In his second address to the country on Saturday, the Prime Minister primarily talked about the new steps to be taken to encourage development in the country. His words reflected the ideas of a traditional conservative government, from their hatred of a large state mechanism, to outlining the merits of privatization with very limited governmental intervention.
His plan in the long run, and as is clear from the speech, is to have a bigger private sector with a higher employment rate to ensure that the economy grows out of the abysmal state it is in. He also highlighted the corruption and nepotism that public organizations indulge in as more antagonistic features in the status quo. His solution for these problems was allocation of 20 billion for the six new youth development projects that were the main focus of his address.
The first project was to offer Micro Interest Free Loans to the youth, a project that has been tried and tested in Bangladesh to good effect, and this will have a positive impact if implemented correctly in our country, given the population surplus in terms of opportunities. The second enterprise was to start a Small Business Loan Scheme which was done with similar ideas in mind. It is, however, interesting to note that Sharif delegated this responsibility to the National Bank and The First Women’s Bank, given the recent rumors of his decision to change their heads due to problems in their functioning.
Thirdly, a new Youth Skill Development Scheme would also be put in to place, to provide training to students who have completed at least 16 years of education. This might actually allow skilled labour development in this country, and allow Pakistani workers to be at least slightly competitive in the global market. Another plan was to provide vocational training to unskilled labour to working class to enable them to earn a better livelihood. Added to that, the government would also pay fees of college students from under privileged areas.
Lastly, and the most flaky initiative so far, Sharif announced the decision to provide laptops to students. His argument for this was that Pakistani students needed to live in the technological age, but the problem is that this is not how it is done. The move is aimed at gaining popularity and the support of the future voter base. It has to be said that towards the end of his speech, the Prime Minister admitted that the schemes were only a start and recognized the need for more steps to be taken. The best thing however, is that for once; all provinces are being treated like they are part of the same country.