Investment in human capital vital for development: Umar

Finance minister says govt is improving structure to strengthen institutions

APP March 20, 2019
Umar pointed out that for the first time, the government was integrating social protection efforts instead of adopting a fragmented approach. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Investment in human capital is imperative and central to development of the country, said Finance Minister Asad Umar.

“Educating youth and investing in its development is both a means to an end and an end in itself,” the finance minister said while addressing the Human Capital Summit.

He detailed that investment in education and human capital was actually investment in economy as it yielded high economic dividends. He further reaffirmed the government’s complete commitment to work in this regard.

The minister stressed the need for going beyond monetary statistics when dealing with human development and poverty alleviation arguing that over the years, success had been achieved on both the fronts and indicators were better today compared to 20 years back.

“However, the pace at which these developments took place in Pakistan was not the same compared to other parts of the world,” he voiced concern. He announced that Pakistan would use multi-dimensional approach for measuring poverty and help alleviate it.

Umar pointed out that for the first time, the government was integrating social protection efforts instead of adopting the current fragmented approach.

“Coordinated approach will be used for poverty alleviation and government will set up a specific authority for this purpose,” he disclosed.

Noting that there was need for fiscal space, he stressed adopting innovative financial instruments.

For this purpose, he looked forward to institutions - World Bank and private sector - adding that if any legislation was required, the government would fulfil the requisite.

“The government is improving structure to internally strengthen its institutions,” he notified. “It is also working to establish Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) to collaborate with private sector and mobilise funds not only for infrastructure projects but also for social sector.”

Also speaking at the summit, World Bank Group South Asia Region Vice President Hartwig Schafer cited that progress had been made in poverty reduction in Pakistan.

He supported the demand for adopting multi-dimensional approach for poverty measurement through inclusion of education, health and their quality in the measurement scale.

“Women participation in work force is also imperative. Only one in three women is participating in labour forces in South Asia,” he pointed out.

He further urged private sector and donors to play their due role in promoting investments in human capital and lead the country towards sustainable development.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2019.

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