ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif emphasized the imperative of investing in the country’s young talent during a ceremony for the Prime Minister’s National Innovation Awards. He highlighted that nations thrive when their youth acquire skills and relevant degrees in various fields. Expressing delight at the accomplishments of the nation’s youth in different sectors, he acknowledged their talents and skills.
The Prime Minister asserted that the future of the country rests in capable hands, and it is essential to channel investments towards nurturing and recognizing the talent of the youth. He expressed satisfaction over the exemplary achievements of these young individuals in areas such as IT, biodiesel, traffic lights, and motorcycles throughout their educational journeys.
Through the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award Programme, an amount of Rs 160 million was distributed among 100 talented young individuals who had successfully undertaken innovative business projects.
Despite the financial challenges faced by Pakistan, the Prime Minister conveyed his confidence in steering the country out of these issues. He emphasized the importance of determination and unity in charting a prosperous future for Pakistan, without relying heavily on foreign debts. Acknowledging China’s support, he expressed gratitude for the $1 billion loan facility extended during economic constraints.
The Prime Minister underscored the burden of foreign debts on Pakistan over the past 75 years, emphasizing the need to utilize talent, honesty, and skills to overcome this predicament. He refrained from delving into the details of past man-made crises but urged the nation to learn from history and commit to changing the fate of Pakistan without depending on foreign debts.
Highlighting the importance of national unity, the Prime Minister called for an end to mudslinging and the game of allegations. He advocated for the adoption of a unified national agenda, similar to other countries, encompassing foreign and economic policies.
Expressing appreciation for China’s unwavering support, the Prime Minister acknowledged their resilience in difficult times and praised the role of brotherly and friendly countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar. He lauded China’s $30 billion investment in the flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Commending the outstanding achievements of young innovators, the Prime Minister expressed pride on behalf of the entire nation. He recognized the vital contributions of their teachers and parents.
While acknowledging the awarding amount of Rs 1 million, the Prime Minister deemed it insufficient in light of current inflation, suggesting that it falls short compared to the past. He mentioned his previous initiatives, such as the Punjab Skills Development Company, which focused on imparting training to talented youth rather than investing in physical structures.
The Prime Minister highlighted the role of governments as catalysts for industrial and agricultural activities. He mentioned the distribution of laptops to high-achieving students in Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Kashmir, which proved beneficial during the Covid pandemic, enabling educational continuity and providing self-employment opportunities.
Expressing his desire to provide laptops to every child in the country, the Prime Minister extended his appreciation to the ambassador of Azerbaijan for the agreement to supply LNG to Pakistan. The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, highlighted plans to arrange meetings between youth with innovative business ideas and potential investors for implementation.
She also emphasized the distribution of Rs 100 billion in business loans over the past decade and the provision of over one million free laptops to talented students, which have proven to be life-changing. The Prime Minister’s Youth Affairs office has distributed an average of Rs 7 billion in business loans annually over the last ten years, with Rs 30 billion distributed in the past year.