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Shehbaz says special cells to be set up in all ministries to encourage youth to work on innovations n Resolves to overcome loadshedding by restoring halted power generation projects n PM woos US firms to invest in diverse fields

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the coalition government would bring massive policy reforms to inject innovative ideas for effective policy making to achieve development goals for Pakistan.

“The government would set up special cells for talented youth at all ministries to encourage them to work on their innovative ideas for national policy-making”, the PM remarked while addressing the launch of Innovation Hub here yesterday.

He said the Innovation Hub is aimed at encouraging the youth to be involved in national development.

Being set up under the Prime Minister’s vision, the Innovation Hub will play an important role in harmonizing policy making with the needs of the country by incorporating the views of all stakeholders, particularly the country’s talented youth and manpower. PM Sharif said the innovative project would receive valuable feedback from stakeholders to help the government improve and refine its national policies He said modern education and technology had immense significance in today’s world and urged the experts, intellectuals and youth to connect with the government through their suggestions . He stressed the importance of research work to explore the potential of various subjects for the benefit of the general public.

The prime minister said he would personally promote the Innovation Hub which would act as an effective platform for youth to excel. The PM said the brilliant ideas of youth would be incorporated in policy-making so as to formulate them in a more practical way.

On the occasion, Head of PM’s Strategic Reforms Salman Sufi said the main objective of establishing Innovation Hub under the vision of PM Shehbaz Sharif was “putting the public back in public policy”.

Besides himself, he said, the panel of experts comprising Faisal Bari, Mosharraf Zaidi, Shahrukh Wani and Ayesha Raza Farooq would finalize the ideas. He said the selected proposals would be presented to the prime minister, which would later become part of the national policy.

This would be the first time that the general public would be involved in national policy-making, he added.

The youth present on the occasion gave their input about women’s development, tourism and hotel management, technology, and the need for improvement in the educational curriculum.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired a meeting on increasing the potential of Information Technology (IT) related exports from the existing $2.5 billion to $15 billion.

In attendance by Junaid Qureshi, President of Silicon Valley, California – an organization of Pakistani businessmen, the prime minister expressed satisfaction over the volume of IT exports and stressed the need to further boost it.

The meeting highlighted the role of Pakistani expatriates residing in the Silicon Valley and their contribution to the motherland. PM Sharif lauded the efforts of Junaid Qureshi and urged him to promote Pakistan’s IT sector abroad.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also chaired a meeting to review measures to end power outages in the country.

On the occasion, he said ending loadshedding was the responsibility of the coalition government despite the inherited baggage of crisis from the previous government.

He said the government was focused on taking effective measures to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity to consumers. He said the government was cognizant of the problems faced by the people during high mercury levels, adding that every effort would be made to address the genuine challenges.

He mentioned that to resolve the problem, the government banned the import of machinery for raw materials and avoided the purchase of expensive gas. The prime minister pointed out that the lack of maintenance of power plants during the tenure of the previous government resulted in power shortage.

He said quashing the transparent and cheap deal with Qatar for the supply of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) at a 13 percent rate in a period of 15 years was big negligence on part of the previous government.

Also, the prime minister said, despite commitment, the revolving account was not opened with China.

He also regretted that during the last four years, the opportunity to buy cheap gas was deliberately missed.

A power plant of 1250 megawatt in Haveli Bahadur Shah is closed due to apathy of the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, he added.

He said the situation led to financial challenges and slowed down the pace of development in the country.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has emphasized that US companies need to be encouraged by the Development Finance Corporation of the US to invest in Pakistan’s large market in various fields. The prime minister was talking to US Ambassador Donald Blome who called on him at the PM Office here Friday.

During the meeting, the PM congratulated the US Ambassador on his presentation of credentials and expressed the hope that the Ambassador would devote his efforts to deepening and enhancing bilateral ties between the US and Pakistan. In this context, the prime minister highlighted the historic, longstanding ties between the two countries and underscored Pakistan’s desire to further develop this relationship on the basis of mutual respect, trust, and interest.

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