A Grave Challenge We Must Rise To
The chronic unemployment crisis is one of the gravest challenges Pakistan has been facing since long and which, unfortunately, still continues to haunt us. In Pakistan, even a person who has ability and willingness to work is unable to get a proper job opportunity. In the current situation, more than three million people are unemployed in Pakistan and unemployment ratio is more than 12:1. One out of every 10 people of the country’s population has been added to the pool of the unemployed, as the unemployment rate further increased to 6.5%, showing signs of a crisis-plagued and slowing economy.
Unemployment is one of the major issues Pakistan has been dealing with since its inception. In Pakistan, unemployment is very high because the available resources are being wasted due to negligence of authorities and of citizens. This has led to a substantial decrease in people’s incomes and a drop in their standard of living. This is the crisis that can be termed as the root cause of many other serious challenges we are coping with today. Thousands of graduates, master’s degree holders, engineers in short, people of almost every profession being wasted due to unstable employment system in Pakistan.
Not only educated people but the labour class, too, is perpetually going through a rough phase. In 1999, about 2.4 million individuals belonging to blue collar working class were unemployed.
The causes of unemployment in Pakistan are endless and countless yet some of them are as follows:
1. Growing Population
Population size, growth rate, and its composition play an important role in the social and economic development of a country. The higher growth rate of population is the major cause of unemployment in Pakistan and a formidable hindrance to achieving the goal of economic development. Pakistan is among those developing countries where population growth rate is very high. At present it is the sixth most populous country in the world with projected population of nearly 188 million. According to World Population Data Sheet 2013, Pakistan with population of 363 million in 2050 is expected to retain the same position (i.e. sixth position).The population growth rate in Pakistan is 1.95 percent which is higher than average growth rate of South Asian countries. This uncontrolled growth of population has left millions of Pakistanis deprived of ample opportunities to earn a respectable livelihood.
There are plenty of factors responsible for fast-growing population including early marriages, illiteracy, desire for sons, lack of awareness etc. As we all know that the education system of Pakistan is not up to the mark; therefore, increasing population means bringing more uneducated persons into the field of labour. Government or any other company cannot provide jobs or workplaces to this huge number of uneducated people.
2. Flawed Education System
Education is a social instrument through which a man can guide his destiny and shape his future. A knowledge society can be build by making the education process more effective which, in turn, provides foundations for socioeconomic development of the country. Hence, the role of education has become centric in order to develop a knowledge economy since literate and skilled citizens play a pivotal role in the development/prosperity of the country. But, unfortunately, the education system in Pakistan has been really poor. No government has taken extraordinary steps to better the education system. It is usually seen that many a talented student left study due to injustice and wretchedness of the system. Numerous technical educational colleges and vocational training institutions are functioning but most of them are only selling the degrees because the education that is being imparted to the students of these institutions has no market value.
3. Violence and Terrorism
Unrest in Pakistan and the worsening law and order situation have compelled the business community to either close their businesses or to shift their capital to other countries. It is because of rampant violence and terrorism that no foreign investor is interested in investing his money in such a country where his life is not secure; let alone his business and property. This becomes another major cause of rising unemployment because it creates lack of jobs in the country. For instance, Karachi is the biggest industrial city and the commercial hub of Pakistan, but investors are reluctant to invest there because of unrest and violence. Extortionists and killers go scot free. In such circumstances why an investor would dare to risk his life as well as money? If we really want to reduce unemployment rate in Pakistan, then the very first step should be to restore law and order in the country.
4. Energy Crisis
Could you believe that a country which possesses abounding natural resources and is a nuclear power lack energy? Pakistan is the country that has been haunted by the acute energy crisis since long. There are many sources of energy production in Pakistan but due to lack of proper planning and directed efforts, the country plunges into darkness for most part of a 24-hour day. The government is unable to provide electricity to residential as well as industrial areas in Pakistan. When electricity and gas is not available to run the factories, petrol is not amply available to run the transport, then how on earth factories could generate employment opportunities? Therefore, owners of theses factories and industries are shifting their business to other Asian countries like Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. As of this result a huge number of labourers are falling prey to the monster of unemployment.
5. High Retirement Age & Reappointments
The age of retirement for government employees in Pakistan is quite high. Numerous highly-educated and talented people enter the job market every year but they do not get opportunities to be on job. Government servants who reach the superannuation age are then reappointed by the government. In this way, millions of people are wandering but no one is ready to employ them. This further aggravates the problem of unemployment in Pakistan.
6. Mechanization of Agriculture
Agriculture is going through the process of mechanization whereby machines are replacing humans which, in turn, increases unemployment ratio. People rendered jobless in this way then turn to cities in search of a source of earning livelihood. This migration from villages to cities also increases unemployment and many other social ills.
- The first thing to reduce unemployment in Pakistan is to introduce revolutionary changes in country’s educations system. The prevalent system is producing only the people who are not highly skilled as per the requirements of the job market.
- An organized and well – thought – out syllabus should be introduced in technical training and vocational institutions. More and more institutions should be established to produce skilled technical workers for our industries.
- The age of retirement should be reduced to a maximum of 55 years. In addition, the culture of ad hoc appointments and extensions in tenure or in contract should also be eliminated.
- Solving the energy crisis must be the top priority of the government. It is the only panacea if we want to attract foreign investment in the country. If foreign investors come to Pakistan, then job opportunities to our youth will be easily available.
- There should be peace across the country so foreigners may not hesitate from investing in Pakistan.
- The agriculture sector should be developed.
- Jobs should be given purely on merit.
- Robust policies must be introduced to control growing population. Family planning centres can be an effective tool in this regard.
- Economic Revival package must be announced by the government in order to make sure the industrial sector is revived and more investment and production is carried out in Pakistan.