KARACHI'S IMPORTANCE IN ECONOMIC GROWTH
FOZIA AROOJ (email@example.com)
July 06 - 12, 2009
Karachi is the nerve center of Pakistan. It is the most populous city and financial capital of the country. It is situated on the eastern coast of the Arabian Sea and to the north-west of the Indus River. Its population is over 16 million consisting people of different origins. Over 50% of total revenue collected by Federal Board of Revenue is collected in Karachi. It produces a major chunk of value added goods in large-scale manufacturing and other industries. It accounts for 20% of the total GDP of Pakistan.
According to a study conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers in 2007, Karachi's GDP (Currently $55 billion) is expected to touch $120 billion mark by 2020 at a growth rate of 5.9%. This high GDP is mainly attributed to the concentration of main centers of financial sector and mega industrial base in the city. Textile, cement, steel, heavy machinery, chemicals, food, banking, insurance are the major sectors functioning in the city. In February 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan.
The industrial base in Karachi is tremendously broad. Fringes of the main city are bordered by the large industrial estates. The main industries are textiles, pharmaceuticals, steel, and automobiles. Apart from these, there are many cottage industries in the city as well. An expo center has also been set up in Karachi and is now available to host many regional and international exhibitions.
A large number of new manufacturing units are being set up near Pakistan Steel Mill. Farm businesses are located beside the Super Highway. Pakistan Steel Mill was established in Karachi with the assistance of USSR. It is the only steel factory of the country, which is playing an important role in stabilizing country's economy.
Karachi is also home of major automobile manufacturing companies. There are branches of major motor companies such as BMW, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Land Rover, Rexton, Lexus, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Dodge, General Motors, Hummer, Nissan, UD Nissan Diesel, Daihatsu, Suzuki, Kia, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Daewoo, Isuzu, Renault, Bedford, FAW, Geely, Proton, Chery, Adam Motor Company, HinoPak, as well as several automotive companies of china.
Most of Pakistan's public and private banks are headquartered on Karachi's I.I. Chundrigar Road. Karachi Stock Exchange is Pakistan's largest and oldest stock exchange, with many Pakistani as well as overseas listings. It has been declared as the "Best Performing Stock Market of the World" for the year 2002. It is considered by many economists to be one of the prime reasons for Pakistan's 8% GDP growth across 2005.
IT TRENDS AND MEDIA
There is a rising trend of development of information and communications technology (ICT), electronic media, and call centers in Karachi. It has become the software outsourcing hub of Pakistan. Call centers for foreign companies have been targeted as a significant area of growth, with the government making efforts to reduce taxes by as much as 10% in order to gain foreign investments in the IT sector. Recently, an agreement is signed between the City District Government Karachi and the Malaysia, Dubai and Indian consortiums to build a sky-high 46 storied 'IT Tower and Call Center' building in Karachi. This tower will serve as an institution of highly professional and world class IT experts. The growth of IT will ensure advancement and innovation in the sector and will also provide an array of employment opportunities to youth. It will also bring about revolution to boost overall national economy tremendously.
The city has also been established as the hub of electronic and print media centers. The head offices of most of the TV channels including CNBC Pakistan, Dawn News, TV One, Indus Television Network, ARY Digital, AAJ TV, KTN NEWS, KASHISH TV, and GEO TV are located in Karachi.
AIR AND SEAPORTS
Karachi is primarily a port city, which is the lifeline of Pakistan's economy. Two main seaports, Port of Karachi and Port Qasim, are the pivotal of trade and industry. Karachi port is Pakistan's largest seaport and is handling about 60% of the nation's cargo (25 million tons per annum). Port facilities are being expanded on a large scale by increasing the handling capacity of KICT from 300,000 TEUs to 400,000 TEUs per annum. A new desalination plant is also to be constructed to address the city's water shortage problem. Port Qasim is Pakistan's second busiest port, handling about 35% of the nation's cargo (17 million tons per annum).
The airport of Karachi, Jinnah International Airport, also known as Quaid-e-Azam International Airport, is the largest and busiest airport in Pakistan and handles 10 million passengers a year.
Karachi is the biggest fisheries hub in Pakistan. Fishery plays an important role in the Karachi's economy. It provides employment to about 300,000 anglers directly. In addition, another 400,000 people are employed in ancillary industries. It is also a major source of export earning. The Karachi Fish Harbour and Korangi Fish Harbour are two major fish harbors in Karachi. Karachi Fish Harbor handles about 90% of the fish and seafood catch in Pakistan and 95% of fish and seafood exports from Pakistan. A very large number of people earn their livelihood by catching fish, processing, and selling them.
Karachi is the centre of education and other cultural and social activities. A great number of prestigious educational institutions are functioning citywide. It is an ultra-modern city, with most modern cinemas, recreational clubs, hotels, and restaurants. There are beautiful beaches such as Sands pit, Hawks Bay, etc.
Rapid industrialization in Karachi has led to various problems including environmental problems, pollution, traffic woes, and emergence of slums. Besides, there are a series of troubles branched out of political instability. Economic stagnation, ethnic strife, social issues, and a halt in the growth of major industries are prime hindrances of growth.
A major problem facing Karachi seaport is pollution of the sea around port area. Oil spilling is causing enormous amount of pollution in the area from 20-25 miles. The oil spill still requires more cleanups immediately that have to be on a war footing. However, that is neither simple nor easy task. Fish food exports are suspended because of the apprehension of the world that these are not safe to consume because of lack of cleanliness. There is a need to clean up 32 to 40 thousand tones of oil that has actually been spilled into the sea. Furthermore, it is to ensure that untreated effluents from various industries particularly from chemical and leather industries should not be allowed to fall into the sea. An even larger issue is what to do with Karachi's sewerage water and hard waste that is adding to the city's filth.
Cooperation and coordination of city district government, provincial and central governments, and public can only address the problems. Karachi is a vital part of national economy and social fabric. We can preserve the peace and trade activities in the city by contributing at individual level and highlighting the core issues in a productive manner.