ISLAMABAD-Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar on Friday said government is committed to invest in demographic dividends and turn the country’s immense potential into vibrant economy.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar said this in his address at the concluding session of the two-day “Thought Leaders Summit 2020” organised by the British Council. He said that this will also generate opportunities in the job market, generate revenues and put the country on path of development and prosperity.

The minister spoke on a variety of subjects ranging from creative economy to higher education, digital economy, equality, inclusivity and enabling environment and reiterated his government’s resolve to turn all these challenges into opportunities.

While appreciating the work done by the British Council’s Research Evaluation and Monitoring Unit (REMU), Hammad Azhar agreed there was a need to enhance Higher Education budget particularly the development budget.

Although the development part of higher education is registering considerable raise, yet it needs to be increased and the government was well aware of it.

The minister also divulged into element of equality and inclusivity in education and promised that by the mid of the next year, the government would ensure uniform curriculum at school level.

“Unless we give our youth a level playing field, we cannot expect to utilise their potential in maximum way.”

Sharing his vision of job creation for the youth, Hammad Azhar said Pakistan could garner huge benefit from its demographic dividends. Other countries like India, Indonesia, Japan, and China have taken advantage of their demographic potential but unfortunately, Pakistan despite the fact that it has worlds’ richest potential in that particular field, has not utilised it.

He also spoke on the subject of digital economy and admitted that in that field too, Pakistan had not performed well in the past.

“Digital starts-ups usually begin with Small and Medium Enterprises,” he said adding there was a time when this particular sector’s share used to be 16 per cent but in recent years it steadily declined to 8 per cent.

The State of Bank of Pakistan (SBP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance has taken bold initiatives and in next three to four years it will be back at the 16 per cent and we shall make a further increase in it, he said.

Amir Ramzan, Country Director of the British Council in Pakistan in his vote of thanks said the summit aimed to bring together stakeholders to initiate dialogue for improving socio-economic status of Pakistanis across the board, especially young people.

This initiative “Thought Leaders’ Summit 2020” will help build connections, understanding and trust among different sectors, said Amir Ramzan adding the British Council worked with several stakeholders in Pakistan and the UK to produce quality research addressing some key challenges to inform policy.