LAHORE  -  The Punjab government has launched the Punjab Growth Strategy 2023.

The inaugural ceremony was held with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar in the chair at 90-Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam here on Friday.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Buzdar said the Punjab Growth Strategy 2023 would determine direction of economic development. The fruit of progress will reach every citizen of Punjab, he said. “We believe in public service, not for winning elections, but to earn blessings of Allah Almighty,” he said.  He said the Growth Strategy 2023 would present the holistic strategy to cope with the basic problems faced by people. He said the Growth Strategy 2023 was a way of people’s welfare and real development. He said that all promises made by the PTI in its manifesto would be fulfilled. “Special attention is being paid to reforms in education, healthcare, agriculture and other affairs. We want completion of CPEC projects and development of backward areas. Eradication of unemployment and generating abundant opportunities of employment are our main targets,” he said.

The chief minister said unemployment would be brought down by 8.8 percent in the next five years. “Provision of 1.2 million jobs annually is our target. He said that by 2023 the government wants to decrease poverty from 26.2 percent to 19.5 percent. As many as 640,000 houses would be constructed annually in the next five years under the Apna Ghar Scheme. The scope of Apna Ghar Scheme will soon be expanded to other districts of Punjab,” he said. He said the Punjab government was striving for the success of prime minister’s mission.

He said quality of medical education and management of hospitals would be improved. “New hospitals will be built and old hospitals and health centres will be upgraded. New technology will be used for provision of basic healthcare facilities.

“Investment will be made in construction and repair of schools, provision of facilities and improvement in infrastructure. Four thousand schools will be reconstructed. Electricity or solar lights will be provided in more than three thousand schools and science laboratories and electronic libraries will be established in 27,000 schools. Shelter workshops will be set up for blind people and degree colleges will be established in the special education sector,” he added.

He continued: “Availability of nine million acres feet additional water for irrigation will be ensured. Industries, agriculture and livestock sectors will also be upgraded. Agri produce will be increased by promoting smart agriculture. Special attention will be paid for the real development of backward areas in Growth Strategy 2023.”

Buzdar said that southern Punjab is facing shortage of resources due to trends of investment in specific areas. “Special attention will be paid to health, education and communication sectors in backward areas. Backward areas are being awarded status of special economic zones for grabbing the attention of investors. Industrial estates of Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan and Bahawalpur will be developed,” he said. He said that tall claims of progress and development were made in the past and mics were thrown away by the emotionally charged former chief minister,” he said.  He said that people’s sentiments were exploited by the rulers who were ruling Punjab for decades and their development was limited to TV screens and newspapers. Graph of employment and exports were decreased. He said that rulers of the past were totally unaware of the use of funds for real development. The ceremony was addressed by provincial minister for finance Hashim Jawan Bakht, adviser on economic affairs and planning Dr Salman Shah, renowned economist Dr Hafeez Pasha and chairman of P&D, special adviser to PM Firdous Ashiq Awan, provincial ministers, assembly members, experts, high ranking officers and people from various walks of life were also present on the occasion.