Ever since we were children, it was grilled in our heads that we are an agricultural based country. That our economy depends on our agricultural products. Some still believe this myth even today. Without looking at the numbers, everything becomes believable because it becomes gossip without being confronted by facts and figures.
Once you look at the numbers, you come to realize that not only our economy is a service industry economy but agriculture comes towards the end when it comes to our GDP figures.
Agriculture composition within our GDP by percentage is only 20.9%. Industry is 20.3% and Services is 58.8%.
Our main problem is that we are told wrong facts and figures and at times entirely wrong narratives by our leaders and we believe it with our ears closed and eyes open. At times because we are in love with our parties and at other times because doing research may force us to change our views. And changing our long established views is quite painful. It shows us a mirror as to how ignorant we have remained for years. And admitting to ourselves that we are ignorant, even for a few days, let alone decades, is not a pleasant thing to face.
We import $981.2 million dollars’ worth of vegetables into Pakistan. If we were an agricultural country, it would have been like importing sand into Saudi Arabia. We import $1.4 billion worth of oil seeds. $2.3 billion worth of plastics and plastic articles. $2.4 billion of animal and vegetable fats, oil and waxes. $2.4 billion of organic chemicals. $2.7 billion worth of cars. $3.4 billion worth of iron and steel. $4.7 billion worth of electrical machinery. $6.9 billion worth of computers and other equipment. $13.7 billion worth of mineral fuels including oil.
How can we forget the luxury items. $1.4 billion on top of regular cars, we import luxury cars. $1.3 billion of cell phones. And of course us Pakistanis need Tea, so we import $550 million worth of Tea.
Chocolates, yes, very important for our survival. So we import $172 million dollars worth of Chocolates. Another good fact which I cannot afford to miss mentioning is that we export cheap clothes with the highest quality for the foreigners but we import $240 million worth of used clothes from the same foreigners, Landay Kay Kapray, as we all know them by, back into Pakistan.
We sit in the same luxurious 2 crore rupee car that we imported from overseas depleting our foreign reserves and complain about how our Current Account Deficit is increasing. Biting on imported Cheese and imported Grapes, we moan about how our rupee is depreciating. With a 2 lac rupee imported phone in hand, we call our friends and send them WhatsApp messages of how the dooms day is coming soon for Pakistan.
Governments and the people alike, never have concentrated on building our resources indigenously. Resources that Pakistan is full of.
Did you know….
That we have 12.3 million tons of declared Copper reserves. 20.9 million ounces of Gold. 175 billion tons of Coal. Yes you read it right, that is “billion” not millions. 105 cubic trillion feet of Shale Gas. Yes, again you read it right. It is “trillion” not million or billion. We also have natural resources of 9 billion barrels of shale oil. 4.2 billion cubic feet of Gas production per day.
And to top it all off, we have what many other countries do not have. 57.4 million Strong labor force. This is the biggest asset we have. And this asset combined with an ever growing youth population that can take this country into a new era of progress. But to us, progress begins and ends at bridges and roads which our politicians brain wash us into believing that it is a gift from them to us.
The real gift to me would be tapping the resources of this country and building upon it. Building an economy that is locally supported and grown. Instead of jumping with joy at every dollar of Foreign Direct Investment coming into Pakistan, we would jump at every dollar earned from locally manufactured goods.
Pakistan has an immense potential. Let us stop talking about it over our dining tables and let us start tapping into that potential, TODAY. Even today is late because we should have started day before yesterday.
Author: Mir Mohammad AliKhan