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Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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Untapped youth bulge

The ruling PTI came into power with a promise of creating 10 million jobs over its five years of governance. But with three and half years in, the incumbent government is yet to fulfil its electoral promise outlined in its manifesto, while the country’s unemployment rate has gone up to 6.9 per cent. What is worse is that many of those unemployed are the youth despite successive government’s tall claims of reaping benefits of the country’s growing youth bulge and demographic dividend. According to the latest report of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), over 31 per cent of Pakistan’s youth is unemployed. ‘Out of these 31 per cent, 51 per cent are females while 16 per cent are males, with many of them possessing professional degrees,’ stated the report. It is pertinent to note that nearly 60 per cent of the country’s population of 220 million is less than 30 years old.

The government has not only failed to create job opportunities but its economic policies has instead made it difficult for industries to retain employees. The weakening rupee against the dollar, increase in the central bank’s interest rate, frequent prices hike in tariffs and a rising inflation rate have made certain sectors, such as, manufacturers struggling to retain its skilled workforce let alone provide jobs to others. While the recent revival of the IMF’s $6 billion funding programme will offset the decline of the rupee, it will push the government to increase power tariffs further. It is then only safe to assume that more companies will have to brace the storm of inflationary pressures before the dust is allowed to settle.

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This is not to say that external factors – the coronavirus pandemic and a surge in global commodity prices – have not been at play to restrict employment opportunities but the government has done little to nothing create jobs in sectors it has heavily spent on since it came into power. Case in point: housing and construction sector. The report revealed that even though education is considered a panacea and the key to all opportunities, but “reality shows us otherwise”. The reality remains that many of those employed in government offices have been hired on ‘requests’. It is time for the ruling party to visit its 2018 manifesto and work towards creatine jobs with the same fervor it boasts the increase in economic growth numbers.

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