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ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to make major changes in the Kamyab Jawan Programme (KJP), planning to increase the loan facility for youth under the initiative to Rs50 million, which would prove as an engine for jobs creation, poverty alleviation, and economic growth in the country.

This was stated by Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, while talking exclusively to Business Recorder, here on Thursday.

The government has also decided to expedite the distribution of allocated Rs100 billion to the youngsters for business and would consider additional allocation of Rs100 billion to be disbursed by 2023, Dar added.

The SAPM termed the current governance system -no streamline system for decisions implementation, cumbersome rules of business, and corona pandemic as major hurdles and challenges to meet youths’ expectations and projects implementation.

The SAPM said the KJP was an umbrella for youth development programmes which had three parts.

The first is employment and business opportunities for youth.

The second part is education where in technical education, skills scholarships are being given to youth and introduce reforms in the TEVT sector to produce better and skilled youth.

The third initiative is engagement of youth including holding workshops, sports, and consultations with youth on legislations related to them.

Dar said that first success under the engagement initiative was the establishment of first National Youth Council of which Prime Minister Imran Khan was the patron-in-chief and has participation from all the provinces and genders including transgender persons to listen to their voices on all related matters.

Elaborating the first E i.e. employment, Dar said that Prime Minister Khan had launched the initiative in October 2019 where Rs100 billion was earmarked in the first phase to give chance to 100,000 youth to start their own businesses and create one million jobs.

Under tier-1, loan limit was from Rs100,000 up to Rs1 million, under tier-2 loan limit was from above Rs1 million and up to Rs10 million, and under tier-3, loan limit was from above Rs10 million and up to Rs25 million.

“So far, 10,000 youth have directly been benefited from distribution of Rs8 billion, while a total of about 70,000 are provided employment [with such disbursement],” he added.

The SAPM lamented that the programme took first four months in process, and later corona pandemic affected it. Pandemic affected the industrial sector the most and around 250 million people across the globe lost jobs.

The KJP also faced great challenges in the start.

People who wanted to take loans from banks also slowed down and till October 2020, they were not in the position to start it.

He said that a meeting was held with the Finance Minister and the government had decided to bring four amendments in the programme, the first tier will include Rs500,000 loan aimed at micro-financing, which would include distribution of funds at the village, and union councils level with interest rate of only two percent. Banks would work along with Akhuwat, NRSPs, and microfinance institutions to expedite loans disbursement.

Many complaints were received from youth with respect to slow disbursement of loans and more than 0.6 million applications were received for loans upto Rs0.5 million.

He further said the KJP would prove to be a revolutionary project for the industries sector and would help in improving the agriculture and small and medium enterprise (SME) sectors drastically.

Dar said it was a brilliant project for agriculture, SMEs, the service sector, and manufacturing industry.

“We want to provide job opportunity to one million youngsters under the initiative,” Dar said, adding the decisions were taken, keeping in view the demands of the youngsters.

In the second category, the amount has been increased from Rs1 million to Rs2 million, which would be provided without security.

The amount in the third category has been raised from Rs2 million to 25 million, while Rs50 million funds would be disbursed among the youngsters falling under the fourth category.

Categorizing the 10,000 youth who have directly been benefited from distribution of Rs8 billion, Dar said that 7,100 businesses were initiated in Punjab with Rs6.18 billion, 1,437 businesses in Sindh amounting Rs1.3 billion, 1,192 businesses in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa with Rs668 million, 111 in federal capital with Rs211 million, 54 businesses in Balochistan with Rs45 million, 69 in Gilgit-Baltistan with Rs56 million, and 38 businesses in AJK with Rs24 million.

He said that many applications were not received from Balochistan, GB and AJK due to internet or other digital related hurdles.

However, a proper awareness programme would be launched in these areas of the country that many youngsters take benefit from the programme.

He further said that of the 10,000; 8,508 males started business with Rs7.6 billion, 1,491 female with Rs1 billion, and one transgender with one million.

He further said that 6,420 new businesses were started with around Rs4.2 billion, while 3,580 existing businesses got expansions with around Rs5 billion.

Dar further said that 7,757 businesses were established in services sector i.e. SMEs with Rs5.8 billion where retail shops top the list with 3,092 shops with Rs2.2 billion.

Second is the technical service where 1,438 business were started with Rs877 million, 931 in health services i.e. medical stores and dispensaries, 1,629 businesses in agriculture sector with Rs1.4 billion, and 1,050 in manufacturing sector with Rs1.1 billion.

He claimed that the whole process was transparent and digital without any political interference.

So far 70,000 jobs had been created from those 10,000 businesses and the target was one million jobs from 137,000 by 2023, he added.

Dar said that new Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had shown interest in those initiatives and hoped that additional Rs100 billion would be allocated for those projects to be disbursed before 2023.

Replying to a question, the SAPM said that lack of streamline system was a major challenge they were facing in the initiatives. “If a work required two months to be done due to cumbersome rules of business it takes six months and resultantly, people are not getting relief as per their expectations from the government.” He said that for the last 70 years no body bothered to work on system improvement.

He said that reforms would be introduced for streamlining the system with respect to development projects and such initiatives.

Reforms were painful and time taking but would bear fruits in next five years, he added. “If corona pandemic had not affected the work, we would have achieved 40 percent targets against the current 10 percent disbursed Rs40 billion means 50,000 businesses would have been established by now.”

He further said that four flagship progammes of the government including KJP, health card, housing projects and Ehsaas would create hundred of thousands of jobs, help in poverty alleviation and economic growth revival. Regarding inflation, he said that people should be given relief but there were many factors behind the inflation including the struggling economy after the PTI government took over.

He further said that due to corona, industries were shut down and inflation hit the entire region.

However, the government was trying to stabilise the economy to give relief to the masses in terms of controlling inflation and creating jobs opportunities, he added.

He said the Rs10 billion Skills for All project aimed at revamping the TVET sector in Pakistan.

He further said that 14 components of the project revolved around the establishment of 75 High Tech Skills Centres, the National Employment Exchange Tool, Business Incubation Centers, Skills up-gradation of teachers, etc.

Dar said over 30,000 students had been given professional training in conventional as well as high tech fields under the Kamyab Jawan’s Skills for All programme.

He said Pakistani youth had full potential and they needed proper platforms to prove their talent.

“Under Kamyab Jawan Programme, three areas are in special focus for strengthening youngsters that are producing business leaders through entrepreneurship scheme, producing innovative leaders for which youngsters were being given skill scholarships in emerging technologies. The youth will be engaged in KJP,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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