Pakistan launched its first customised ‘contraceptive manual’ and a ‘logistics management information system’ through which the contraceptives needs and supply can constantly be monitored and catered to throughout the country.
The two products were launched by the government in partnership with the USAID Deliver Project at the National Population Convention to mark the World Population Day at the Pakistan Secretariat on Monday.
With the world crossing over seven billion people – about 172 million of which reside in Pakistan – policy makers had some tough decisions ahead of them to discuss at the forum.
“Do we want to become the fifth largest nation with large segments of the population falling below the poverty line who are uneducated and unhealthy?” asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
“Or do we want to boast having the best qualified teachers, doctors, nurses, mechanics, sports person and scientists in the world?”
Other questions and concerns regarding Pakistan’s future course of action to harness the country’s rich resource of a growing working population were also put forth by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Dr Nadeemul Haque.
Presently, about 68 per cent of Pakistan’s population is under 30 years of age, with a three per cent increase in the labour force every year. In order to meet the needs of people in terms of resources, availability of jobs and quality education the economy requires a sustained growth rate of no less than seven per cent annually for the next twenty years at least.
“The current situation and measures are not working,” said Haque.
He highlighted five goals, which if met would go a long way in helping the country capitalise on the current state of affairs: 1) mapping a sustained and strategic economic growth and development plan; 2) emphasis on creating opportunities for the working age population, both in terms of acquiring skills and jobs for skilled labour; 3) female education which would lead to better decisions in family planning; 4) making dense cities the hub of commerce to promote job opportunities so working population is not idle and 5) a clear demarcation of the role of markets and government in order to create opportunities and foster growth.
Every year Pakistan adds the equivalent of a New Zealand to its population; every two years, a Switzerland; every three years, a Greece; every four years, a Chile or a Netherlands; and every five years, an Australia.
The deputy chairman informed that reforms were long overdue. “We must catch up with the rest of the world,” said Haque.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2011.