By Nasir Iqbal
Over the last seven decades, Pakistan has struggled to develop a comprehensive economic model to solve long term structural and economic issues. The successive governments create various vision documents, planning tools, and growth strategies to transforms the country into a developed nation. Recent documents include Vision 2030, Vision 2025, and Five Years Plan 2020-2025. The current government is working to develop a new growth strategy to solve economic and social issues.
Quaid’s Economic Model and Vision: Happy and Contented People
Do we need a new vision document or growth strategy to resolve massive unemployment, structural poverty, and deteriorating economic growth? The answer is NO. Why? Because we already have the economic vision of our founding father to create a happy and contented people. The Quaid’s economic model and vision started with the goal of “creating a happy and contented people.” The Quaid emphasized that the economic transformation required “education planning, economic planning, and social planning.”
Blueprint for Economic Reconstruction
The Quaid blueprint for economic reconstruction and transformation is based on five pillars:
- Human capital development: The Quaid emphasized developing human capital in diverse areas, including agriculture, commerce and trade, and particularly science and technology. The state should provide the best possible training for technicians, scientists, businessmen, doctors, and civil servants to develop human resources for accelerating economic growth.
- Private sector-led labor-intensive industrialization: The Quaid emphasized that all industrial enterprises (excluding defense and communication) should be open to private enterprise. The proposed industrial and commercial policy’s main points include i) To associate individual initiative and private enterprise at every stage of industrialization. ii) To build the banking and financial mechanism, the bankers should repair and restore this vital sector. The private enterprise was assured of every facility government can give for the development of industry in the country.
- Role of the public sector as facilitator and enabler: The Quaid wanted the public sector to play a more active role in providing a network of social and public utility services and relief and amenities.
- Free trade and price stability: The monetary policy should encourage maximum production and a free trade flow. The state should stabilize prices at a level that would be fair to the producer and the consumer.
- Linking academia to industry: The Quaid emphasized the Research Organization’s role to provide economic solutions compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life.
The Success of Economic Blueprint: East Asian Economies
The success of the seventy-year-old economic model can be judged by looking at economic transfers in the East Asian countries (Asian Tigers). The economic model adopted by Asian tigers is based on the principles proposed by Quaid. These countries invested in human capital and allowed the private sector to develop a technologically driven industrial base. These countries streamline the role of government as a facilitator and enabler. Lastly, these countries ensure well-established linkages between academia (think tanks) and industry to innovate and enhance competitiveness.
Key Takeaways of Quaid’s Economic Model
The Quaid’s economic model stood for structural change in the economy. A balanced and mixed economy with a pragmatic blend of the agricultural and industrial sectors, resulting in a more equitable distribution of wealth, is essential for sustainable development. The Quaid’s economic model is based on full employment opportunity for one and all, for contented labor, for a fair deal to the farmer, and human resource development at all levels.
In essence, the proposed economic model ensures economic equity and social justice to one and all. As a way forward, Pakistan needs an action-oriented growth strategy to transform these principles into actionable policy items. For implementation, we need to develop work ethics as done by other countries, including China and Asian Tigers. No need to invest time and energy to create a new vision for Pakistan. It’s time to implement the Quaid’s Economic Model and Vision.