A strategy to promote renewable energy, including hybrid solar and wind energy parks, appears urgent.Sanitation and pollution: Federal, provincial and local authorities must assume the responsibility to address the rising challenge of sanitation and pollution.The rate of GDP growth is, however, secondary to the central mandate of the PTI government ie to improve the quality of life of the vast majority of the poor and deprived in Pakistan for whom, to quote Hobbes, life is “nasty, brutish and short”.
The next challenge is to ensure that every household in the country is electrified within the next few years.
This will require the extension of electricity grids and provision of solar and wind energy, including rooftop solar installations, in off-grid areas.
In this model, the network of healthcare facilities could be set up through public-private partnerships. The Government cannot afford to meet all the costs.
Housing: The prime minister has announced an ambitious plan to construct five million low- and middle-income homes over the next five years. Mortgage finance at 14pc to 15pc will be unaffordable for the poor and the lower middle class.
Healthcare: Government-owned healthcare facilities in Pakistan are insufficient, underfunded, disorganised and riven by corruption.
These must be reformed, perhaps by ‘privatising’ their management.Clean drinking water is emerging as a major challenge.There is a dire need of dams for water storage and treatment plants to provide clean drinking water for cities, towns and villages.The issues which affect the quality of life of the ‘common’ Pakistani are, in rough order of priority: security and safety; justice; food and water; healthcare; housing; education; electricity; sanitation and pollution; and urban and rural transportation.Security and safety: Since the launch of Zarb-i-Azb by the Pakistan Army, the security situation on the country’s frontiers and urban centres has improved exponentially.The solution may be again a public-private structure, eg to combine revenues from high income/luxury housing projects to subsidise mortgage interest for low-income housing.Education: Universal literacy and the acquisition of knowledge and science will be vital for Pakistan’s prospects for rapid and sustained development.The majority of the people need primary healthcare which can be provided by a vastly expanded network of local and accessible clinics (in rural villages and urban neighbourhoods), with smaller hospitals in the towns and larger ones in the cities.The best strategy may be to combine private care for those who can afford it, with publicly financed care for the poor, including under the government’s proposed health card scheme.However, the immediate priority of the average Pakistani is the acquisition of a skill set which can provide employment.Thus, the government’s urgent objective should be to set up multiple vocational training centres to impart various identified skills to as many people in the ‘workforce’ as possible.