LAHORE - Technological advancement is the only solution to the economic challenges being faced by the country and both the public and private sector would have to pool their efforts to achieve the goal of progress and prosperity. This was the upshot of the speeches delivered at national conference on Role of Technology in Economic Self-Reliance organised by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday. Provincial Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, LCCI President Mian Muzaffar Ali and Convener LCCI Standing Committee on Science and Technology Mian Fazal Ahmad were prominent among the other speakers. The speakers while calling for sincere and serious endeavours to harness the benefits of technological advancement said that the availability of technologies relevant to rational and optimal use of resources is bound to create win-win situation for both the private and public sectors besides wearing off the intensity of global economic downturn. Provincial Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira said that globalisation without sharing of scientific knowledge may bring in its wake wide-scale socio-economic destabilisat-ion. Therefore, developed countries have a moral and ethical responsibility to help developing ones build their S&T infrastructure. He said on its part, the government was putting in all its resources to help the private sector to have access to the technology in vogue in the developed world. The Minister said that Pakistan has huge potential in all the sectors but it could not get its due place only because of lack of attention in R&D but now the situation has taken a positive turn as a large number of businesses after realizing the importance of Research and Development has started developing their own R& D cells. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Mian Muzaffar Ali stressed the need for a comprehensive and coordinated policy to enhance productivity growth and to exploit natural resources of the country. Mian Muzaffar said that better application of technologies of broad national interest can improve many aspects of social and economic development-from pest-resistant crops to less wasteful food processing; from reduction of environmental contaminants to purification of water; and from more reliable electricity to more efficient and affordable communication and transportation systems. Almost every area of business and economy, including agriculture, food storage and export promotion-is intertwined with the Technological capabilities of developing country. He said technological development is more essential for prosperity, security, health, environment, and quality of life than it ever before. He said that the capacity of any economic or business sector to meet consumer demands heavily depends on the availability and adoption of new technology. In a developing country like Pakistan, industrial R&D becomes more significant particularly at a time when the level of competition, production processes and methods are rapidly changing and advancing on the globe. It is also inevitable to cope with ever-increasing challenges to Pakistan economy posed by the free markets around the world. The Chairman LCCI Standing Committee on Science and Technology Mian Fazal Ahmad said that national economy has been passing through critical times for many years. Nations, which became independent with us, have reached new economic heights. China is an excellent example having growth rate in double digits and huge foreign exchange reserves. Malaysia, Taiwan is other examples of booming economics. Today the country is facing a negative growth rate when inflation and other factors are taken into account. Exports are minimal and we are back in IMF shackles and are being dictated financial regulatory terms forcing us to take bitter decisions against the interest of industrial growth and the common man. It is the extensive use of technology, R&D and resultant high value-addition through innovation in products and services that has made the developed nations as high income economics and financially strong. Our economic woes can be substantially solved only through their route. Unfortunately, in Pakistan comprehensive institutional mechanism has been absent towards these objectives, although the nation is gifted with tremendous talent, knowledge and resources. Effective interaction between the industries, R&D institutions, academia can bring good results in a short time.