Steady growth and innovation


There is a role entrepreneurship plays in development that we have yet to appreciate


An incisive appraisal of the developed countries reveals that their phenomenal economic growth was propelled by entrepreneurship, which is rightly regarded as a key to economic prosperity. Entrepreneurship is the capacity and willingness to start a new business venture and the hallmark of entrepreneurial spirit is innovation and risk taking. Countries like USA, Japan, Denmark, Germany, and Taiwan are quintessential of the role that entrepreneurship can play in the economic development of a country and therefore are role models for other nations aspiring to achieve self-sustained growth in the ever increasing competitive global market. Entrepreneurship therefore has rightly been called an engine of growth.

To promote entrepreneurship it is important that the people with innovative ideas and skills have access to the vital entrepreneurial resources like money, talent and know-how to initiate new business, especially small and medium size enterprises which are less volatile and more stable than the big and mega industrial ventures due to their ability to provide bulk of the jobs in a country. One of the major objectives of the governments and its economic managers is to ensure full employment in the country or trying to ensure the creations of maximum job opportunities for the ever growing labour force. But the fact remains that the governments can only provide an enabling environment to spur economic activity that leads to creation of more jobs in the private sector.

In Pakistan, the government employs only 7-8 percent of the labour force. So like all other nations the only option available to it is to propel economic activity in the private sector through encouraging entrepreneurship in regards to the establishment of small and medium size business and industry by making available necessary resources and technical know-how to the youth entering the labour market.

The PML-N government – recognising the importance of small and medium size industries and business, creation of self-employment opportunities for the youth in the economic development of the country and learning from the past experience – took a step in the right direction by launching Prime Minister’s Youth Programme  in September 2013; a package comprising Youth Business Loan Scheme, Youth Skill Development Programme, Youth Training Programme, Programme, Provision of laptops for talented students, Interest Free loan Scheme and  Fee Re-imbursement Scheme for Less Developed Areas. These initiatives were designed to create a culture of entrepreneurship by making available all the required ingredients to the youth for starting their own business and enhancing their technical know-how and skills for gainful employment in different sectors of the economy. The defined objective of this package was” Enabling youth and poor segments of population to get good opportunities of employment, economic empowerment, acquiring skills needed for gainful employment, spreading use of computers and imparting on the job training for young graduates to improve probability of  getting a productive job”.


Let’s do the math

An appraisal of all these programmes since their inception till date reveals that they have been pursued with utmost commitment by the concerned agencies. Under the Youth Business Loan Scheme loans amounting to Rs.2512.693 million have so far been disbursed among 17861 individuals .To avoid delays in the processing of loans, balloting has been replaced by the existing loan processing procedures.

The HEC has reimbursed fees of 152,798 poor students since its inception in 2013 under the fee reimbursement scheme. The number of new students registered for the scheme stands at 28592. An amount of Rs. 634,983,533 was released to different universities for the year 2016-17

According to the official sources under the Youth Skill Development Programme, 24,934 students graduated in the first phase, 20,392 in the second phase and in the third phase 23880 have already completed their training courses while 25,252 are still under training. The government has made available an amount of Rs. 4,608 million for the three phases. Similarly under the Youth Training Scheme 49,637 have been provided internship with different government departments and entities. This scheme is for master degree and associate diploma holders who are paid a stipend of Rs. 12,000 during their one year internship.


As is evident all the foregoing initiatives launched by the government have been pursued with uncompromising commitment and the progress on them so far has been indeed very encouraging. The youth are the future of the country. Engaging them in productive pursuits and self-employment avenues is the best insurance against poverty and an indispensable guarantee for economic prosperity. The country can move forward only when there are greater employment opportunities in the private sector. Pakistani youth are around 35-40 percent of the total population and any move that ensures and guarantees their gainful employment is bound to accelerate the process of economic progress due to its multiplier effect besides enhancing tax revenues of the government that this newly initiated economic activity will generate.

The detractors of the government and its political opponents may not agree with the success of these initiatives for their own reasons and political motives but the fact is that it was an imaginative and necessity-based initiative of the government that would ultimately solve the unemployment problem besides contributing in a big way to the overall economic prosperity of the country. Perhaps it would be pertinent to point out that the overall economic situation in the country is far better than when the present government was installed. During the year 2016-17 the GDP growth rate was 5.3 percent, highest in the last ten years. This turn around undoubtedly was the result of the prudent economic management by the government which has been duly acknowledged by all the international lending and rating agencies.