Industrial Advisory Council

More a showcase for the caretaker minister rather than a serious effort

The setting up of an Industrial Advisory Council raised suspicions as soon as it was formed, because of the Ministry that could be supervising it, the Industries and Production ministry. The Ministry, which was once two separate ministries, will lose any reason for existence once the industries it has are privatized. Indeed, the merger occurred because of the previous privatizations, which left it impossible to justify having two separate ministries. The new Council seems to have been called into existence so that the caretaker minister, Gohar Ejaz, will have something to show as an achievement. He is forbidden from contesting the current election, and is highly unlikely to take part in any future election, so it seems he is making all of this effort to impress the All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association, which is his true constituency, and whose politics he still indulges in. Otherwise, there is no logical justification for the proposed body, which is to consist of leading industrial enterprises and give its input to the government.

The air of permanence this Council gives to the present government is worrisome. The Council is only as powerful as the minister convening it, and the needs of the future elected government have not been kept in mind, as they should have been. It seems that a forum has been created where industrialists would put across their point of view, without sufficient input from the other stakeholders that might be involved. In the presence of the Special Investment Facilitation Council, this new council does not make all that much sense, as there is not just the danger of duplication of effort, but actual working at cross-purposes.

The idea of industrialists giving advice seems good, but the professional backing that would have come from including representatives of academia or labour, does not seem to have been considered. It is not just that the idea should have been left to the incoming elected government, but perhaps it should have not seen the light of day. There does not seem any need of a forum where leading industrialists can put across their views. They already have opportunities aplenty, whatever the provenance of the government, for all acknowledge that the industrialists matter.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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