After a long neglect, Pervez Musharraf's government
realized the importance of engineering industry to provide a solid
footing to the nation's economy and came out in 2002 with an ambitious
"10 years engineering vision" plan envisaging 10 to 12 billion
dollar investment to increase the share of industrial and manufactured
goods by 25 and 30 percent respective in the GDP during this period.
The engineering vision prepared by the Ministry of
Industry and Industrial Development Board under the supervision of the
then Minister for Industries Razaq Dawood, aimed to develop engineering
industry to be able to export industrial products and manufactured goods
to $5/6 billion by 2010 from 270 million dollar at present against a
world market of $ 6 trillion.
The plan, which was announced by the President
himself with a big fanfare, seems to have been put at back burner by the
elected government of Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali.
Inquiries by this correspondent revealed that no significant measures
have been taken to implement the plan and things were moving at a snail
The development of engineering industry worldwide is
characterized with an all out government support. In Pakistan this
support has not so far been so visible if not absent. As a consequence
our engineering industry remains far from achieving its true potential
in the face of rising imports of capital goods. Due to vested interest,
the country continues to have basically cotton-based economy, which
offers limited opportunities for future expansion and growth. For
achieving major economic strides, it is essential that our reliance is
shifted to other high value added areas like engineering goods industry
otherwise we would be left far behind in the 21st century world of
science and technology.
Deficit financing, adverse balance of payment
situation and inflation are the key factors at the macro level that are
responsible for the economic disaster in Pakistan. At the micro level it
is attaching low priority to the development of the engineering industry
and the adoption of negative attitude towards a Research and Development
(R&D) based policy and promote the transfer of technology and
development of an indigenous industrial base that have not provided any
chance of self-reliance. The net result has been the primary
manufacturers, low value addition and low level of technology.
With the advent of WTO, the economics are getting
integrated and only the most competitive and innovative shall survive.
Keeping in view the above fact there is a dire need of the long run
objective for competitive industry, which may require Simultaneous
implementation of the following three areas: (a)
Leveraging Existing Industrial Strengths. (b)
Creating a strong intermediate sector and Domestic Linkages (c)
Creating External Linkages through FDI.
Realizing the importance of long term planning the
present government decided in the year 2000 to formulate a ten year
"Engineering Vision 2010" to achieve desired economic growth
and become "Asian Tiger" in the foreseeable future. This
long-term vision was based on export-led industrial strategy to increase
5 to 6 billion dollars exports of Engineering Goods annually through
diversification and deepening of the resource-based and non-resource
based industries. The emphasis will be on full integration of
manufacturing operations through value chain to enhance industrial
linkages and to increase productivity and competitiveness by 1)
Global Orientation. 2)
Public/Private Sector Industry. 3)
Productivity Enhancement and Quality/Standard. 4)
Industrial Database. 5)
Balanced Regional Industrialization. During the last two years, however,
very little has been achieved in terms of the objective of the vision.
The then Minister for Industries, while unfolding
engineer vision had told the newsmen that the engineering vision and the
defence product export organization set up by the Musharraf government
would help boost our export by over 25 percent during fiscal year
2002-03 and by about 50 percent by 2004-05. He boastfully said that he
saw no difficulty in achieving this target. He advised the entrepreneurs
engaged in the engineering industry to make concerted efforts to
penetrate into the markets of Malaysia and Thailand, which had a
potential demand of $ 30 billion engineering goods, and Pakistan with
little initiative can claim a reasonable share.
For the first time in decades the government seemed
to be in the right direction as it is a universally accepted fact that
the economic development as well as the defence potential of a country
is directly linked with the technological level of engineering industry.
This specially applies to Pakistan which does not have aburdant natural
resources like oil and it has to drew its strength directly from its
engineering goods sector.
"Engineering Vision" was the first major
step taken by any Government in Pakistan to realize these basic
objectives of country's economy. It should not be allowed to be placed
in cold storage or at the back burner. Prime Minister should reactivate
the plan and save the elected government from being charged with
shelving a very useful plan because of sheer indifferent and lethargic