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Pakistan needs economic growth to off set growing population affects.

ISLAMABAD, April 20, 2011 (Balochistan Times): Pakistan needs economic growth to off set the affects of the rising population growth rate and the change in the age structure of its population. According to a statement issued by the Planning Commission here , the GDP of Pakistan increased by 4.2 per cent per annum from 1972 and 2010. However, this increase in the GDP remains unstable and fluctuating and some time shows a decreasing trend. The statement said that the average GDP growth rate in early 60s was around 7 per cent, which decreased over time to an average of just over 4 percent during last 10 years. In contrast to this declining trend, our regional competitors that include Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka, have shown signs of decreasing instability and increasing trend in GDP growth rates over the last 50 years, the statement added. It said that Bangladesh has been able to increase its average GDP growth rate from around 2 percent in the early 70s to over 5 percent in the last 10 years, Sri Lanka from increased its average growth rate from 4 in the early 60s percent to 5 percent in 2010 while India increased its average growth rate from 5 percent to 6 percent for the same period. These figures in some sense paint a clear picture of the state and direction of our Economic Growth since the 1960s, it added. The statement said that to put it simply, we need economic growth to off set and balance the effects of the increase in the population growth rate and the change in the age structure of our population. Nearly 50 percent of the Pakistani population is below the age of 20, the statement added. Pakistan is heading toward a window, where if right steps are taken and it can head towards success. Availing this window of opportunity is called a demographic dividend while the scenario that emerges after having ignored this is referred to as a demographic disaster, the statement said. As our population increases and age structures change, the dependency ratios i.e. number of people economically dependent on others also changes. The statement said that it is estimated by 2030, the dependency ratio will reach its lowest point, meaning, the number of people in the working group will far exceed the number of people dependent on others for survival. If by this time we are not able provide suitable jobs for these people, unemployment rates will rise sharply, increasing poverty, crime and fuelling extremism. Therefore in order to be able to avoid this disaster scenario, we need economic growth today so we can provide economic opportunities for these youth tomorrow, it added. It said that the New Growth strategy aims to increase the long term growth figure of Pakistan in two phases. In the first phase, the emphasis will be on raising the growth of Pakistan from its current 3 percent to the trend rate of 5 percent. This will be achieved through increasing the under utilized capacity of the industry, which is currently not operating at an efficient level. The will phase will focus on the energy sector, reforming of budget to mobilizing additional revenues, making public expenditures more effective and stabilizing the economy. The Second phase will intend to increase the growth rate from the trend level of 5 percent to sustaining a higher level of 7 percent growth for at least the next decade in order to provide employment opportunities for the youth of tomorrow. It will focus on sectoral interventions, i.e. strengthening the banking sector, deepening capital markets, making them more responsive towards investments needs and raising productivity through improving sectoral efficiency. This growth will then be sustained by expanded regional trade, human resource development, governance reforms and steps taken towards making cities the engines of growth and increasing the overall connectivity in Pakistan. The first and second stages are not substitutes but the first stage will complement the second as the second phase kicks in.

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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Apr 20, 2011
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