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ISLAMABAD:A meeting of the Sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development presided over by Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi was held here on Friday.

The meeting commenced with a detailed discussion on the four million Pakistani diaspora in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia and strengthening of passport regulations to prevent criminals or beggars from travelling abroad. Reforms to expedite the process were also discussed.

It was reported that a bilateral agreement has been signed with Saudi Arabia, wherein, Saudi Arabia pledges to protect the rights of Pakistani workers. The ministry indicated that it has formulated an action plan to assess the backgrounds of workers and cross-check their identities to eradicate their involvement in begging abroad.

The convenor, Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, emphasized the Skill Development Strategy of 2009 and pointed out the need for skill development. The committee also discussed the possibility of the introduction of an “Investors in People Award”. She recommended that officers from the Cabinet Division work together collaboratively to introduce awards aimed at filling the critical employment gap that Pakistan is facing.

The convenor of the committee also emphasized the importance of bringing people from different sectors together, stating that whether it is a large or small organisation, investing in workers is for the greater good of the country. She highlighted the profound impact of unemployment on individuals and stressed that human resource development is in a state of emergency in Pakistan. She added that the number of overseas Pakistanis has decreased due to factors such as inflationary pressures and a lack of skills required by foreign countries.

Furthermore, officials from the Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development provided a presentation on the Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC). They updated the committee members regarding the LOIs signed along with their current status. Additionally, they briefed the committee regarding the digitization of their portal, emphasizing that their verification process is now systematized and involves no human interference, ensuring smooth regulation of employee verification.

While discussing their ongoing initiatives, the ministry informed that Korean language training programmes have already been initiated, and the introduction of German and Japanese language programs is under discussion. They also briefed the committee members on plans to expand and enhance the soft skills portal and discussed in detail their collaboration with 26 EU countries, which could open up numerous opportunities for the Pakistani skilled workforce. The convenor of the committee suggested that ministry officials explore collaboration with the private sector already involved in enhancing the skills of workers.

Moreover, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development (SAPM) expressed his views on the increasing diaspora, emphasizing the accompanying rise in job demand. He stressed the importance of digitizing the Bureau and establishing skill centres under the banner of the Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC). Furthermore, he added that enhancing manpower can only be achieved if opportunities are pursued on multiple fronts.

The convener of the committee, Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi appreciated the overall efforts of the ministry and suggested incorporating the discussed reforms into their policy.

The meeting was attended by Jawad Sohrab Malik, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development; the Federal Secretary of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD); senior officials from the Cabinet Division; and senior officials from Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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