ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday said the youth were the greatest strength of Pakistan and the present government would ensure that they were gainfully employed.

He was chairing a meeting held here to review the Prime Minister's Youth Programme.

Prime Minister Sharif, on September 21, announced a development package worth Rs20 billion for the country's youth comprising six projects, aimed at providing them assistance mainly through affordable education, soft loans and skill-based training. The premier was briefed about all the features of the youth programme. He was informed that so far 350,000 feedbacks/suggestions had been received from the general public.

To ensure more transparency, clarity and merit in the youth uplift package, it was Sharif’s desire to seek suggestions from general public.

He directed that all valuable suggestions should be given due consideration and projects under the youth programme be launched as soon as possible. The prime minister said the government wanted to provide various opportunities to the youth, including skilled education, training, employment and scholarships so that they could contribute positively in all fields.  The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rashid.

Chairing another meeting on Low-Cost Housing Scheme, Prime Minister Sharif said the government has planned to construct 500,000 affordable housing units all over the country in the five-year period through public-private partnership. He directed that policy framework in that regard should be prepared by November 30. The premier further directed that land identification, survey and estimates for vertical and horizontal housing units be prepared in order to launch the scheme early.

Nawaz Sharif observed that low-cost and affordable housing units would enhance the quality of life of the common man and would also provide employment opportunities, better sanitation, and social protection for the shelter-less.