ISLAMABAD: In his address to the nation on Saturday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced six new schemes to facilitate youth development in a bid to combat soaring unemployment in the country at a total initial cost of Rs20 billion.
The Prime Minister said all six programs were designed to hone and harvest skills of the Pakistani youth, on whose welfare and standing the country was depending for its future.
“Even with a lack of resources, we’re living up to our mandate and working to open up new opportunities with these programs,” said Nawaz.
He said that government jobs were shrinking across the globe and in such an environment, it was important to open up new economic fronts for advancement. However, corruption under previous governments had eaten away the country’s major assets, leaving the economy in an extremely precarious situation.
“Our biggest corporations are buckling under years of overstaffing, embezzlement, nepotism and corruption conducted during previous regimes,” said Nawaz. “The examples of PIA, Pak Steel Mills and Pak Railways are in front of you.”
The premier then went on to elaborate the six schemes briefly.
1. The micro-interest free loan scheme is targeted at disadvantaged sections of the society and will benefit two hundred and fifty thousand people. An allocation of Rs3.5 billion has been made during the current financial year.
2. The second scheme is for small business loans for those youth who were educated and/or skilled and wished to become entrepreneurs in their industry. Five billion rupees have been allocated for the scheme, which will give out loans ranging from Rs 0.5-2 million.
3. The youth training scheme will provide training for entry into the job market to an estimated 50, 000 potential graduates who have completed 16 years or more of education. This scheme has Rs4 billion earmarked for it.
4. The youth skilled development scheme will provide technical and vocational training to students who have passed the eighth grade. They will be given six months of training in different trades along with a scholarship of Rs5,000 a month.
5. Under another scheme, the government plans to sponsor the tuition fees for the higher studies of financially deprived students. The government will pay at an average, forty thousand rupees of annual fees on behalf of each of the 30,000 students for MA‚ MSc and higher level education. This scheme is being launched at a cost of Rs1.2 billion.
6. Another scheme was launched for the provision of laptops to 100,000 students. This will incur a cost of Rs4 billion rupees.
The Prime Minister said the Federal Cabinet had already approved basic structure of these schemes, but they were open to more suggestions on making these schemes more transparent and just.