Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in his second televised address to the nation Saturday, announced a development package worth Rs20 bn for the country's youth. – File Photo
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday announced a development package worth Rs20 billion for the country's youth comprising six projects, aimed at providing them assistance mainly through affordable education, soft loans and skill-based training.
The six projects include Micro Interest Free Loans Scheme, Small Business Loans Scheme, Youth Training Scheme, Youth Skill Development Scheme, Fee Assistance Scheme and PM's Scheme for Laptops Provision, said Nawaz Sharif in his second televised address to the nation.
He said the government was committed to the uplift of youth. “I am sure that a self-reliant and prosperous youth will prove as a vanguard in the nation's journey towards national integrity, prosperity and sovereignty.”
The premier announced that the six development schemes would be applicable for the youth of the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The federal cabinet had approved the basic features of these programmes on September 13 and the system for their implementation was also in place.
Sharif said, however, to ensure more transparency, clarity and merit in these schemes, it was his desire to seek guidance from general public.
He said input on these schemes could be given at the website, www.pmo.gov.pk, being uploaded on September 23.
A special mobile phone number '80028' had also been dedicated for this purpose to which suggestions could be sent through SMS.
The prime minister said the details of these schemes would also be circulated through national media including newspapers and television channels.
Nawaz Sharif said the general public was welcome to send their written proposals addressed to the Prime Minister's Office in Islamabad as well. He said 10-days had been allocated for collection of suggestions and recommendations, and added he would not be satisfied until receiving an ample response from youth on the schemes meant for their prosperity.
The schemes would be launched soon after working on the proposals and giving them a final shape.
He said Rs20 billion allocated for the schemes for youth was not a big amount; however the limitation of resources owed to the severe economic problems of the country.
The issues including electricity shortage, the projects about construction of roads, motorways, hospitals and setting up of industrial units needed large monetary resources.
He expressed hope that a time would come when the tax payers' money would be largely spent on the welfare projects and vowed to allocate more funds for the schemes of public importance in coming years.
About the first scheme, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the 'Micro Interest Free Loans' is especially focused upon the financially weak segments of the society.
Under this scheme, a total of Rs3.5 billion would be earmarked in the current financial year, which would benefit about 250,000 people. No interest would be charged on these loans.
He also announced ‘Small Business Loan Scheme’ exclusively for the educated youth willing to initiate their private businesses.
The prime minister said 50 per cent loans would be specified for the women. Under this scheme, skilled individuals would get loans worth Rs0.5 million to Rs2 million each to help start their work in agriculture sector or to open workshops.
“The markup rate on this loan would be 8 per cent as the remaining would be borne by the government. Initially, the National Bank of Pakistan and First Women Bank will extend this loan,” said the premier, adding that the government had allocated Rs5 billion for the scheme.
The third initiative, he said was ‘Youth Training Scheme’ under which the youth having completed 16-year education from accredited educational institutes would be provided training so that they may find suitable job opportunities locally or abroad.
He also prayed that every citizen may get job opportunity in the country without going abroad.
Prime Minister Sharif said during the on-job-training, the youth will be paid Rs10,000 stipend monthly for one year and Rs4 billion have been allocated for the scheme that would benefit around 50,000 graduates.
Under the ‘Youth Skill Development Scheme,’ he said youngsters would be trained to help them earn their livelihood respectfully. The youth aged up to 25 years and with education up to eighth grade would be entitled to avail this facility.