An ambitious Growth Strategy for2015-18 has been established by Punjab government to address some constraints to economic growth in the province.

Jahanzeb Khan, Chairman Punjab Planning and Development (P&D) stated in his inaugural speech to a one-day consultative workshop-Punjab Skills Forum mutually organized by Project Implementation Unit of Punjab Skills Development Project (PIU-PSDP) and Punjab Industries, Commerce and Investment Department (IC & ID) in association with an international organization GIZ at a local hotel.

He said the major challenges to Growth Strategy show slow employment generation, under employment and widening skills gap. It also identifies textile & garments, light engineering, auto parts, surgical instruments, cutlery, agricultural implants, pumps, sports & fans, construction, pharmaceutical and food processing as significant sectors with high growth potential.

He indicated that Pakistan with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US Dollar 1.299 and a population of over 180 million people was among lower middle-income countries of the world.

“Slow progress in human development indicates a challenge to an entire country and Punjab which is swaying its competitiveness, economic growth and efforts to lessen poverty,” he added.

Dr. M Mujtaba Piracha, Secretary Industries also addressed the workshop and said the IC & ID is collectively implementing agenda for reform in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector by PIU-PSDP and funding of the World Bank.

He said that various reforms are being implemented in a skills sector at provincial as well as national level and a sizable number of development partners are working in this sector. “It is needed that all organizations of the skills sector be brought together to build synergies and to avoid doubling of efforts at the forum,” he added.

He hoped the outputs of the consultative workshop would be conducted in the form of TVET landscape in the province and collective understanding for establishing proposed Punjab Skills Forum. Several sessions of the workshop aimed to upgrade an understanding of the common goals. In the concluding session of the workshop, participants shared their recommendations and findings.