In its ‘Economic Outlook, the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has advisedthe government not to be complacent withdeclining petroleum prices which could reboundanytime. The chamber has also pinpointed the areas of concern before the government, including electricity crisis, the issue of recoveries from private and public sector organizations and reducing the line losses to the acceptable level within three months. In the medium term goals, the chamber advises the government to improve energy mix by opting for low cost electricity generation and launching long term hydroelectric projects.There is a need to minimize dependence on furnace oil which is expensive, and rather a luxury in the current economic situation.
The country is blessed with abundant coal reserves and vast planes which can be utilized to generate electricity and solar power in collaboration with public sector organizations.The Economic Outlook also calls for improvement of the Pakistan railways for cheap transportation of coal and to fully exploit the potentials of Pak-China trade corridor.
According to the document, the volume of trade of petroleum products among the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperationis 68 percentand there is a need to enhance trade of non-petroleum products. The Malaysian economy is a role model for the Islamic world and the Pakistani policy makers can learn from Malaysian experience.No doubt the business community of Pakistan is patriotic and its advice must be heard. LCCI PresidenIjazAMumtazhas offered all out help to the government to boost economic activities in the country, calling for upgrading the agriculture sector and it be treated as an industry.For now the main source of income in the agriculture sector is cotton and there is a need to produce value added goods to lowerits dependence on cotton and textile sectors.
As a matter of fact, apart from the sagging economy, security threat is the pressing issue at this time and there is a need to enhance security at the business centers and industrial areas.The Peshawar incident should be an eye-opener for the people at the helm of affairs and the government should wake up to protect the common man.
Pakistan has the potential to build huge water resources in the form of Kalabagh and DiamerBhasa dams to produce cheap electricity and cut oil import bill. With a workforce of around 85 million, the country has no dearth of talent.More than half of the population in Pakistan is below the age of 25which is the asset of the nation.
The oil prices are going down with every passing day and the Saudi oil minister has declared that his country would not cut oil production even if price per barrel comes down to $20. It is time for the policy makers to walk cautiously on the tight rope of uncertainty.