ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has approved the 'Kamyab Naujawan' (successful youth) programme under which the youth will be given loans between Rs100,000 to Rs5 million on easy terms and conditions.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, who made the announcement following a federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday, also fired another broadside at the opposition following talks of joint nationwide agitation against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government.
“The opposition is like a bullet that has been used; akin to a spent cartridge,” said Awan. She also reiterated the government’s resolve to overcome the ongoing economic difficulties through long-term solutions for sustainable change.
Speaking about former premier Nawaz Sharif, she said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader had a unique malady ‘which leaves without a trace as soon as he reaches his residence but attacks him with full intensity every time he is behind bars”.
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The special aide also shared details of the prime minister’s project for the youth, which she said would help them to start their own businesses and help generate jobs and boost economic growth.
“More than 65 per cent of the population is between the ages of 18 and 35,” she said talking about the youth bulge. Women, who are 52 per cent of the population, would be among the beneficiaries of the programme with 25 per cent of the allocated amount reserved for them, she explained.
Dr Awan said loans between Rs100,000 to Rs500,000 would be given to youth on six per cent interest and equity of Rs50,000. “Loans more than Rs500,000 to Rs5 million would be lent on eight per cent mark-up with 20 per cent equity paid by the applicant,” she said.
The programme would bring an economic revolution as youth would be self-employed and able to finance themselves, thus reducing inflation and unemployment, she observed. She added that the SAPM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar would brief the media about the salient features of the programme in the coming days.
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Speaking about the slide in the value of the rupee against the dollar, she said that the finance advisor Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh briefed the cabinet regarding the economic challenges inherited by the government.
“The finance advisor will brief the media on Saturday about a roadmap to take the economy forward and also shed light on the wrong decisions of the previous government which led to the present economic mess.”
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood, meanwhile, briefed the cabinet about the plan to increase literacy rate and provide vocational training and skills to students, the SAPM said.
Furthermore, the cabinet approved the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) including ratification of grants to K-Electric to keep Karachi free of load-shedding during Ramazan, appointment of external members for monetary policy committee, and establishment of local government board in Islamabad. “K-Electric was given relief in order to facilitate the people of Karachi.”
In addition to Asad Umar, the local government board will comprise chief commissioner of Islamabad, deputy commissioner of Islamabad, deputy secretary of the interior ministry and members of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (MCI). The cabinet also discussed the issue of unavailability of stock in utility stores.
Speaking about the latest round of accusations levelled by the opposition questioning the neutrality of the anti-corruption watchdog, Awan said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was an independent body and it was not bound to the wishes of the government or opposition.
“If the opposition has any objection to NAB’s action and constitutional authority, then it should approach the courts," she said following controversy over NAB Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal’s comments that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif were ready to make a deal.
She pointed out that the overwhelming majority of the opposition were facing corruption references, which she said was the actual reason of the opposition’s unease with the bureau.
She also advised the opposition to respond to questions instead of resorting to criticism, while instructing them to seek clarification regarding the NAB chairman’s comments from the bureau’s spokesperson. “Those with a clean conscience stand firm.”