Pakistan striving to develop social sector to ensure economic growth

November 24, 2022

Ayesha Saba

Pakistan is striving to develop its social sector to manage the risks faced by its economic growth owing to external and internal factors, WealthPK reports. Muhammad Mugheez Farooq, energy auditor at the National Productivity Organisation (NPO), told WealthPK that providing social infrastructure was crucial for the development and growth of an economy. “The most important social indices are education, health, employment and gender equality. Human development and human welfare are at the centre of the social sector's approach to growth policy,” he said.

Mugheez Farooq said that rural and urban low-income communities in Pakistan lived in poorly serviced settlements where lack of basic infrastructure and poor environmental conditions seriously impacted health, education, security and productivity. “The rich are often able to access services privately while the poor suffer where public sector service delivery fails. Over the years, there have been few institutional reforms in the state’s service delivery mechanism,” he said. The expert said that NPO through its “Social Sector Development Programme” adopted a strategy of targeting selected rural communities to empower them through productivity-related measures.

He said that the empowerment of women entrepreneurs through skill development and facilitating resource-based income-generating training projects for low-income people in some selected villages in all the provinces of Pakistan, including Azad Jammu and Kashmir, were also part of the initiative. “Pakistan, the second largest country in South Asia and the sixth largest country in the world in terms of population, is still in its infancy stage of development. Pakistan should focus on developing the basic determinants including institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment and education,” said Mugheez Farooq.

He said that Pakistan would have to strengthen its labour force and switch from low-productive to high-productive economic activities. “Focusing on human resources is a promising strategy for Pakistan. The government needs to invest in the education and health sectors. However, the country has not yet developed a level of social infrastructure that can boost its economy,” he added. According to a United Nations Development Programme report, Pakistan has dropped seven places in the Human Development Index (HDI), ranking 161 out of 192 countries in 2021-2022. Mugheez Farooq also lamented the unequal distribution of resources across Pakistan.

“The government and policymakers should chalk out a feasible and non-discriminatory policy to enhance the physical and social infrastructure stock in the country in order to achieve the desired goals of economic growth,” he added. He said that the government was making efforts to implement the social sector development strategy effectively. “Several effective steps have been taken to alleviate poverty and improve the living standards of people by providing subsidised services to them in health and education sectors. However, all policies must be effectively monitored to strict enforcement,” Mugheez Farooq told WealthPK.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk