control (pvt) Ltd. in his paper on "pursuit of efficiency and values through information technology" highlighted various aspects of the information technology including use of website for public information, archiving of public documents, city basemap, land utilisation, studies, collection of property tax, demographic studies and planning, traffic management, environment and pollution management, combating crime, computer integrated manufacturing, simulation and prototyping.

The efficient systems whether related to the areas of computer or social, are rule based: adhocism is the bone of good governance and that information technology is merely a tool: it is the human will , sensitivity to one's environment, social integrity and initiatives of leadership that make dreams come true, he observed.

Mehboob Ellahi, Director General, Ministry of Environment and Local government in his paper "on management of environment" said that business and industry of Pakistan has been playing in the intensifying environmental problem. The pressure of the world environmental protection, explosion of population and rush to the urban countries have added to the problems connected with environment. Lack of appreciation of the need to conform to local EPA requirements by a large number of industries and their inability to see the long term impact of this is one of the major reasons for our lagging behind other developing countries in this area. He recommended that a concerted joint effort by the private and public sectors to expedite the process of total conformity to local EPA standards.