A study mission of Asia Development Bank (ADB) from Manila, led by Herman Sonneveld, Monday discussed with Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) office-bearers matters pertaining to economic development of Pakistan, business climate, vocational training and industry-academia linkages.
During its visit to LCCI, the ADB Mission held detailed meeting with Chamaber’s President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad. ADB Representative answered various questions raised by the LCCI office-bearers and Executive Committee Members.
Herman Sonneveld, who is expert on vocational education and training, said that Asian Development Bank had a long track record in assisting its developing member countries to achieve goal of quality education for all.
He added that training and skills development systems in developing member countries need to be fully equipped to produce human resources with competencies that were aligned to the needs of the labour market.
ADB mission’s head said that Asian Development Bank had been assisting Pakistan to address its various issues but investment in technical and vocational education must be backed by the institutional improvement.
On this occasion, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh appreciated the role of Asian Development Bank in economic development of Pakistan particularly through up-gradation of country’s power infrastructure.
Referring to workforce in Pakistan, he said that Pakistan had yet to take a number of steps to improve their skills set.
“It is imperative that curricula of skill development institutions should be modified and reformed to make it more demand-driven, with special focus on skill-competitiveness and employability of the graduates. This can be done through knowledge partnerships with high quality private sector employers and international training providers,” he suggested.
Irfan Iqbal said, “There is a wide difference between the modern world and our part of the world in terms of economic growth, technological development, various facilities and opportunities available to the masses. One of the most critical differences is the low level of literacy which can further be narrowed down to low levels of skills, proficiency, productivity and employability etc.” He mentioned that human capital enhancement was a critical path to achieve growth, so, addressing the human capital challenge through provision of necessary skills was critical.
He said that identification of district-wise thrust areas for skill training was important, and similarly, the identification of industry-wise skill set required for training was imperative.
Approximately two-thirds of Punjab’s population today was below the age of 30 years and they could become key factor in achieving better rate of growth if they were given right skills.
Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that failure to provide required skills which were in line with modern requirement could cause unemployment to rise or might end up in disguised unemployment or underpaid employment.
LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar said, the challenge was not just about creating job opportunities but also producing well-trained manpower with basic to advanced level technical and vocational training.
He said that according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief 2018, among countries, the top remittance recipients were India with $79 billion, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion), and Egypt ($29 billion). Pakistan’s remittances had been stagnant around $20 billion.
LCCI Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad said, “We have to make good use of abundant manpower available in our country.
They can become effective source of earning foreign remittances if they are placed in different countries after giving them state-of-the-art training.”