Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry says Pakistan can’t increase exports against imports by just selling peas and potatoes to the world. It must adapt to new technology and produce goods such as better cars and mobiles and also world standard halal food items.
“China, Singapore and Malaysia have all progressed by adopting modern technology,” said Chaudhry at a seminar ‘Gateway to Halal Accreditation for International Trade’. “We also must have to adopt modern technology,” he said.
“We have created halal food authorities but stamping food packaging alone will not work. Quality must also be improved [for acceptability in international markets],” he said.
Earlier, trade body Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Anjum Nisar said that the certification process for halal food certification need to sped up. Otherwise, it will be difficult to trade in the market, he warned.
“It is difficult to export meat unless the standard is improved,” Chaudhry said.
The minister added that Pakistan must also work on livestock to claim a significant pie of the international halal food market. The international market for halal food is a $1.5 trillion industry and is expected to exceed the $2.5-trillion mark in four years.
He said the health and agriculture sectors could change Pakistan’s fortunes in 10 years.
Chaudhry also said the advent of electric vehicles (motorcycles, cars and other automobiles that run on battery) will create a risk of unemployment. Roadside mechanics would lose employment opportunities.
He added that these mechanics must be provided with advanced training in repairing electric vehicles.
He criticised the local auto industry for its backwardness and said they will not let Pakistan’s auto industry cut itself off from the world. They must also make cars on world standards, he said.
Pakistan’s auto industry is criticised for its backwardness compared to the rest of the world. There are examples of cars such as the 800cc Mehran, which was abandoned decades back by the rest of the world, and was only recently given up in Pakistan.
Chaudhry added that industry must give up the idea of improving and developing with the government’s help alone. “The government’s job is not to do business. It can only facilitate the private sector,” he said.
He further said that Pakistan must make lithium batteries, which are used in making electric vehicles.
“Pakistan can make JF-Thunder (fighter aircraft) and Al-Khalid (battle tanks) but we don’t make cars and we can’t make mobile phones and TVs,” he said, bashing the country’s industry.