LAHORE    -   The government of Punjab, under instructions from Prime Minister Imran Khan, has especially prioritized youth and their economic needs. “It is pursuing an agenda of developing the quality of young human resources,” said Provincial Minister of Punjab for Labour and Human Resource Ansar Majeed Khan Niazi, during the commemoration of International Youth Day (IYD) 2019 at the University of Home Economics (UHE), Lahore.

Minister Ansar Niazi was speaking to 300 university students at the event organised by international NGO Oxfam in Pakistan in collaboration with the University of Home Economics (UHE). The Minister also said that the government is expanding its soft loans program for youth to promote entrepreneurship so that they are economically productive. The role of women in economic development was also highlighted by Dr. Kanwal Ameen, UHE Vice Chancellor. She said that the university has produced a high number of talented women entrepreneurs, especially in the fields of home economics, arts and crafts. Mr. Mohammed Qazilbash, Country Director Oxfam in Pakistan emphasized the need for decent and safe working environments saying, “We want to create an environment where you can be comfortable mentally, physically and emotionally; especially working women”. Reflecting on Oxfam’s overarching goals, he also said, “We need to create sustainable employment opportunities for youth that ensure a decent and safe work environment in line with Sustainable Development Goal 8.” At present, Oxfam is implementing the Empower Youth for Work (EYW) which aims to raise awareness and constructive dialogue with stakeholders and youth on the importance of creating a decent work environment. Mr. Razi Mujtaba Haider, Representative from the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Pakistan, urged for the promotion of decent work for youth in rural areas and the adoption of best practices by employers meeting the ILO specified decent work guidelines. “Anti-harassment practices are a crucial area for making workplaces safe, where there should not be any discrimination on the basis of race, gender or ethnicity,” he said. President of the Employer’s Federation of Pakistan (EFP) Mr. Majyd Aziz and, General Secretary of Pakistan Workers Federation Zahoor Awan also attended the event.