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ISLAMABAD: The government is extending all out support to the initiatives being taken through joint ventures for the capacity building of returning migrants in a bid to enable them to start sustainable and dignified self-employment in the country.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Muhammad Ayub Afridi said this while addressing a ceremony held by the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) for capacity building and to provide the returning migrants with trade-specific toolkits as an in-kind support to help them start sustained self-employment.

Germany through Gesells-chaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has provided 3.1 million Euros to carry out this project for skills training and in-kind support facility in Pakistan.

He appreciated the programme initiated by the OPF in Pakistan, saying it would play an important role in guiding as well as capacity building of those migrants returning to Pakistan for economic reintegration.

The advisor mentioned that the incumbent government is passionate to create opportunities for overseas Pakistanis to work in their homeland. He also said the Pak-German cooperation had strengthened over the years.

He encouraged youth who are imparted trainings under this initiative to further impart these skills to other people in their areas.

The OPF in collaboration with the Pakistan–German Facilitation & Reintegration Centre (PGFRC) has provided comprehensive trainings to the 82 returning migrants in the fields of culinary arts, motorcycle mechanic, and photography.

About 18 skilled returnees were identified in the trades of electrician, plumber, carpenter, and mason, and they were provided the business development training and provided the respective toolkits in the ceremony.

GIZ Country Director Tobias Becker said that the PGFRC is playing a critical role in fostering self-employment and entrepreneurship aiming at enhancing the capacity of workforce and reducing unemployment rates in Pakistan.

He said this initiative helps not only to contribute to ensuring better life of returning migrants but also achieving the Agenda 2030 as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The OPF, in partnership with the GIZ, established the PGFRC in Lahore.

The programme also has an advisory desk in the OPF head office, Islamabad.

The PGFRC is supporting returning migrants and local population to find better opportunities for better living conditions and sustainable source of income to support themselves and their families.

In her remarks, Head of Development Cooperation, Embassy of Germany, said “she is delighted that today, 82 returning migrants have got training in their fields.” He said that more than 800 returning migrants would benefit from that capacity building leading to in-kind support intervention.

She further said the PGFRC had made a substantial effort and achieved a significant goal.

However, sustainable development cannot be realised unless the respective government is proactive in its involvement.

She mentioned that German government would continue to encourage more proactive approach to this critical part of reintegration.

Addressing the audience, Head of PGFRC Dr Mansoor Zaib Khan underlined that the PGFRC is open to all Pakistanis who can avail all our services free of charge.

He said PGFRC is providing advice on training and skills development, technical and vocational training, advice on job market trends and opportunities, entrepreneurship and start-up support, and information on the health system in Pakistan, advice on getting microfinance and loans.

Addressing the audience, Dr Amer Sheikh, managing director, OPF, said that annually, a large number of people return to Pakistan and need support in getting employment opportunities.

The OPF facilitates people in various ways including getting jobs, micro loans, skills trainings and link them with various organisations through a comprehensive database.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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