ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Saturday asked the government to promote cottage industry and technical education for rapid national development.

PEW President Dr Murtaza Mughal said that empowerment of women, promotion of cottage industry and attention on technical education to increase skilled manpower can reduce poverty and bailout country from the economic problems. Cottage industry , small businesses and women entrepreneurs should be given more attention to ensure rapid development, he added.

He said that a cluster for cottage industry must be established on CPEC after every 500 kilometres that include a technical training institute to boost the economy. He said that over 96 percent businesses fall into the category of cottage industry and small businesses but this sector is neglected. Cottage industry , small traders, and women are side-lined which is a major factor behind falling economy; therefore, the government should revisit its policies, he added.

Like many underdeveloped countries, the number of women facing poverty is much more than the men, which is a reason behind sluggish growth that must be changed, he said. Dr Murtaza said some of the reasons behind poverty among women are the negative attitude of policymakers, gender inequality, lack of education , an absence of credit facilities and apathy of the government towards small businesses. He asked the government to focus on health, education , technical skills, infrastructure development, and facilitate the cross-border trade to ensure additional benefits worth billions of dollars annually.