The mantra of “a million jobs” is a tough promise to follow up on, but the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government aims to come near that target, probably to alleviate the first few months of economic hardship. One of the primary ways that the federal government is anticipating to lower unemployment is through the Kamyab Jawan Programme, which is an aggressive small and medium enterprise lending scheme.

Kamyab Jawan will be a part of a plan to stimulate job creation among the youth under the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, and the scheme is a collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda). According to the Youth Affairs Department Officials, Smeda is meant to connect young Pakistanis with top business ventures in local and international markets in order to facilitate economic empowerment of the youth. Smeda will also provide vocational and technical training to the youth to ensure a more skilled and experienced workforce.

The scheme sounds like a good initiative for job creation at first. The past few months have been economically tough for the public, with the price hikes and the depreciating value of the rupee. More than 29 per cent of the country’s population consists of young people between the ages of 15-29 years, and the government will need to create more jobs to cater to the ever increasing population.

Low-interest lending is a good way to temporary alleviate economic hardship but SMEs in Pakistan do not simply need loans. There needs to be more long-term reform of the very cumbersome processes that slow down economic growth, which include countering the banking system and simplifying the regulatory framework of Pakistan’s taxation system. Programs and schemes might be a temporary solution bur only through strengthening institutions to provide an environment of ease of business can long term economic growth be sustained.