NO doubt, the focus of the Government is primarily on avoiding default and ensuring political stability in the backdrop of an extremely hostile environment, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s directive to the authorities concerned to achieve the target of disbursement of thirty billion rupees through PM Youth Loan Scheme by the end of June this year is reflective of his concern about real problems of the people. Chairing an important review meeting regarding the Prime Minister Youth Loan Scheme in Islamabad on Thursday, he said the government is taking substantial steps to promote entrepreneurship and employment among the youth by ensuring provision of loans to the youth on soft terms.
In a country that is in the midst of an economic and financial turmoil, one can understand the nature of unemployment, especially among the educated, highly educated and even skilled manpower as industrial activities are at a standstill, public sector development programme witnesses repeated cuts and there is pressure on the Government to reduce the number of ministries, divisions and departments.
The youth is getting frustrated and most of them are looking for employment abroad, a phenomenon which has its own implications for families and the overall economy. In this backdrop, speedy and effective implementation of the youth programme assumes greater significance as it offers avenues for self-employment and contribution to the national economy. Under the scheme people in the age bracket of 18 to 45 years can obtain a loan within 45 days.
In this scheme, twenty five percent quota has been reserved for women to ensure their financial and social empowerment. As the incumbent PM believes in speedy implementation of his ideas and programmes (and he has proved this by executing important projects within the stipulated timeframe), we hope the youth will have easy access to the loan at the earliest so that brain-drain is stopped and the youth is engaged in productive pursuits. However, we have seen in the past that such schemes were misused by influential and well-connected people and as a result they could not produce the desired results. Foolproof measures should be taken to ensure that loans are extended to those who are genuinely interested in launching some sort of venture for their own benefit and that of their communities.