Over the last decade, Pakistan’s per capita income has grown at 3 per cent per year, while other countries, e.g., Bangladesh, China, India, South Korea, and Sri Lanka, are growing at rates between 6 and 9 per cent per year. If these trends continue, by 2047, the centenary year of the birth of Pakistan, the average incomes of these countries would be between 4 and 8 times higher. In other words, while Pakistan would reach the per capita income level of Indonesia ($3,500), others would resemble such countries as Russia ($15,000), Portugal ($21,000), or Spain ($30,000). Besides the obvious implications of lagging behind other similar countries, slower growth also tends to be associated with heightened social frustrations and conflict, lower quality of social services, poorer health conditions, enormous gaps in essential resources (especially water, energy and food security), and lack of national autonomy.
2. While there are several reasons for the relatively slower growth rate of Pakistan, including a number of geopolitical as well as domestic factors, an important one is the absence of a clear national vision supported by sustained political commitment. China, South Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia were inspired by the great visions of their leaders. In turn, the populace validated the leadership by renewing their mandates repeatedly and ensuring sustained political support.
3. Indeed, while Pakistan was founded on the Quaid’s vision of a prosperous country, governed with justice, equity, and responsibility—as spelled out in his address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947—this vision has yet to be realized in practice. Today, as the country is embarked on a stable democratic pathway, it is imperative that the core elements of the Quaid’s strategy are pursued consciously and actively. The Vision 2025 exercise was started, under the guidance of the Prime Minister, to restore the tradition of perspective planning in Pakistan. It revives the spirit of earlier similar exercises, namely Vision 2010 and Vision 2030, which, unfortunately were derailed because of political disruptions.
4. In a multi-party democratic set up, ownership of vision is as important as its technical soundness. Vision 2025 was drawn up after consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including parliamentarians, representatives of political parties, federal ministries, provincial governments, business leaders, international institutions, universities, think tanks, and NGOs, as well as independent experts. A national consultative conference, with over one thousand invitees, was convened in November 2013. The conference was chaired by the Prime Minister and attended by the Chief Ministers of all four Provinces as well as the Prime Minister of AJ&K. The results of the consultations have been compiled in the form of a detailed Vision 2025 document.
5. The Vision 2025 aims to serve four functions. First, it will be a compilation of the consensus views of national and international stakeholders regarding the future direction of the country. Second, therefore, it will be an aspirational document setting out future goals and expectations, to be translated into a concrete road map and coherent strategy for balanced human, social, and economic development. Third, it will provide a conceptual platform for the revival of sustainable and inclusive growth, benefiting all citizens of Pakistan, strengthening of the development foundation and enabling the country to achieve international development goals within their respective time frames, and achieving the high level of human development and national autonomy associated with a high-income status before the centennial anniversary of the creation of Pakistan. Finally, it will provide the indigenous conception and approach for meeting all globally agreed targets, including the Millennium Development Goals and any new goals to be endorsed by Pakistan in the international arena.
6. Vision 2025 builds upon the urgent measures already undertaken by the government to address short term challenges. As a result of these measures, inflation has begun to decelerate, the fiscal deficit has shrunk, growing foreign exchange reserves have reassured traders as well as the international markets, the stock market has revived, and international capital markets have expressed their confidence by oversubscription of the Eurobond. In the real sector likewise, the urgent measures have contributed to the resumption of healthy growth in large-scale manufacturing (unprecedented for the last 8 years), and respectable agricultural growth. The Vision will also build upon the positive trends in the political domain, including a national consensus on democratic governance, strengthening of the parliament as well as the judiciary, and the emergence of vibrant civil society and print and electronic media.
7. Vision 2025 divides its challenges and goals into a set of seven pillars identified as the key drivers of growth which will transform Pakistan into a vibrant and prosperous nation by 2025. In addition to these seven pillars, Vision 2025 indentifies five key enablers, which are critical for success of the plan, namely;
a) Shared vision
b) political stability,
c) peace and security,
d) rule of law, and
e) social justice.
For constructing strong foundations of seven pillars to be drivers of growth, the key enablers must be met.
The seven pillars of Vision 2025 are explained below;
Pillar-I: Putting People First: Developing Human and Social Capital
One major weakness of our development journey is neglect of human resource development. Vision 2025 seeks to bring human resource development to the top of national agenda. This requires capitalizing upon existing social capital, strengthening it and improving the human skill base of the population to optimally contribute to and effectively benefit from economic growth. Pakistan has to make significant leap forward in areas like education, health and social development to catch up with its peers. Vision 2025 presents a comprehensive approach to addressing human and social development gaps with an emphasis on developing human and social capital to take full advantage of Pakistan’s youth bulge. In addition, the Vision recognizes the rising power of a socially aware population and seeks to move towards a knowledge-based society with harmony, ethics and values. It aims at substantial expansion in levels of education as well as improvements in the quality of education. A larger share of the GDP, at least 4% to education and at least 3% to health, would have to be allotted. Key goals under this pillar are;
- Universal primary education with 100% net primary enrolment.
- Increase Higher Education coverage from 7% to 12 %
- Increase proportion of population with access to improved sanitation from 48% to 90%
Pillar- II: Achieving Sustained, Indigenous and Inclusive Growth
The objective of Vision 2025 is to provide better living standards to every Pakistani irrespective of caste, creed, area, religious or political affiliation by mobilizing indigenous resources. Every effort will be made to make every Pakistani better off by 2025. Pakistan has many horizontal and vertical, intra- and inter-provincial, as well as rural and urban inequalities. The Vision envisages a strategy for developing a united and equitable society through a balanced development approach, social uplift and rapid broad based growth. This will ensure provision of opportunities and fruits of economic development to all segments of society. The thrust of the macroeconomic framework will be to support inclusive growth based upon harnessing full potential of economic factors, and self-reliant sustainable fiscal and mobilizing domestic resources, tax reforms, promoting investments, leap frogging in export sector with current account deficits. Key goals under this pillar are;
- Modern performance driven public sector. Adoption of technology for efficient and effective delivery of services to citizens.
- Become one of the 25 largest economies in the World, leading to Upper Middle Income country status
- Increase annual exports from US$ 25 billion to US$ 150 billon
Pillar-III: Governance, Institutional Reform & Modernization of the Public Sector
Governance and quality of institutions is the defining element of progress. A responsive, inclusive, transparent and accountable system of governance is envisaged through adoption of a holistic approach – from policy to strategy to implementation and delivery, encompassing all administrative levels – federal, provincial, regional, district and local – in a rules based, results oriented perspective. The Vision seeks an efficient and transparent government which operates under the rule of law and provides security of life and property to its people. The goal is to enable consistent excellence in the management of political, economic, and administrative infrastructure by strengthening and streamlining institutions. The Vision strives to develop a skilled, motivated and “results focused” civil service, an effective regulatory framework and an infrastructure that leverages supporting technology and global best practices. Further, it is designed to take advantage of the immense strength inherent in the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the consequential focus on tailoring and deploying reforms specifically suited to each federating unit and the local bodies. Key goals are;
- Place in the top 50th percentile for Political Stability (bottom 1 percentile), No Violence/Terrorism (bottom 1 percentile), and Control of Corruption (bottom 13th percentile) as measured by the World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators
Pillar-IV: Energy, Water & Food Security
Sufficient, reliable, clean and cost-effective availability of energy, water and food – for now and the future – is indispensable to ensure sustainable economic growth and development. These key sectors have suffered historically from severe failings of policy and execution. Meeting this challenge has been further complicated by the severe impact of climate change. A renewed national consensus exists to commit major new investment through unprecedented public and private sector collaboration to bridge very large gaps that threaten the wellbeing and progress of the country. While investments to ensure the needed additional supply are being made, the country is equally committed to creating and encouraging a culture of conservation and efficiency in the usage of energy and water. Two major water and energy related projects Diamer-Bhasha Dam (4500 MW), Dasu Hydro Power Project (2160 MW) are already included in the PSDP. Key goals under this pillar are;
- Energy: double power generation to 45,000 MW and provide uninterrupted, affordable and clean ‘energy for all’ – electricity access from 67% to 100%.
- Water: increase storage capacity and improve efficiency of usage in agriculture by 20%.
- Food: Reduce food insecure population from 60% to 30%.
Pillar-V: Private Sector-Led Growth and Entrepreneurship
Vision 2025 aims to make Pakistan a highly attractive destination for private sector investment, with conditions that allow private investors to successfully participate in its development. In the past, the private sector has been constrained from playing an active role in the country’s development due to a variety of factors such as the energy deficit, lack of security and an enabling environment. Moreover, low skilled labour, slow and costly judicial procedures (contract enforcement), factor market (land, labour and capital) rigidities, intrusive regulations and inadequacies in the system of land purchase and registration have reduced private sector effectiveness. Vision 2025 seeks to achieve sustained engagement of the private sector where the resources and skills available across all sectors are fully deployed to achieve defined targets. Key goals are;
- Rank in the top 50 countries on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings
- Increase Diaspora investment (via remittances) in private sector to $40 billion.
Pillar-VI: Developing a Competitive Knowledge Economy through Value Addition
National competitiveness refers to the ability to produce and deliver products and services effectively and profitably relative to competing countries. Improving the national competitiveness is therefore critical to the nation’s ability to utilize resources in a productive manner – based on merit, quality and innovation instead of unproductive rent seeking behaviours and performance.Vision 2025 envisages fundamental improvements in competitiveness across the industrial/manufacturing, services and agricultural sectors. Competitiveness is about achieving efficiency and productivity to enable self-sustaining enterprises, thereby boosting their share in the international market. Key goals under this pillar are;
- Quadruple contribution of Total Factor Productivity to growth.
- Improve Pakistan’s score on the World Bank Institute’s Knowledge Economy Index from 2.2 to 4.0
Pillar-VII Modernization of Transportation Infrastructure & Greater Regional Connectivity
Vision 2025 would establish an efficient and integrated transportation system that facilitates the development of a competitive economy. Key related targets are to ensure reduction in transportation costs, safety in mobility, effective connectivity between rural areas and markets /urban centres, inter-provincial high-speed connectivity, integrated road/rail networks between economic hubs (including air, sea and dry ports) and also high-capacity transportation corridors connecting major regional partners. A strategic programme of regional connectivity is envisaged to connect Pakistan through enhanced physical infrastructure development (physical connectivity), effective institutional arrangements (institutional connectivity) and empowered people (people-to-people connectivity). Building enhanced regional connectivity requires not only the development of new strategies and institutions, but also investment in more effective implementation of existing and future initiatives. The China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) offers a unique opportunity to Pakistan to integrate with regional developments and become a hub for trade and manufacturing with Gwadar port developed as an international free port. Key goal under this pillar is;
- Make Pakistan hub of regional trade and commerce
- Increase road density from 32 Km / 100 Km2 to 64 km/ 100 Km2, and share of rail from 4% to 20% of freight handling in the country.
8. In order to realize Vision 2025 effectively, well defined coordination mechanism among federating units including four provinces, and special areas such as FATA, Gilgat-Batistan (GB) and Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) is needed. The federation will be strengthened by promoting inter-provincial and federal-provincial communication and co-ordination so that national and provincial priorities are aligned, and the federal and provincial governments work together to reach common goals. Accordingly an implementation plan of this Vision – to be delivered over a rigorously defined road-map and time-line alongwith performance indicators will be prepared in consultations with these stakeholders. Four key aspects that will enable the successful execution of this strategic undertaking include; sustained executive commitment & support, resources, macroeconomic stability, private sector engagement, and radical improvement in productivity.