Industries are the backbone of the national economy. Both the progress and prosperity of a country depend on industrial development. Industrialization and mechanization go hand in hand. In fact, the two are indispensable for civilization. The industrialized nations of the world are also strong economically and politically. They also enjoy a high standard of living.
When Pakistan came into being, there were very few industries worth mentioning. The enemies of Pakistan predicated early collapse due to the poor economic base, general poverty, and ignorance. Educational and economic progress are concomitant variations. So the government paid special attention to scientific and technical education and industrial development from the very beginning.
The areas comparing Pakistan inherited a very poor industrial economy. There were only some simple industries such as one cement factory, flour and rice mills, ginning factories, food industry, etc. The requisite technical skills and basic infrastructural facilities were limited. The share of the industrial sector was as low as 7.7 percent of gross domestic production 1949-50. Anyhow, the investors put their shoulders to the wheels and within short time industrial sector become the second important sector after agriculture.
The country has made tremendous progress in major industries during the last four decades. The setting up of P.I.D.C. in 1950 was an important milestone in this direction. P.I.D.C. had completed 62 industrial projects by 1973 at a capital cost of Rs. 242.6 million. Soon the industrial sector grew by leaps and bounds after the entry of the private sector in the field. The major projects completed by P.I.D.C. are Machine Tool Factory at Landhi, Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, Karachi Shipyard and several fertilizer factories.
Credit is to Industry what air is to life. The government set up special credit institutions to prop the industrial requirements. Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation (PICIC) and the Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP) in 1957 and 1961 respectively, are the major credit bodies. Subsequently Small Business Equity Ltd. boosted up the smaller units.
In order to be self-supporting in ‘tech’ manpower, many engineering universities, colleges and polytechnic institutions were established all over the country. Another encouraging step was the setting up of nonfinancial institutions like Small Industrial Corporations Investment Advisory Centre of Pakistan (IAGP), Pakistan Industrial and Technical Assistance center (PITAC), Pakistan Standard Institute (PSI) Central Testing Labs (GTL) and Patents and Design Department, etc. Subsequently, the industries were regrouped into ten corporations under the supervision of BIM.
Above all, Fiscal and Monetary policies were geared up to boost up industrial development. They include tax concessions and holidays, lower duty on imports of raw materials and machinery, and liberal loan facilities.
The industrial sector has seen some ups and downs since 1972 according to the government policies of the time. Now more importance is being attached to the private sector. The present phase of privatization is an important step in the direction.
Cotton textiles, cement, fertilizers, sugar, jute, food products, and sports goods are the major industries. Trade makes a nation. It not only earns foreign exchange put also encourages savings and investment. Industrial peace is very essential for the development of industries and the promotion of exports and imports. Much has been done and achieved through trade pacts and agreements. The people are still to reap the advantages of industrial progress. The gap between ‘Haves’ and Have-nots has become wider. Only the rich can enjoy the blessings of the new phase. The general standard of living is very low compared to other countries. The curse of Inflation has deprived the common men of fruits of industrial progress.
Only equitable distribution, of wealth and opportunities, can bring happiness to the people, Economics progress without social justice is a mockery of democracy.