S.KAMAL HAYDER KAZMI,
Research Analyst, PAGE
June 4 - 10, 2012
Faisalabad has a predominantly agriculture and industry-based economy and forms a backbone of Pakistan's textiles production sector. This sector constitutes more than 65 per cent of the textile export market of Pakistan, which itself forms 58 per cent of total exports. This makes Faisalabad's share of total exports from Pakistan more than 40 per cent. Other industries include hosiery, carpets and rugs, nawar, and lace, printing and publishing, and pharmaceutical products. There are also several thousand household industries including some 60,000 power loom factories.
With a population exceeding two million, it is the third largest city behind Karachi ($78 billion) and Lahore ($60 billion) in Pakistan. Faisalabad's GDP is projected to rise to $87 billion in 2025 at a growth rate of 5.7 per cent, higher than the growth rates of 5.5 per cent and 5.6 per cent predicted for Karachi and Lahore.
The area's status as the nation's industrial capital has allowed it essentially to experience rapid industrial development and nurture itself into a major growth center with high economic activity. This development has structures all urban, semi-urban, and rural industry throughout the region.
Today, more than half of Faisalabad's population is engaged outside agriculture, letting a large number of villages and urban areas experience transition from agriculture to industries that are primarily export-based. Faisalabad has been called the Manchester of Pakistan because it has a major impact on the economy of Pakistan.
The city generates 25 per cent revenue for the trade and commerce activity of Pakistan. The ongoing economic diversification has initially attracted migration from other parts of the country; merchants from surrounding districts also travel to Faisalabad frequently to engage in trade. Moreover, the eight bazaars of the city each have different types of markets and goods.
Besides traditional industrial base, the city has diversified a lot in other commercial activities. Banking sector has gained a lot of ground in the economy of Faisalabad.
Almost all the banks have their regional corporate banking head offices in Faisalabad. A number of international banks are also in this city. In addition to banking, insurance sector has boomed. State Life Insurance, Eastern Federal Union Insurance, Jubilee Insurance, AIG Insurance are a few to name as the major player in Faisalabad.
Establishment of a dry port at Gatti, a few kilometers away from the main city, has greatly boosted economic activities in Faisalabad by facilitating direct imports and exports of goods and cargo.
Faisalabad's major export crops include the Kharif crops which include maize, rice, sugarcane and bajra as well as the Rabi crops which include wheat, barley, gram and fodder.
In addition to these, there are Zaid Kharif and Zaid Rabi crops. Zaid Kharif crops are toria, raiya, sarsoon and Zaid Rabi crop is tobacco. The use of tractors is becoming popular and fast replacing the conventional ploughs.
Improved varieties of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides have greatly increased per acre yield and with that the prosperity of the peasant community which has toiled for three generations to transform a barren land into verdant fields.
Faisalabad district is famous for its fruit production. Important fruits are oranges, bananas, apples, sugarcanes, tangerines, fruiter, mangos, guava, and Faalsa. The total area under fruit orchards is 34,517 acres.
On the other hand, the education has stepped up as another major contributor to the economy of the city. Rise of a few good universities, many good professional schools, and primary and secondary education schools by private sector has contributed a lot not only to the education sector but also to the economy of the city.
The institutes offer degree programs in various disciplines and continually add more programs as newer specialties develop. However, the training programs are designed not only to meet curriculum guidelines and accreditation standards of the students, but also to meet international standards of education in different disciplines in Faisalabad.
Currently, challenges which Faisalabad's economy faces includes gas and power load shedding, which has led to the closure and disruption of several textile and manufacturing factories.
The energy shortage in Faisalabad has pushed the industries to the brink of disaster. The number of industrial units had been closed down because of electricity shortage. The Fesco has been supplying electricity to the industries for merely eight hours a day during the last two months in broken periods, and the desperate millers were contacting the association for the sale of their units. The gas supply is also suspended to the industrial sector for three to four consecutive days that results in halting the production process. It was expected that the production process in at least 450 industries of Faisalabad has come to a halt while it has also left daily wageworkers unemployed. Recently, the government is taking action against these two main crises in Faisalabad, and directing the authorities for removal of hurdles in industrial growth and achieving textile industry targets.
No doubt, there are many career opportunities in different sectors of Faisalabad either in public or private sector, but unluckily the city is facing many challenges mainly in terms of gas and electricity which affect the economic activity and increase the unemployment rate in the city. The industrialists demanded that the government should exempt the industrial sector from gas and electricity load shedding. It is hoped that the government with the help of productive sectors would be able to come out of the current difficult patch stronger. The government should also take the business community as a partner in the national development as both should work together for the betterment of the economy. The democratic government is business-friendly and believes in industrial growth to strengthen the national economy.