Following is the full text of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address to the nation in which he announced some welfare schemes for the youth Saturday evening.
“My dear elders‚ brothers‚ sisters and the youngsters who hold the key to the future.
I am not here today with a long speech‚ but I will briefly state some of the initiatives which had been promised in our manifesto‚ and I had been mentioning during the election campaign.
Today we are beginning a journey for the fulfillment of promises; this is the first step in a long journey. With the passage of time‚ these steps will not only be enhanced but we will allocate more and more resources towards their fulfillment.
This government aims to immediately resolve all issues confronting Pakistan‚ so that the economy would be strengthened in such a manner that we shall not require any foreign assistance.
Billions of rupees could be saved each year‚ which are spent on the government institutions functioning in deficit. This amount could be utilized on the schemes for the welfare of common man‚ education and training of youth and creating new opportunities for the youngsters.
As I have told before‚ that every year we spend approximately Rupees 500 billion on the government institutions which are run in losses. These 500 billion‚ if available to the government‚ can be utilized on such financial initiatives‚ that could bring a revolution in the lives of underprivileged classes and youngsters.
Although we face a shortage of resources and financial difficulties‚ we are fulfilling our promises and initiating programmes though not revolutionary ‚ but they will open new avenues for the welfare of underprivileged segments and youngsters.
The main idea of these initiatives is to provide financial opportunities for making these segments self reliant and self sufficient in their development.
Globally job opportunities in the public sector are decreasing‚ same is the case in Pakistan where such opportunities are becoming lesser with each day.
One of the reasons behind the weakening state institutions is over staffing due to rampant nepotism and political appointments. Unable to support such a burden‚ these institutions have fallen in to rubble. Institutions like PIA‚ Steel Mills and Railways are just a few examples of nepotism‚ favoritism and financial mismanagement.
It is in the interest of the nation and the state to strengthen private sector‚ and to provide the people with opportunities of self reliance. So that instead of running after jobs‚ they could stand on their own feet to provide a livelihood to their families.
For this purpose‚ the government is launching SIX programmes for the youth.
1- MICRO INTEREST FREE LOANS:
The first programme is Micro Interest Free Loans‚ which will be focused on those segments of society who are financially weak. 3 billion rupees have been allocated for this scheme. 250 thousand people will benefit from this scheme. These loans would be interest free.
2- SMALL BUSINESS LOANS SCHEME:
The second scheme is Small Business Loans Scheme. This scheme is for those educated youngsters‚ who wish to start their own business. 50 per cent of these loans will be provided to women. These loans ranging from 500 thousand to 2 million rupees‚ will be given with a discounted interest rate of 8 percent. The rest will be paid by the government. Initially these loans will be provided through the National Bank of Pakistan and First Women Bank. Five billion rupees have been allocated for this scheme.
3- YOUTH TRAINING SCHEME:
It is the third programme‚ being initiated by the government for educated youngsters. Under this programme‚ young educated people having acquired 16 years of education from recognized institutions will be provided on-the-job- training‚ so that they could get job opportunities in the country or abroad. During the training a monthly stippened of rupees 10 thousand will be given to the worker for a training period of 6 months. 4 billion rupees have been allocated for the purpose and 50 thousand graduates will benefit from the scheme.
4- YOUTH SKILL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME:
The youth skill development scheme is aimed at providing vocational training to such youngsters who are jobless. Boys and girls up to 25 years of age will be able to benefit from the scheme‚ who have gained middle level education (8th Grade). These youngsters will be given a monthly stippned worth 3-5 thousand rupees‚ for a period of 6 months. The government will bear their fee. 800 million rupees have been allocated for this programme.
5- FEE PAYMENT FOR UNDER PRIVILEGED AREAS:
The fifth scheme is for (male & female) students who come from far flung areas of the country‚ and want to acquire higher education. Any talented student should not be deprived of educational opportunities‚ only because his or her parents cannot afford the academic expenses. Government will bear the fee for youngsters aiming for a post graduate programme for MA‚ MSc or higher level. 1.2 billion rupees have been allocated for this scheme and 30 thousand students will benefit from this initiative.
6- PM SCHEME FOR PROVISION OF LAPTOPS:
This is the age of Information Technology‚ in the current time‚ it is impossible to acquire quality education and research without information technology. IT is key to access the treasure of knowledge globally available.
The government of Punjab had initiated a laptop scheme for the purpose. The federal government has decided to launch this scheme nationwide. 100 thousand students will be provided laptops in accordance with the programme. An amount of 4 billion rupees has been allocated for the PM Laptop scheme.
Ladies and gentlemen‚ the federal cabinet has already given approval to all these initiatives. All arrangements for the implementation of these programmes have been completed. However‚ to make the schemes completely transparent and on merit‚ we would like to receive your suggestions and recommendations‚ as your input and guidance is important to us and more than welcome.
These schemes will be placed on a special website www.pmo.gov.pk from Monday the 23rd of September. You can give your feedback on the website or you can send an SMS to 80028. You can also post your suggestions and proposals to the Prime Minister Office Islamabad.
An advertisement stating all these initiatives will also be placed in all major newspapers of the country.
The process of receiving public opinions and suggestion will continue for 10 days‚ after which the schemes would be given a final shape in the light of these proposals.
Determined youths of the nation!
For these schemes the government has allocated an amount of 20 billion. I admit‚ that this amount is not a very large one‚ but we know that the country is passing through serious financial crises. As I have said earlier‚ every year we waste 500 billion rupees in to the black hole of institutional losses. A time will come‚ when the taxpayer’s money would be spent in a more constructive manner. We have decided to allocate more money on your welfare and development‚ in the coming years.
We want to resolve all issues like energy crisis‚ loadshedding‚ health and education. We want to spend taxpayers money on the development of industries and trade‚ for the creation of jobs for the people of Pakistan.
My dear youngsters!
I should mention here‚ that these schemes would be implemented for all four provinces‚ Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Get ready to benefit from these programmes‚ I believe that youngsters can play the main role in steering Pakistan on the path of self reliance. Stand up with the aim to rewrite your destiny.
God Willing the sun of a better future of the country will rise from your efforts.
Long Live Pakistan.”