Sunday July 03, 2022

Building the future

October 20, 2019

Speaking on one of the flagship programmes of his government, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that no country can progress unless the future of its youth is secured. The Kamyaab Jawaan Programme of the government, as per the PM, intends to achieve just this by distributing loans worth billions among young people, including 25 percent women and minorities, so that they can set up their own businesses and begin the process of generating income. Apparently, scores of model schemes have been developed to discuss with young entrepreneurs and help them establish their own setups.

The Youth Development Framework has already been implemented in six districts of the country and would be taken to other districts under. In addition, the Green Youth Programme and Start Up Pakistan initiatives will also be introduced. The scheme to offer youth entrepreneurship opportunities is, on paper at least, a sound one. It has worked in other nations, perhaps most markedly Bangladesh through organisations such as the Grameen Bank and BRAC, through it should be noted that the most successful entrepreneurs have, according to multiple studies, have been proven to be women who want to contribute to family income and better their futures. These are considerations to be taken in mind before beginning the process of giving out loans.

There must also be safeguards against nepotism and a careful, professional scrutiny of the business to be set up to avoid default and failure. The default on loans has contributed to similar programmes in other nations failing to deliver. In the current environment in Pakistan, it is especially important that entrepreneurship be carefully planned and experts involved to ensure it is viable and that the entrepreneur has full knowledge and a plan for his or her business. We hope for this purpose the government and the concerned ministry have studied the example of other countries, including Brazil, Vietnam and Bolivia. They need to be familiar with what works best and there would be little purpose in repeating mistakes made elsewhere. There is of course plenty of talent, plenty of zeal and plenty of potential in Pakistan’s youth. The requirement would be to bring it forward sensibly and base this completely on merit so that both individuals and the country can benefit from the process.