Pakistan industry to face new technology challenge in New Norm



ISLAMABAD, JUL 28 – Experts have opined that industry would have to reemerge with new parameters and practices based on the knowledge economy than the previous human resource centric practices. Pakistan needs to develop a comprehensive framework for the new industrial look incorporating new technologies. Poverty struck and resource deficient Pakistan needs to develop more IT driven startups to engage youth for productivity.

They mentioned that preemptive measures would be crucial to avoid Covid-19 spread in the clusters. The UN organizations all together are engaged with the federal government and the Planning Commission of Pakistan to develop and finalize the Standard Operating Procedures (SPOs) for different types of industries including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The webinar on the “Industrial Outlook in the New Normal-Risks and Challenges for Pakistan” was organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcon-Pakistan) and DTNTV on Tuesday. The speakers included the UNIDO National Programme Coordinator Masroor Ahmed Khan, Faculty Head of HR and Business at the PIDE University Prof. Dr Nadeem Ahmed Khan, Focal Person of the Pakistan Ship-breakers Association from Gaddani (Balochistan) Jawed Ahmed, ILO supported Pakistan Workers Federation Assistant Secretary General Shaukat Ali Anjum, and Anwar ul Haq, a young small-scale industrialist from Attock. Webinar was hosted and conducted by the Devcom-Pakistan and DTNTV Director Munir Ahmed.

Talking about the post-covid19 impact on the industry, Masroor Ahmed Khan said unemployment and poverty would go high in the first phase where national GDP and exports would also suffer severely. Food processing and packaging, consumer goods, provision of logistic services, e-commerce, health technology, and promotion of digital world and tourism would have immense opportunities for all tech savvy people.

He said: As we navigate the current threats to human wellness, to economies and to the planet, the timely adoption of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns is key to building back stronger and more resilient societies. In the wake of COVID-19, choosing more efficient production methods and implementing better use of natural resources is one of the most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment while simultaneously advancing human wellbeing.

Dr Nadeem Ahmed Khan said: Human reliance on machines and robots will be enhanced in the New Normal. Since there would be least human interference preferred it would result in lesser number of Jobs. Systems will be automated, and will be made functional with lesser human interference. World is already of the view that Robotic medicine may be the weapon the world needs to combat the coronavirus. Critical thinking, complex problem solving, creativity, interdisciplinary knowledge, automation systems design will be the requisite skills in the job market.

He said “Work from anywhere” concept will prevail, which will work by forming virtual teams to carry tasks using virtual platforms. This will boost creativity and productivity. Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Control Systems, Data science, Big data will be the most emerging fields of the future.

He mentioned as many as nine skills will be needed in the post-covid19 New Normal including adaptability and flexibility to the new environment, tech savviness, creativity and innovation, data literacy, critical thinking, digital and coding skills, leadership with new vision, emotional intelligence, and committing to a lifetime of learning of new ways and means to remain relevant in the market.

Devcom-Pakistan and DTNTV Director Munir Ahmed said Pakistan needs to urgently jump in revamping the industries at different tiers to mitigate the adverse impact of the covid-19. So far, we see no vigorous plans on the front. Slow pace would hamper economic activities and growth at all tiers. We need to learn from the Chinese Cottage Industry model to uplift the poor from the poverty line. It would also improve the macroeconomic indicators too.

Shaukat Ali Anjum said his organization is more interested in the SOPs implementation to ensure the health and safety of the workers as how the owners of the industries implement the SOPs ad who is going to monitor in letter and spirit.

Jawed Ahmad said the ship-breaking industry is already implementing SOPs in the ship-breaking sector according to instructions laid down in different ISO certification. Whatever the new SOPs come from the provincial and federal government would be implemented accordingly.

Anwar ul Haq said the small industrial units are passing through hardships due to the pandemic. Government should come up with the support mechanism to such small units that cannot approach to the soft loans. Our workers have suffered a lot, even we are gone hand to mouth.