Developing Pakistan’s natural resources


Dr. Habib Gul

TECHNOLOGY IS catalyst for development. It is sophistication of methods which increase production and decrease cost in shortest span of time apart from producing new goods to satisfy human needs and provide better services. It is the application of scientific knowledge for manufacturing and services which have more than one option and considered fifth factor of production. Development is the post World War-II term. It is a process of increase in income over a long period of time. The development may be horizontal type or may be of vertical type. In the horizontal type of development, for an example, excessive arid land is brought under ploughing while in vertical development excessive yield is obtained from specific piece of land through intensive farming and application of efficient technology. The later has three kinds, sophisticated, intermediate and the traditional or primitive. In Pakistan, the natural resources are depleted unscientifically and ruthlessly. Unemployment coupled with unequal distribution of wealth is increasing with every passing day. Now the question arises, what sort of technology is required for Pakistan to develop backward human and abandoned natural resources and rid of vicious circle of poverty. The sophisticated technology requires heavy Research and Development (R&D) expenditure in relation to output with the background of technological innovation. It is capital intensive, high skilled labour saving and require large size market. Almost, all sectors of economy, say mining, industry, agriculture, commerce and defence like sectors could be developed with this sort of technology. Application of this technology brings secular change and high inflow of foreign exchange could be accumulated by creating market of home products in the frontier of other countries. Intermediate technology is the technology of the by gone age of the developed countries or we may say, it is the technology of nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of the developed countries. In Schumacher words, it is the technology between suckle and combined harvester. This technology’s concept is linked with the simplicity which could understand and practices by the local or simple technician without resorting to costly, time consuming and elaborate training. The intermediate technology insists employment with lower capital cost, mobilizing people to undertake planning and execute schemes at their own; setting up workshops and industrial units at village level for meeting local needs. The manufacturing small units are necessary in intermediate technology which includes marketing system related to demand-supply factors. Traditional is the technology, structure of which is developed within limited functions, generally known standardization and techniques and based widely on pre-science and technology period. It is also known the technology used from Adam to the Period of Renaissance or early stages of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. Appropriate technology is a term, defined and understood in the past wrongly. Widely, it is considered intermediate technology due to which the under-developed countries scholars considered it an arms of exploitation of the North and West and a cruel joke with under-developed countries. This supposition is not correct. In reality, it is the technology which suit to the local conditions irrespective of high, intermediate or primitive. “The adjective appropriate when applied to known technology indicates that quantitatively the technology in question whether adapted or developed indigenously is best suited to the prevailing economic and social conditions of the area where it is proposed to be employed to accomplish a given task”. As every country has her own natural resources, socio-economic, religion, and culture conditions and mental attributes, hence technologies must match with these factors and characteristics. EF Schumacher says “It is silly to transfer a million-dollar technology to a hundred –dollar economy; a thousand-dollar technology may be more affordable, more relevant to needs and capacities and more productive.” Generally, it is suggested to enter into sophisticated technology gradually after preparing intellectual, physical and social infrastructure. Any jump for acquiring sophisticated technology or importing high skill will be not as useful as planned. The latest technology, in country along with merits has at the same time a number of demerits. This sort of technology extends gap between the poor and the rich, and increase unemployment. For Pakistan, it is proposed to acquire, develop, transfer and apply those technologies or techniques which ensure an acceptable living standard by optimum utilization of resources. The feeling of par development with the North and West is nothing but wastage of resources. After independence, Pakistan established industrial base and acquire technologies which, mostly, do not suit to the country and most of the large scale industries or either collapsed or working below capacities or with the assistance of subsidy. It is suggested to acquire technologies, after proper assessment. In certain sectors in Pakistan, for optimum exploitation of natural resources, , sophisticated technologies are required for survival. For long distance air traveling is beneficial whereby a passenger covers thousands of Kilometers a day against boating or bus journey whereby only a few hundred Km distance can be made in the same time. Pakistan oil import bill was 738 bn during 2008-09. But the country export some of crude oil because the country has no refinery for this grade oil. Construction of refinery, large or small, for such quantity or crude oil is not justified on cost-benefit ratio. Intermediate technology, in Pakistan like countries has its own merits. Certain small scale technologies for industries and exploring natural resources are appropriate for Pakistan on the basis of low cost, easy to operate and maintain for meeting existing market demands. Lime based masonry cement, soil survey techniques, soil reclamation, coal dust upgrading, different type of survey such as foundry sand and development of special steel are a few of these examples. The intermediate technology may be imported either from under-developed or developed countries. Moreover, our R&D agencies have also developed a number of processes and technologies for application in home economy. Traditional technologies have their own importance. The people of Pakistan is accustomed with Roti or Chapati (bread) baked on traditional tandoor (oven) or tawa. Roto or Chappati, baked on modern plants cannot compete with traditional technologies in this like sectors. Carpet can weave with latest machine but the best and highest selling price carpets are hand woven. Pakistan earned approximately Rs. 9 billion from the export of such carpets in 2008-9. Most of the world planners recommend intermediate technology for the under-developed countries in order to maintain at least subsistence level. The traditional technology may not keep aside. Some sort of this technology is also applied by the countries living in the most developed economies. Some sophisticated technologies developed recently have been found as failure even in developed countries and the developed countries approached to traditional and intermediate technologies.