Need to develop chemicals industry

Though the government of Pakistan has come up with the Innovative Chemical Treasures and Vision 2030 with the sole purpose to fully tap the potential of this sector, yet there exist various potent flaws in the way of achieving this high-profile goal. The history of industrial development proves that the highly industrialised countries like UK, France, Germany and US achieved their status after several centuries of continuous effort. Same is the case with newly industrialised states like Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, China, India and Brazil, though their progress span is comparatively shorter. Amid all these industrial developments, modernising a National Innovation System (NIS) has always remained a pivotal point. In Pakistan, the chemical industry, a focal part of the whole industrial sector across the world, still in its infancy stages. The government needs to exploit chemical industry potential, as it can contribute significantly to the national economic stability and development. In fact, the chemical industry provides key linkages in terms of products and technical solutions to several downstream industries like engineering, automotive, consumer durables and food processing. But even then the Pakistans industry is facing pressures from globally competitive markets, which witnessed sales of $2.5 trillion in 2010. In fact, RandD institutions, universities and industry in the country work in isolation and are completely divorced from each others activities. And unfortunately, no effort has so far been made by the public or private sector to develop public-private partnership in order to integrate the activities of various sectors of economy. Pakistans technological infrastructure is weak and is not suitably developed. Its scope is gravely needed to be widened, modernised and strengthened in order to achieve the desired goals. Lack of a multi-disciplinary approach to research as well as any provision or facility for pilot plant work in Pakistans technological institutions is a point of high concern, besides minimal budgets on research and development from industry. Presently, the countrys major exports consist of low technology, labour intensive products while the share of medium and high technology products in its total exports remains very small. The development of chemical industry produces high value-added goods and is essential if Pakistan is to remain internationally competitive, reduce its trade deficit and record strong rates of economic growth. In order to advance technology, universities, RandD institutions and industry must foster linkages as a first step towards the streamlining of available resources for development. This is the only solution and the relevant authorities must rise to the situation as laxity cant be afforded any more.

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