~100,000 people stranded in Middle East are coming home. A chunk of those are being laid off or have had serious pay cuts. The plunge in oil prices have compelled the rich Arab countries to cut development & their want of smart cities is rendering expats jobless. With very young population, Arab countries are belatedly putting locals for white-collar jobs. Not a great news for Pakistan.
Pakistan overly relief on remittances for survival. Remittances have increased from $7bn in 2008 (4%) to $21bn (7%) in 2020! Meanwhile, exports of goods % services have increases from $20bn (12% of GDP) in 2008 to $30bn (9% of GDP) in 2010. Reliance on remittances have increased to make up for the loss in job-creating exports.
Pakistan’s story has thus, been about domestic consumption and hopes of structural reforms. Addiction, complacency or short-termism have brought us back to the quagmire; how to fix the exports. A decade lost would take decades to be recovered.
Never too late to focus on IT, automation, 3D printing, datalytics, innovation and knowledge based exports. Philippines, Bangladesh & Egypt have tourism & exports to survive upon. Growing exports has become a matter of national security. They did right. When will we we?