LAHORE-Special Advisor to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar has said that social and economic development of youth is one of the top priorities of the government as their wellbeing would help achieving milestones for progress and prosperity of the country.

Addressing a press conference at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Saturday, he said Pakistan is the fifth most populous country in the world. Currently, it has the largest population of young people ever recorded in national history, he said.

Provincial Minister for Special Education Chaudhry Muhammad Akhlaq, Chairman Engineering Development Board Almas Hyder, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, Executive Committee Members and President Sialkot Chamber Ashraf Malik were also present. On the occasion, an exhibition “Shops on the Wheels” was also arranged under public-private partnership.

The Advisor said thatsSixty-four per cent (64%) of Pakistanis are below the age of 30, and 29% are aged between 15-29 years. He said that youth between 15-29 years make up 41.6% of Pakistan’s total labour force. Four million Pakistani youth attain working age every year. He added that to absorb this populace into the job market, Pakistan needs to create 4.5 million new jobs over the next five years (0.9 million jobs annually).

He said that under the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister, the Government of Pakistan is making all out efforts to convert youth as an economic force for the country. He said that huge investment is being made in youth to capitalize the immense potential of the country.

Usman Dar said that first-ever comprehensive National Youth Development Framework (NYDF) has been developed to ensure quality education, gainful employment and meaningful engagement of youth in economic activities. He said that Kamyab Jawan program is aimed at polishing the skills and abilities of youth so that they can be emerged as job providers and economy boosters instead of job seekers.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that majority of youth goes abroad to find out good employment opportunities and this brain-drain is a great economic loss to the country. He said that migration rate of skilled manpower has increased in recent past and a developing country like Pakistan cannot to lose human resources. He said that government should address those issues on priority which are forcing human resources to migrate to the other countries.

He also called for strong industry-academia linkage saying that it would help produce suitable human resources for the industry. He urged the government to create new jobs in power, mining, manufacturing and service industry. In agriculture the focus will be on value addition chain that is expected to become more attractive for new jobs based in processed and semi processed agro-based industries.