Good business-academia links can guarantee socio-economic development: minister

March 24, 2023

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Prof Ahsan Iqbal called for a strong synergy between business and academics to promote industrial productivity for increased exports and to guarantee the country's socio-economic progress. Speaking at a global Health Security Conference hosted by University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, he said Pakistan must develop its livestock and agricultural sectors to maintain food security for its growing population, anticipated to reach 330 million by 2050.

Ahsan Iqbal urged universities and researchers to contribute to the advancement of the country by developing new ideas while utilising cutting-edge technologies. Although Pakistan is among the top ten countries in the world for rice, wheat, sugarcane, and other agricultural production, its per-acre yield is very low, and its livestock growth is also slow, just because it lagged behind in the use of modern technology and methods in agriculture and livestock farming, he asserted.  

He anticipated that Pakistan could take advantage of the worldwide halal meat and milk markets, particularly those in the Middle East, by using contemporary technology and practices in the agriculture, livestock, and dairy sectors. According to Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan has talented and management-skilled individuals who can aid in the country's recovery from present issues by playing their proper roles. He held that the effectiveness of a policy, for which socioeconomic policy consistency is crucial, requires at least ten years.

The 75-year history of Pakistan demonstrates that it has adopted good policies, but in terms of consistency, it lags behind South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand,  Turkiye, and other countries, he observed. Now under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC), the Chinese government and enterprises are now really interested in investing in Pakistan, which is a good chance for the country to develop its economy.

Pakistan must take away the lesson that politics and interpersonal animosities should not block the path of national progress, Ahsan Iqbal said. Politics and interpersonal strife should not come before the interests of the nation, rather the nation should work together to boost Pakistan's economy, he added.  

"We failed to turn Pakistan into an export-led economy, whereas the nations that relied on this approach are currently making progress on the economic front," the minister said. He said, there is a need to help the young improve their information technology abilities, and the climatic crisis must be addressed.

The energy problem, which puts a significant burden on Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves, must also be solved first and foremost, he said. The country must convert to renewable energy sources and prioritise equality in both education and health, he added.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk