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Govt, WEF join hands to close skills gap in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday announced the establishment of ‘National Accelerator on Closing the Skills Gap in Pakistan’, in partnership with the World Economic Forum, with Punjab Skills Development Fund (PSDF) serving as its national secretariat.

The announcement came during the meeting of the prime minister with World Economic Forum President Broge Brende at the PM Office.

According to details, the national skills development accelerator would be led and guided by a team of co-chairs from the public and private sectors.

The government would be represented by Education and Professional Training Minister Shafqat Mahmood and Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Zulfiqar Bukhari, while Unilever Pakistan Managing Director Shazia Syed and Habib Bank Limited CEO Mohammad Aurangzeb would represent the private sector.

PM Imran Khan on the occasion shared his government’s political and financial commitment to introducing reforms in the skill development sectors of Pakistan and thanked the World Economic Forum for choosing Pakistan as a founding member of the ‘national accelerator’ initiative.

“Given its global reach and expertise, WEF’s engagement in the initiative will help provide new opportunities to Pakistan’s youth, besides developing new skills to fully embrace the impact of the fourth industrial revolution,” he added.

The prime minister also apprised the WEF president of Pakistan’s perspective on regional issues, including the policy of “peaceful neighbourhood” and his vision for peace, progress and prosperity.

WEF President Borge Brende stated that the launch of the national accelerator was an important milestone in the forum’s relationship with Pakistan.

Many of Pakistan’s national priorities, he said, were the core focus of the forum’s work.

“From education to the skill development of youth; from environment protection, water resource management, industrialization and connectivity to the regional cooperation, the forum is ready to offer its platform to support Pakistan’s economic transformation,” he added.

Brende lauded the prime minister for his vision and the government’s initiative towards environment protection, making it a key priority area for the first time in the history of the country.

He also acknowledged and appreciated the prime minister’s efforts towards peace in the region and Pakistan’s positive engagement at the international level.

The WEF chief invited the prime minister to attend the 50th anniversary of the forum, which would be held in Davos in January 2020.

INVESTMENT IN RENEWABLES

Meanwhile, in a separate meeting withAdviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, the WEF president appreciated the policy direction of the government, especially with regard to the expansion of the country’s industrial base.

During the meeting, Brende shed light on the changing global trade and economic landscape and opportunities for Pakistan. He urged the government to take advantage of global renewable energy trends and attract investment in the renewable energy sector.

The WEF chief further elaborated that the generation of renewable energy was cost-effective and environment-friendly, providing a new window of opportunity for investment in Pakistan.

The PM’s adviser on the occasion said in a bid to offer lucrative investment opportunities to investors, the government has taken a strategic decision to increase the share of renewables in its energy mix.

“The government is striving to provide affordable energy, especially for the industry,” Dawood said, adding that through special economic zones (SEZs), the government was providing incentives to investors by allowing duty free import of machinery, besides tax holidays for ten years.

“In addition, the government has launched a programme, ‘Regulatory Guillotine’, to ensure the ease of business regulations. The programme will focus on mapping of the existing business regulations, assessing their need, weeding out the unnecessary rules and digitising the required regulation notifications.

The WEF president assured the adviser of the forum’s support in the implementation of Pakistan’s development agenda.

The announcement came during the meeting of the prime minister with World Economic Forum President Broge Brende at the PM Office.

According to details, the national skills development accelerator would be led and guided by a team of co-chairs from the public and private sectors.

The government would be represented by Education and Professional Training Minister Shafqat Mahmood and Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Zulfiqar Bukhari, while Unilever Pakistan Managing Director Shazia Syed and Habib Bank Limited CEO Mohammad Aurangzeb would represent the private sector.

PM Imran Khan on the occasion shared his government’s political and financial commitment to introducing reforms in the skill development sectors of Pakistan and thanked the World Economic Forum for choosing Pakistan as a founding member of the ‘national accelerator’ initiative.

“Given its global reach and expertise, WEF’s engagement in the initiative will help provide new opportunities to Pakistan’s youth, besides developing new skills to fully embrace the impact of the fourth industrial revolution,” he added.

The prime minister also apprised the WEF president of Pakistan’s perspective on regional issues, including the policy of “peaceful neighbourhood” and his vision for peace, progress and prosperity.

WEF President Borge Brende stated that the launch of the national accelerator was an important milestone in the forum’s relationship with Pakistan.

Many of Pakistan’s national priorities, he said, were the core focus of the forum’s work.

“From education to the skill development of youth; from environment protection, water resource management, industrialization and connectivity to the regional cooperation, the forum is ready to offer its platform to support Pakistan’s economic transformation,” he added.

Brende lauded the prime minister for his vision and the government’s initiative towards environment protection, making it a key priority area for the first time in the history of the country.

He also acknowledged and appreciated the prime minister’s efforts towards peace in the region and Pakistan’s positive engagement at the international level.

The WEF chief invited the prime minister to attend the 50th anniversary of the forum, which would be held in Davos in January 2020.

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