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January 6, 2017

Some schemes successful, others fall short of achieving targets

Islamabad

January 6, 2017

Programme in charge says no specific targets were set

Islamabad

Some of the schemes launched under the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP) in past three years have missed their set targets while others achieved them.

The government confirmed irregularities worth Rs77 million in PM’s Youth Business Loan Scheme. Three years have been passed. Some 12,243 borrowers received their disbursements worth Rs11 billion, official record and interviews with more than a dozen stakeholders revealed. Loans’ recovery remains 8% during this period.

In December 2013, PM Nawaz Sharif announced net beneficiaries from this programme would be about one million by 2017 throughout the country in next five years. To execute the programme successfully, executing agencies were directed to give loans to 15,000 to 20,000 youth per month.

Over 47,516 (56%) of total 85,000 applications were rejected during this period. Around 3,965 applicants received disbursements in first balloting, 2,694 applicants received amounts in second balloting and cases of 1,584 applicants completed successfully, revealed official documents exclusively obtained by The News.

“The flagship programme lost its charm after Maryam Nawaz resigned from PMYP’s top position,” said a senior official, who is monitoring its progress. The programme has apparently an overwhelming focus on Punjab while the PM promised to extend loan broadly on the basis of provincial population, official record suggested. Only 146 citizens benefited from this scheme in Balochistan, 163 in Islamabad, 152 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 881 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 157 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 552 in Sindh and 5,834 in Punjab, official data revealed.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) says the disbursement under this scheme was almost half than sanctioned amount. Participating banks sanctioned Rs17.2 billion under this scheme but executing agencies cumulatively disbursed Rs11 billion so far. On first balloting held at Islamabad on February 2008, around 4,085 (76%) loans were given to youth in Punjab, 12% in KP, 6% in Sindh and less than 2% each in Islamabad, AJK and Balochistan, according to the official record. 

Estimated 5,350 borrowers got the loans worth Rs5.2 billion in first balloting. On June 4,2014, the government conducted second balloting  where it approved 77% loans for Punjab, 9% for KP, 7% for Sindh, 2.5% for AJK, 1.7% for Islamabad and slightly over 1% loans were approved for each G-B and Balochistan. Around 4,000 beneficiaries got their loans after February 2016.  

Around 99% loans were given by the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) though 18 banks are actively involved in this flagship programme, revealed the officials. The NBP has released estimated Rs8.1 billion of total Rs11 billion reimbursements in the lenders. 

Leila Khan, in-charge of PMYP, said that no target was set for this programme. “There is no specific target set as to the number of loans—it is up to the banks to decide,” Leila Khan said. When asked why going goes tough for the programme and alleged corruption, she said investigation report is expected to be completed soon and we were waiting for response from the NBP and SBP on this issue. 

When asked about audit of these schemes, Leila Khan said, “every scheme has an executing agency and most of them have PC-1 which were approved by ECNEC and P&D.” When asked does Maryam Nawaz offer any assistance to revamp the programme for its better results, she said: “As the PMYP is a part of the PM's office, honorable PM himself is involved in checking on the status of each scheme. Every year the schemes are tweaked a bit in order to make them more productive as we continue to change according to the lessons learned.”

When asked when government sent case of alleged corruption in PM Youth Business Loan Scheme to National Accountability Bureau, Zubair Mirza, NBP Executive Vice President and head of policy, said he did not know about the development. But he confirmed the irregularities worth Rs77 million in this programme saying “all misplaced amount has been recovered.” The fraud was allegedly happening by opening bogus accounts of borrowers under this scheme, he explained.

Prime Minister's Youth Laptop Programme

The PM’s Youth Laptop Programme (PMYLP) achieved only 40% targets in last three years. The government under this programme distributed 110,991 laptops among students across the country. Estimated Rs25 billion were allocated for two phases where the government promised to distribute 0.5 million laptops among youth in four years. As per the contract, 50,000 laptops will be imported while the remaining 150,000 laptops are going to be assembled locally in Pakistan at Haier Industrial Park, Lahore. Some 11,719 laptops were distributed so far, remaining 88,000 will be distributed by next month. HEC has so far distributed 93004 laptops to PhD, MPhil/MS, Master's and bachelor's students of universities all over Pakistan. Haier has set up local assembly unit at Raiwind Road Lahore. 1, 000 laptops have been locally assembled as per the contract.

Prime Minister's Interest Free Loans Scheme

The Prime Ministers Interest Free Loans Scheme (PMIFLS) could not achieve 40% targets after 0.25 million borrowers were given interest free loans worth Rs4.7 billion in two years. Two and half years back, PM Sharif set target of one million borrowers in four years—2014-2018—in all districts with low socio-economic indicators. This micro-finance facility aimed at helping the industry raise current access level of 2.5 million people to 5 million in next 5 years. The partner organizations approved 207,720 applications where 127, 720 beneficiaries are women and 80, 023 borrowers are males in 287 union councils in 44 districts across the country. The government planned to target 63 districts, prioritising 15 districts of Balochistan. But half of Balochistan districts could not be reached out so far.

Prime Minister's Youth Training Scheme

Under the Prime Minister’s Youth Training Scheme (PMYTS), the government planned to train 0.3 million fresh young graduates of universities and technical institutes in four years. But it has provided training to 50,000 youth and 25, 000 are planned to be trained by end of this year. The government approved around Rs8 billion for this scheme, an effort to provide practical training to young graduates by 2018. Some 29,000 youth have been trained while ministry of inter provincial coordination issued offer letters to around 44,000 candidates whose have already been verified by the higher education commission (HEC). Out of these 44,000 are interns, 33,000 degree holders whereas 11,000 are diploma holders. The HEC is also processing the data of some 106,989 fresh applicants who will be getting training based on their preferences and matching marketing demands by next year.

Prime Minister's Youth Skills Development Programme

The Prime Minister’s Youth Skills Development Programme (PMYSDP) almost achieved its all targets by training 50,000 youth while 25,000 youth are under training in more than 100 demand-driven trades in Phase-III. The government allocated estimated Rs3.7 billion under this programme in three years. Madaris’ graduates, with certificates/diploma equivalent to Metric, along with disabled students were also trained in different trades with specified quota 5%.

Prime Minister's Fee Reimbursement Scheme

The Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement Scheme (PMFRS) achieved its target. Around 103,712 students got their fee reimbursed in last four years under this scheme which was initially designed to reimburse tuition fees and on and off mandatory charges for the students in 114 districts. Tuition fee of around 38,000 students were reimbursed in Punjab, 17,133 in Balochistan, 14,474 in Sindh, 14,938 in KP, 9,892 in AJK, 3,368 in G-B, 5,906 students in FATA. Over Rs4.5 billion were spent from 2012-16. The government reimbursed fee of 50,000 students in 2013-14. The Scheme was approved in June 2012 by the previous government and later it was made an integral part of PMYP by PM Sharif. The scope of the programme has been increased since then and now 114 districts of Pakistan are eligible under the Scheme. 

 

Ambassador of Romania meets Pirzada

 

 

Islamabad

Ambassador of Romania in Pakistan Niculaie Goia paid courtesy call on Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada here on Thursday, says a press release.

Federal Minister Riaz Pirzada welcomed the Romanian Ambassador and matters of mutual interests were discussed during the meeting.

The ambassador said that Romania wants to enhance relations with Pakistan in different fields especially sports, culture and agriculture.

The federal minister said that Pakistan highly valued its relations with Romania and wants to further boost the existing relations with Romania.

He said that that both Pakistan and Romania can benefit from each other’s experiences in different fields.

Talking about relations in the field of sports, Riaz Pirzada emphasised the need to exchange of coaches for training of players of two countries. The federal minister further said that we also want to send our players to Romania for training in gymnastic and athletics.

The Romanian ambassador assured to exchange of delegations in the field of sports.

He appreciated Pakistan economy, saying that Pakistan has very well established economy.

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