PESHAWAR: In line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to provide employment to the youth, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is planning a scheme of Rs5 billion to create jobs, particularly in the private sector.
The Finance Department has completed its spadework for the scheme that is set to be launched in the current financial year 2018-19.
To achieve sustained growth rate and keep unemployment within acceptable level a number of similar schemes had been launched in the past as well.
These included the Bacha Khan Khpal Rozgar scheme in 2011 and Hunarmand Scheme in the following financial year or Youth Challenge Fund and “Khud-Kifalat” Scheme launched in 2015-16 fiscal year.
However, none could achieve the desired results for a number of reasons.
This time the planners said the new employment initiative would be led by the private sector and supported by a lean, but efficient public sector.
Its aim would be to create internationally competitive firms and markets for the skilled youth looking for better job markets.
According to the document of the Finance Department, which would soon be presented to the provincial cabinet, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa currently employed 6.09 million labour force that include 2.10 million (34.6 percent) working in agriculture sector, 3.98 million (65.4 percent) in non-agriculture sector, 3.09 million (50.7 percent) in the informal sector and 0.89 million (14.7 percent) in the formal sector.
The public sector in the province employs 0.83 million, which is only 13.6 percent of the total employed people. Among them, the sanctioned strength of the provincial government, including autonomous organisations and development projects, employees is 0.60 million (9.9 percent). The federal government employees working in the province total 0.23 million (3.8 percent).
The previous government launched microfinance schemes such as the Youth Challenge Fund and “Khud-Kifalat” Scheme to start self-employment activities in the province.
The Youth Challenge Fund envisaged provision of technical and financial assistance to skilled youth. The “Khud Kifalat” scheme intended to extend interest-free loans from Rs50,000 to Rs200,000 for a period of three years.
Finance Department Secretary Shakeel Qadir Khan while elaborating the employment plan told The News that it had been deduced from the collected data that the government has to spend Rs0.88 million excluding the pension liability per annum to create a single job in the public sector.
He added that a job in the private sector was created with only Rs0.25 million. “For one job created in the public sector, we can create 3.8 jobs in the private sector,” he argued.
Shakeel Qadir said the previous PTI-led coalition government had formed a taskforce headed by then provincial minister Muhammad Atif Khan and included organisations like Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) that developed a business model for the province to provide employment to its educated and skilled youth.
He maintained that the public sector cannot give job to every youth and the government has to strengthen the private sector, particularly, the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the province, for creating jobs.
Shakeel Qadir Khan said that LUMS had expressed willingness to identify potential entrepreneurs. “The LUMS would do the hand-holding of the selected SMEs to whom the provincial government would provide subsidised loans from Rs3.5 million to Rs5 million. Every SME under the plan would provide at least one job to the skilled youth,” he added.
“We have Rs5 billion parked in the Bank of Khyber (BoK) for the similar “Khpal Rozgar scheme” and the public sector bank has already run the micro-finance cycle in the province. We have asked the BoK to take on board the LUMS, Institute of Management Sciences (IMSciences) Peshawar, Information Technology (IT) Board and the recently set up incubation centres in the province to propose a model for the purpose within one month so that it could be allowed to disburse the parked amount to the SMEs,” Shakeel Qadir said.
He hoped the scheme would lead to the creation of around 1,000 SMEs which would provide 100,000 jobs that would reduce burden on the public sector.