Govt to promote innovation for national policymaking: PM

Shehbaz says special cells to be set up in all ministries to encourage youth to work on innovations n Resolves to overcome loadshedding by restoring halted power generation projects n PM woos US firms to invest in diverse fields

ISLAMABAD    –  Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the coalition government would bring massive policy reforms to inject innovative ideas for effec­tive policy making to achieve devel­opment goals for Pakistan.

“The government would set up spe­cial cells for talented youth at all min­istries to encourage them to work on their innovative ideas for nation­al policy-making”, the PM remarked while addressing the launch of Inno­vation Hub here yesterday.

He said the Innovation Hub is aimed at encouraging the youth to be involved in national development.

Being set up under the Prime Min­ister’s vision, the Innovation Hub will play an important role in harmoniz­ing policy making with the needs of the country by incorporating the views of all stakeholders, particular­ly the country’s talented youth and manpower. PM Sharif said the inno­vative project would receive valu­able feedback from stakeholders to help the government improve and refine its national policies He said modern education and technology had immense sig­nificance in today’s world and urged the experts, intellectuals and youth to connect with the government through their sug­gestions. He stressed the impor­tance of research work to ex­plore the potential of various subjects for the benefit of the general public.

The prime minister said he would personally promote the Innovation Hub which would act as an effective platform for youth to excel. The PM said the brilliant ideas of youth would be incorporated in policy-mak­ing so as to formulate them in a more practical way.

On the occasion, Head of PM’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi said the main objective of estab­lishing Innovation Hub under the vision of PM Shehbaz Sharif was “putting the public back in public policy”.

Besides himself, he said, the panel of experts comprising Faisal Bari, Mosharraf Zaidi, Shahrukh Wani and Ayesha Raza Farooq would finalize the ideas. He said the selected proposals would be present­ed to the prime minister, which would later become part of the national policy.

This would be the first time that the general public would be involved in national poli­cy-making, he added.

The youth present on the oc­casion gave their input about women’s development, tourism and hotel management, tech­nology, and the need for im­provement in the educational curriculum.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a meet­ing on increasing the potential of Information Technology (IT) related exports from the exist­ing $2.5 billion to $15 billion.

In attendance by Junaid Qureshi, President of Silicon Valley, California – an organiza­tion of Pakistani businessmen, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the volume of IT exports and stressed the need to further boost it.

The meeting highlighted the role of Pakistani expatriates re­siding in the Silicon Valley and their contribution to the moth­erland. PM Sharif lauded the efforts of Junaid Qureshi and urged him to promote Paki­stan’s IT sector abroad.

Meanwhile, the prime min­ister also chaired a meeting to review measures to end power outages in the country.

On the occasion, he said end­ing loadshedding was the re­sponsibility of the coalition gov­ernment despite the inherited baggage of crisis from the previ­ous government.

He said the government was focused on taking effective mea­sures to ensure an uninterrupt­ed supply of electricity to con­sumers. He said the government was cognizant of the problems faced by the people during high mercury levels, adding that ev­ery effort would be made to ad­dress the genuine challenges.

He mentioned that to resolve the problem, the government banned the import of machin­ery for raw materials and avoid­ed the purchase of expensive gas. The prime minister pointed out that the lack of maintenance of power plants during the ten­ure of the previous government resulted in power shortage.

He said quashing the trans­parent and cheap deal with Qa­tar for the supply of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) at a 13 per­cent rate in a period of 15 years was big negligence on part of the previous government.

Also, the prime minister said, despite commitment, the re­volving account was not opened with China.

He also regretted that during the last four years, the opportu­nity to buy cheap gas was delib­erately missed.

A power plant of 1250 mega­watt in Haveli Bahadur Shah is closed due to apathy of the government of Pakistan Teh­reek-e-Insaf, he added.

He said the situation led to fi­nancial challenges and slowed down the pace of development in the country.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Shar­if has emphasized that US com­panies need to be encouraged by the Development Finance Corporation of the US to invest in Pakistan’s large market in di­verse fields. The prime minister was talking to US Ambassador Donald Blome who called on him at the PM Office here Friday.

During the meeting, the PM congratulated the US Ambassa­dor on his presentation of cre­dentials and expressed the hope that the Ambassador would de­vote his efforts to deepening and enhancing bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan. In this con­text, the prime minister high­lighted the historic, longstanding ties between the two countries and underscored Pakistan’s de­sire to further develop this rela­tionship on the basis of mutual respect, trust, and interest.

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