rana-tanvir

Economic development directly linked to research, technology

LAHORE: Since is directly linked to, the government is paying special attention to strengthen research institutions and enhanced the research and budget to Rs 250 million from mere Rs 65 million.

Federal Science and Technology Minister stated this in a meeting with business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) on Saturday, Vice President Nasir Saeed, Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) Chairman Dr. Shahzad Alam, the LCCI Executive Committee member and representatives of trade & industry were also present.

Rana Tanveer said all resources were being utilized to promote research culture so that dream to join the club of technologically advanced nations could come true.

He regretted that low allocations for vital sectors like science and technology had kept the country dependent on developed world despite the fact that country had no dearth of resources.

He said that 16 organizations were working under Ministry of Science and Technology, adding that system was being made efficient and result-oriented, and all appointments were being made on merit to achieve growth target.

“Special focus on need-based and result-oriented research saves valuable time and money, and innovation is a key to economic competitiveness. The esearch institutions and researchers will have to come forward to address the gaps in the current scenario by developing world-class technologies,” he maintained.

The Federal Minister said, there was a close link between science & technology and industry, therefore, interaction was being enhanced with country’s Chambers of Commerce. He mentioned that a Common Facility Center had been established at Sialkot CCI to provide one window facility to businessmen.

Lahore Chamber’s SVP Almas Hyder said, the S&T Ministry had key importance for being responsible for maintaining much needed culture of applied and academic research and development in the country. Technology commercialization, development of standards for quality control, accreditation, education and effective linkages between industry and academia etc were some of the key functions of this ministry. However, the performance indicators of all the organizations working under the Ministry needed to match with requirements of modern era.

“Pakistan has yet to be placed at some respectable position in the innovation index because of low end production of cheap goods and inefficient energy consumption ratio. Even after more than six decades of its creation, Pakistan still remains to be a producer of primary commodities. In view of current resource constraint, there is a need to utilize existing resources optimally through reorganizing our R&D infrastructure and moving towards knowledge economy to rectify the dismal situation,” he suggested.

Almas Hyder said, new technology parks were being set up in various countries and doing great job in spreading benefits of science and technology across their respective regions. But unfortunately, he added, this idea could not gain much popularity in Pakistan. “You will agree with me that for achieving quicker results, we must set up technology parks in various cities of Pakistan,” he viewed.

The business community, he said, was also concerned about low frequency of technology commercialization especially with regards to shifting the benefits to researchers. In 1980, US government introduced a policy which ensured that all universities engaged in carrying out research projects must be compensated. On this pattern, Pakistan has to support the research work. Japan made its universities join hands with industry and at the same time their government contributed directly to economic activity through technology transfer. China and India followed their footsteps in due course of time and today they were enjoying its benefits leaving Pakistan far behind in terms of not being able to develop even the basic infrastructure required for such relationship building.

The SVP said that size of global Halal food industry was USD 3 trillion and it was increasing year by year. Pakistan was a natural hub for Halal food industry but her share was negligible.

LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said that an immediate shift to R&D in food and agriculture sectors would not only bring prosperity at wider scope but also open up new avenues to get out of traditional ways of managing economic affairs. Research was critical in taking a strategic approach to planning or economic growth and improved productivity, he said, citing, “It is only through economic growth and improved productivity that we can create employment opportunity.”

While, PCSIR Chairman Dr. Shahzad Alam said that basic objective of the organization was to facilitate local industry, and the PCSIR had established close linkages with industrial sector and was providing maximum cooperation in the larger interest of the economy. Though organization had faced financial problems in past but now situation was quite different, as today its earning was around Rs 300 million out of which 60 percent was being spent on Research and Development. He said that PCSIR had offered 139 products based on modern technology, to the industry, besides offering around 62 low cost laboratory equipment. He informed the participants that PCSIR was also helping defence sector by providing necessary inputs for defence products. APP