The report “Creating a Place for the Future” is an effort to diagnose the state of entrepreneurship in Pakistan, provide evidence for successful episodes, revisit global best practices and then come up with a set of actionable items that can ignite the entrepreneurial spark which is much needed in this country.
Entrepreneurship must be given more space in the coming years through a more thoughtful policy and regulation. It must be given place in the value system by allowing merit to overtake privilege. Education too must give entrepreneurship space by replacing bureaucratic management by creativity, merit and risk-taking.
The Framework for Economic Growth Pakistan (FEG) which has been prepared by the Planning Commission through research and countrywide consultation has been approved by the National Economic Council (NEC). It focuses on governance, markets, urban management, connectivity and engagement of youth and community. The thrust of this new growth strategy is to develop the ‘software’ (institutions and governance) that are now viewed to be vital for the growth process. Pakistan needs sustained growth if it is to employ its youthful population and avoid social upheaval. This can only happen if Pakistan builds both a first class government and a globalised and competitive market.
In essence it is about reorienting the role of government from controls and loss making parastatals to quality, magistracy, policy and regulation. This in turn will allow competitive markets to develop and provide a platform to idea-led entrepreneurs to innovate. Plans in Pakistan have always talked of the ‘private sector’ wherein the policies seek to cultivate the private sector through subsidies, cheap credit, protections and many other incentives. This policy is preventing the development of entrepreneurship.
The FEG seeks a departure from this old policy to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in open competitive markets. In such markets, incumbents continually face the challenge of entrepreneurship to force cost and innovation competitiveness for the ultimate goal of consumer welfare. Entrepreneurs take risk and lead the innovation curve to force individuals, firms and nations to compete efficiently and creatively.