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LAHORE: Founding Chairman of Board of Director of Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) Dr Ijaz Nabi said that the Fund achieved all of its targets which is success story and setting up new millstone of Section 40 companies in Pakistan.

Addressing a gathering of stakeholders at the Annual Dinner of the Fund, Dr Nabi said that the Gender Parity target is also over achieved while half of the Board members are now women and alongside the Chairperson.

Further, now the PSDF shall focus on a self-generated budget for which it has to provide skill training courses for the private sector. “When PSDF was launched it was solely dependent on Government of Punjab and DFID funds; but now it’s one third funds are generated other than the government”, he said suggesting that it shall be 100 percent in future.

Sharing the past, Dr Nabi said that the PSDF over a decade ago was launched with primary focus of poverty alleviation from the least developed districts of the Punjab. Later, the courses and programs were scaled-up and launched across the province with growth orientation focus. Now the PSDF shall focus towards the exports-oriented courses and training.

Justifying the need of exports-oriented courses and training, Dr Nabi mentioned that Pakistan annual remittances are around USD36 billion which is almost 10 percent of the GDP. Pakistan’s export to GDP ratio is now the lowest in the South Asian countries which were the highest 15 years ago.

Now the country needs to be focused towards exports while the industry needs trained and skilled workforce to increase the exports, he added. He believed that the private sector will invest in the PSDF in the form of paid courses and training when the PSDF will be able to produce courses according to their needs.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Operating Officer of the PSDF Ali Akbar Bosan said it was the support and directions of the Board which resulted in development, expansion and sustainability of the Fund. The PSDF was evolved for the poor and vulnerable segment of the society and remained focused on its objective of creation.

The PSDF followed the vision of the Board; the PSDF outsourced the non-core functions including the monitoring of the programs, payrolls and others.

Besides, it also focused on adoption of technology and outsourced the complete process of its procurement with technology adoption. This all happened with the technology adoption and system has given leverage which resulted in managing multiple sources of funding with a number of projects.

Currently, 40 percent funding of the programs and course is coming from other funds including Export Development Fund, World Bank, and Tribal Area Funding, he said, adding that the technology adoption has also enabled the PSDF to work with limited offices and workforce efficiently.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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