SECP organising seminars

for investors’ awareness

ISLAMABAD (APP): In order to further its mandate of protecting retail investors, raising awareness about savings and investment, financial markets and products, and building investor confidence, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has started another round of investors awareness seminars in collaboration with market professionals and associations. These seminars are part of the overall investors education programme, which is aimed at enhancing financial literacy and providing easy access to financial instruments through setting up of capital market hubs across major cities of Pakistan, according to a statement.

The seminars are designed to enlighten the participants about capital markets, mutual and pension funds as investment/savings vehicles and initiatives taken by the SECP to safeguard investor interests.

The first seminar of the series was held on Saturday (Jan 24) in Karachi in collaboration with the CDC on the premises of the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Pakistan.

The seminar attracted a substantial audience, and turned out to be a great success with engaging presentations and highly interactive Q&A session. The next seminar is scheduled for Jan 29 in Lahore.

First-ever TVET policy to help build skilled workforce

ISLAMABAD (APP): The first-ever Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) policy would be launched soon to harness energies of youth for gainful employment as well as to reduce the drop-out ratio. The draft of the TVET policy was finalized after countrywide consultations by a special taskforce, constituted for development of the national policy for the TVET. The policy draft has been designed with the efforts of TVET Reform Support Programme and National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC). The policy objectives include creating national standards-based TVET system to provide national qualifications, assessment and certification arrangements that are quality assured.

According to the draft of the policy which is likely to be approved soon, technical and vocational training would be given to one million in training and 20 per cent of school leavers annually by 2025.

The present population of the country is 184 million; the median age is 22 years and 60 per cent of the population is under 30 years of age, over the next 35 years the working age population will double.

The draft says that national wealth can be increased by engaging the youthful population in constructive work otherwise economic and social costs will be incurred on the society.

Remittances from the six million Pakistanis who work overseas top PRs 150 billion. Increasingly importing countries demand workforce with internationally recognised qualifications, the draft says. The policy would help develop new partnership working, particularly between government and the private sector and embed competency-based training throughout the country by 2025. It would ensure the delivery of qualifications that match international standards to support the growth of export of labour, build credible and sustainable links with the informal sector and continue and accelerate the reform of public TVET provision.

PDWP approves 46 development projects in KP

PESHAWAR (Online): The Provincial Development Working Party has approved 46 development projects at an estimated cost of over 12 billion rupees for the uplift of different sectors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These development projects include construction of a 100-room hostel for girls in Bumburate area of Chitral, purchase of land for Chitral Campus of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University Upper Dir, rehabilitation and expansion of govt colleges in Chitral, provision of missing facilities in govt. colleges and construction of academic block in University of Science and Technology Bannu.The PDWP also granted approval for installation of solar road lights in selected districts of the province.

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Agriculture extension services to

be revamped in Punjab

SIALKOT (APP): All necessary arrangements have been finalized for launching a project of revamping of agriculture extension services aimed at tracking it on modern lines costing Rs 113.655 million across the Punjab. Under the present setup, agriculture extension is confronted with multifarious challenges like capacity of the extension workers, diversification, intensification, value addition and land fragmentation. Under the circumstances, the use of ICT has been considered appropriate to improve extension services in Punjab. The objective of the project was to improve the Extension Delivery System through introduction of innovation techniques of  ICT.

The specific objectives of the project are to set up an Agriculture Extension ICT hub to increase the reach of farmers towards modern package of technology for exploration and integration of ICT resources like SMS, website and call centres to facilitate farmers through this Agriculture Extension ICT hub and to establish a dedicated system of monitoring of agriculture extension workers, transforming of existing reporting system of agriculture extension to e-reporting, dissemination of latest crop production technologies through district and provincial level centres and provision of missing broadband internet facilities to district, tehsil and markaz level extension offices.

The overall objectives of Agriculture sector was to increase productivity, increase efficiency of agriculture extension system and to improve the extension delivery system through suitable information and communication technology. Under the programme, the ICT centres will be established in agriculture offices through the provision of laptop and multimedia, sources added.

BISP’s PVI from next fiscal year

ISLAMABAD (APP): BISP would launch Payment Verification Interface (PVI) from next fiscal year for tracking of amount transferred to beneficiaries. An official of BISP said the project is currently under test run and it would take four to five months for this process, adding that after thoroughly checking this system, it will be formally applicable from the start of next fiscal year. This PVI will enable the BISP management to monitor the flow of cash transfer and the trends of utilization of the disbursements by the beneficiaries, he told APP. “Basically it is a software which would track transfer of amount from Finance Ministry to BISP and then to Bank accounts of beneficiaries till reaching to the hands of end users”, he informed.

It will not only act as a control against corrupt practices, but also point out the delays in the cash transfer. The availability of current and up-to-date data will help the administration in many ways, he further said.

The official informed that the initiative has been taken to make the cash transfer system online.

It will ensure transparency by keeping track of the entire amount. It would also assist in keeping track of all the registered beneficiaries and the date-wise release and withdrawal of the disbursements. The information will be displayed on each level from regions, divisions and up to tehsils/talukas, he added.

BISP is a social safety net program launched in July 2008 with an immediate objective of benefiting the poorest of the poor, particularly women. Since its inception, BISP has grown rapidly and is now the largest poverty alleviation program in Pakistan. The cash transfer amount is raised by the current government from Rs. 1,000/- per month to Rs. 1,500/- per month to each beneficiary, which is provided on quarterly basis, amounting to Rs. 4,500/- per quarter.