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Citizen Voices

Can Pakistan Create 10 Million Jobs By Following The Chinese Governance Model?

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Osama Rizvi writes that Pakistan should adopt policies that are similar to the Chinese governance model as it will help the government to create millions of jobs for unemployed youth in the country.

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry recently said something that contradicted his party’s promise of creating 10 million jobs for unemployed youth in the country. Advising people not to look to the government for jobs, the minister said that it is not the responsibility of the state to create employment and that instead they are going to “disband” 400 government departments.

If it is not the responsibility of the government to provide jobs, then whose job is it? And was the minister referring to the invisible hand in the markets which doesn’t exist? Also, if the burden of job creation falls on the private sector, even then the role of the government cannot be overlooked as it should continue to encourage the private sector to pursue policies that would create employment opportunities.

In any case, the government cannot absolve itself from the duty of creating opportunities and employment for the citizens.

While we are looking to China for monetary and diplomatic support (and rightly so), we should also learn something from their pragmatic approach towards governance. We are well aware of the fact that China has managed to achieve a marvelous economic feat that is pulling 800 million people out of poverty (almost four times the population of Pakistan). It also registered an unprecedented GDP growth that helped in the creation of millions of jobs.

Now, as the United States (US) and China both face-off each other in a race to win majority rights to AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology, the Chinese government is again playing a momentous role to change the cultural zeitgeist of the country.

Starting from 2015, the Chinese government initiated a Mass Innovation and Mass Entrepreneurship program. This is despite the autocratic inclination of the country’s governmental system (which isn’t a bad thing once one understands it in a proper context).

The Chinese used “guided funds” that directly involved the government in the process of steering innovation in the country by becoming a stakeholder in the process through investments in certain projects and teaming up with other private investors. If a project fails, all the stakeholders including the government loses money.

But if a certain project becomes successful in China, then the fund manager puts a cap on the government’s upside at a pre-decided percentage (for instance 10 per cent) and buy the government’s shares through private money. The remaining 90 per cent (in this case) would be given to the remaining investors. This creates an incentive for private investors to invest in industries and funds that the government wants to promote. As a result, the Mass Innovation and Mass Entrepreneurship program created more than 6,600 start-ups, including unicorn start-ups.

Many government departments in Pakistan are also in need of an overhaul. We can and should adopt policies that are similar to the Chinese governance model because it would help in creating more jobs in the country.

With this model, those people who fail to make a certain project successful would still have learned valuable lessons which could be implemented in another initiative. Also, this approach should not be restricted to the field of computer science and technology only, but can also be extended to other sectors of the economy as well.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) claims about creating 10 million jobs in the country and then taking a U-turn on its decision would only exacerbate the already controversial performance of the incumbent government. They have committed many mistakes when it comes to marketing, framing and anchoring of their policies. Such claims would only worsen the situation further in the future.

It is pertinent to mention here that the government should also make plans to partner with the private sector and open up more economic opportunities for the millions of youngsters who graduate from universities each year but remain unemployed for long periods of time.

For how long would the textile industry of Pakistan continue to serve as the back bone of our economy? And how much can we squeeze the large-scale manufacturing (LSM) index? Isn’t it time to open up new sectors in our economy based on innovation and entrepreneurship?

To begin with, the government needs to play a very active role when it comes to creating millions of jobs in the country. They can either do so by directly filling vacancies in the government departments or by forging partnerships with the private sector.

Moreover, there is a need to improve the economic climate of the country by opening more sectors that are backed by research and development. This step needs to be taken by the government and it should also launch an effective marketing effort to build a narrative that shifts the academic and professional culture here towards innovation.


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