MULTAN, Jul 13 Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said the deal inked with International Monetary Fund (IMF) was a moment for Pakistan to reevaluate its policies towards attaining the goals of financial self-reliance.
“The IMF agreement is not a moment of rejoice, but to assess the state of affairs as to how the country has become dependent on loans and foreign grants,” he said in his address at the PM Youth Loan and Laptop Scheme event here at the Bahauddin Zakariya University.
The IMF’s executive board on Wednesday approved the $US3 billion stand-by agreement for Pakistan to help overcome its current financial challenges.
The prime minister said though the country had averted the dangers of default, however, consistent efforts were required to stabilize the economy from recent external shocks.
He emphasized a united approach by all segments of the country including the government, the State institutions, and the nation to lead the country towards financial self-reliance.
“A nation, which learns from its mistakes and takes corrective measures, attain the goals of prosperity,” he said.
Terming youth the future of Pakistan, he said the development policies must ensure their inclusion in the national mainstream.
The government, he said, was pursuing the vision of encouraging the youth in educational and professional fields.
He appreciated the brilliant students who were focusing their energies on education with dedication and hard work.
He recalled establishing several Danish schools across Punjab and south Punjab for underprivileged students to help them excel.
The prime minister said contrary to nepotism, merit could help drive students belonging to underprivileged backgrounds to achieve success in their fields.
He mentioned that due to the restraint of resources, only 100,000 laptops were being distributed under the programme and stressed the need for expanding the project to benefit a large number of students.
PM Sharif pointed out that during the tenure of the previous government, industrialists were given loans on a meager four percent markup which incurred big losses to the economy.
Had these loans been given to students for entrepreneurship, the outcome would have been much positive and better, he added.
He announced to increase in the number of laptops for students up to five million and set up a Medical City in Multan if their party came to power in the next general election.
He also announced the construction of a flyover at Shujaabad to facilitate the people of the area.
The prime minister on the occasion distributed laptops among the talented university students on merit and also gave away cheques of entrepreneurship loans to youth.
Governor Punjab Balighur Rehman, Chief Minister Punjab Mohsin Naqvi, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Special Assistant to PM Atta Tarar, Vice Chancellor Bahauddin Zakariya University Dr Asif Ali, and provincial government officials were present.