M Farrukh Qazi
Since its independence, Pakistan has faced a plethora of problems, prominent among them is the economic problem. Pakistan is mainly an agricultural country because of which it earns major chunk of its GDP and also absorbs most of labour force. Majority of the population in Pakistan lives in rural areas and they are somehow dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Pakistan’s foreign earnings are also dependent on its export of agricultural products, but imports have outstripped exports, thus adversely affecting the balance of trade.
The demand of Pakistan’s export products has been continuously decreasing in international market because of poor production quality; whereas its imports include heavy machinery which is very expensive. Moreover, Pakistan, despite being an agrarian country, has to import a few agricultural products as well, which further aggravates balance of trade. However, with passage of time, Pakistan established industries and somewhat shifted burden of economic progress from agricultural sector.
The State had been crippled with severe power crisis, high inflation and low foreign exchange reserves, but the situation began to improve gradually in 2015 when the inflation rate started dropping rapidly. Pakistan has made progress because of the implementation of prudent economic policies which it lacked in the recent past. Throughout this time, China is the most prominent country that supported Pakistan the most. According to a spokesman of the Federal Government, China has invested $46 billion and tops the list of countries that invested the most in Pakistan.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is going to materialize soon, which will benefit Pakistan the most. There are great opportunities for joint projects between Chinese and Pakistani SMEs in areas like fisheries, warehousing, food processing, livestock, light engineering. The Corridor offers massive opportunities for industry-led economic growth in Pakistan. The cooperation between the two States also ensures the transfer of technology which will help Pakistan’s small and medium entrepreneurs modernize their present technology. On his first visit to Pakistan, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim declared Pakistan to be on the path of economic progress and lauded the government for its performance.