FAISALABAD-Nanotechnology has unlimited economic benefits and Pakistan must exploit its huge potential to increase its exports during the next 5-10 years, said the head of Preston Institute of Science and Technology.

N M Butt was delivering a key-note address for application of nanotechnology for industrial sector during a seminar held in Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that nanotechnology is science of future and the western countries were heavily investing on the future application of this technology to harvest its economic benefits. He said that Hong Kong is investing US$ 66 billion in R&D to explore the new applications of nanotechnology in ship-building, textile, electronics and host of other sectors. He said that in Pakistan, some projects were launched with only Rs15-16 million a few years ago and the job was entrusted to 22 labs and R&D institutions.

He said that in the US, China and Hong Kong, the subject of nanotechnology has been introduced at the school level to meet the future needs of trained manpower in this emerging sector. He also quoted an example from Germany where a nanotechnology bus has been introduced with 80 Nano-exhibits to create interest in younger generation to adopt nanotechnology as their study subject.

He said, “At Preston, we have already started a four-year graduate course for the education of nanotechnology.” He asked the industrialists to give their input regarding nano-material so that projects could be launched to produce the same at local level.

Earlier, Dr Tariq Mehmood, Project Director Technology Foresight Exercise introduced the basics of nanotechnology, and said that some radical decisions have to be taken to promote it. He said that about 4 months before a group of 33 experts was constituted. it was further divided into five different sub groups with one dealing with nanotechnology, he said. The group is supposed to identify the practical application of nanotechnology at Pakistan level.

In his welcome address, FCCI President Engr Suhail Bin Rashid said that the textile sector enjoyed a central position in the exports of Pakistan. In Asia, Pakistan is the 8th largest exporter of textile products and contribution of this industry to the total GDP is 8.5 percent, he said. He requested the participants from textile units to pay full attention to the technology. It may open new avenues of progress and prosperity if properly utilised to improve the quality of their products, he said.

He maintained that GSP-Plus status had already been granted to Pakistan and the exporters should avail the facility not only for the personal benefits but also to cater to the future needs of international markets.