LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said his government is providing unemployed youth with 50,000 vehicles under its Rs31 billion Apna Rozgar Scheme.

The scheme would benefit 500,000 families, he said while addressing the participants of an event held on Thursday for the balloting of vehicles for the Lahore division. Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan was accompanying the chief minister.

Pledging transparency in the project, Shahbaz said that vehicles were being provided on soft terms with Rs70,000 less than market price, while the government would pay the markup.

“Since 60 per cent population of the country comprises youth, the goal of progress cannot be achieved without empowerment of youngsters,” he added.

Counting his government’s feats in tapping the talent of youth, Shahbaz Sharif said that his government had taken a number of steps for the progress and empowerment of youth. “This scheme is one of such steps,” he added.

“Though joblessness cannot be fixed at the government level anywhere in the world, Punjab has been on job to create employment opportunities,” he stated.

The chief minister further said that more than 150,000 applications were received under the Apna Rozgar Scheme and 50,000 vehicles were being distributed. He said 10pc additional quota had been allocated for South Punjab under the scheme.

He also claimed to have brought an end to nepotism, saying that Apna Rozgar Scheme was also proof of transparency, merit and speed. “An excellent business model has been developed for Apna Rozgar Scheme and Punjab government will bear the entire markup,” he added.

Shahbaz Sharif further said that the provincial government had saved public money of 2.5b after successful negotiations for the scheme.

Chief secretary calls on chief minister

Newly appointed Chief Secretary Punjab Khizar Hayat Gondal called on Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif here on Thursday.

The chief minister congratulated Gondal on his appointment and also expressed best wishes.

During the meeting, Shahbaz Sharif said that the Punjab government had adopted the policy of promotion of transparency, merit, good governance and corruption-free culture at every level. He said that uplift of the masses and speedy completion of public welfare projects was priority of his government.