Jan 16 - 22, 20

Pakistan is among those a few countries in the world, which are gifted with great human potential. Pakistani scientists, physicists, chemists, physicians etc., are performing at the highest levels, in good number, in the most advanced nations of the world.

Pakistani bankers hold a very high reputation in the world's most prestigious institutions, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Pakistani professionals, workers and artisans have over the years also earned a very good reputation in information technology, sports goods, handicrafts etc. However, due to extremely low literacy, poor quality of education, and lack of training facilities, the human resource in Pakistan is largely underdeveloped.

Combining the human development policies with other economic and social policies would lead towards development of competencies that Pakistan could have in its skilled and educated labor force. Population control, poor education infrastructure, availability of clean water and sanitation to the general public, working conditions for laborers, and pollution are the issues that cannot be resolved until Pakistan eventually meets macroeconomics successes in trade.

Pakistan has a population exceeding 160 million with an annual growth rate of 2.16. The country remains mainly an agricultural country with over 65 per cent rural population.

It is a mixed economy in which the state-owned enterprises including industrial corporations, trading houses, banks, insurance companies, hospitals, etc., account for nearly half of the gross national product (GNP).

Agriculture although still the largest sector, now contributes less than one-fourth of the GNP, while manufacturing forms almost one-fifth. Pakistan have high rate of poverty.

One of the very common attributes of Pakistani business is lack of vision. Vision has two aspects - "dream" (or ambition) and foresight. It is common, among the most successful enterprises around the world to have business vision (dream) that serves as the nucleus of higher organizational goals. This vision (into the future) is the spirit that drives successful organizations of today. The other aspect of vision is foresight - the ability to anticipate the future. Unfortunately, this farsightedness is widely wanting in our economic institutions - both public in particular and private in general.

The natural outcome of this shortsightedness is that our economic activities are conducted in a "firefighting" (reactive) mode rather than proactive.

This weakness is also an explanation of the volatility (and fluctuations) of our business institutions with respect to environmental changes. Another area that suffers as a consequence is policy making, which requires a broad and long term view for decision making.

A trained and highly skilled workforce is a valuable economic resource for an economy. The benefits are high productivity, high quality output (goods and services) and high levels of efficiency.

Unemployment (even for skilled labor) is high mainly due to host of economic challenges and energy crises. Planning, both public and private sector, can capitalize on these resource markets to fill the human resource gaps and gain economic advantage.

Pakistani business unfortunately, like many other situations, has failed to capture this huge potential opportunity. Such initiatives require vision and entrepreneurial spirit that is not so common in our business community.

Keeping in view the significance of the human factor in the economy, it is clear that Pakistan cannot make sustainable economic progress without seriously addressing its human issues.

Pakistan's economy would continue to operate under its production possibility without serious human development efforts. Raising the human level would positively enhance the socioeconomic growth potential of the society.

Information and technology (IT) sector has immense potential to grow at domestic and international levels. The number of IT companies is performing tremendously and differently in different areas of IT including service sector, software programming, software engineering, media production and etc. But, there is a room of improvement in the industry because of the fact that industry has been established by entrepreneurs without major support of the government's finance and its policy.

The IT firms are exploring its market themselves nonetheless and moving towards stabilization of industry with many famous brands under its belts working globally. The IT industry is lacking of vision. IT industry needs vision, strategy and target to get success in short, medium and long-term so it can make difference collectively and enhance its sized and growth rate with investment and employment opportunities.

Presently, there are major IT companies working domestically and internationally but they are limited compared with neighboring India, which is growing significantly because of the government support and vision.

The government and IT companies need to set exports target for the industry and devise a framework to pursue plans with proper coordinated facilities and integration. The global market has been changed its position particularly for IT industry because its potential markets are not US and EU anymore but Middle East and African market are centre for its activities.

There are many potential sectors such as e-government, e-banking, logistics, transportation, financial institutes and capital markets. IT needs fresh and experienced software engineers for employing their expertise in the various projects of service sectors and ICT-based infrastructure at domestic and international level.

IT industry is seeking graduates in software engineers but there is acute shortage at local level, as educational institutes are not producing students of this field. The number of students in software engineering is very few compared with the demand but majority of them are inexperienced and need extensive professional training to avail working opportunity in local and global markets.

Human resource development of economy in general and professionals in particular has not grasped much intention of researchers in literature. However, creating economic development and competitiveness, the role of competent professionals is of strategic importance. Human resource development is the essential precondition for developing a knowledge-based economy, reducing skills mis-matches in the labor market, and creating the country's international competitiveness by promoting social and economic development as well as wellbeing of the people.