Investment in human capital imperative for uplift: Asad

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar here on Tuesday said investment in human capital was very imperative and central to development of the country.

“Educating youth and investing in their development is both means to an end and end in itself,” the finance minister said this while addressing the Human Capital Summit here.

The minister said that investing in education and human capital was actually investing in economy as it yields high economic dividends, hence investments in these sectors was actually investing in economy. He said the government was fully committed to work in this direction.

The minister said that there was need for going beyond monetary statistics when dealing with human development and poverty alleviation, adding that over the years success had been made in terms of poverty reduction and developing human capital as indicators were better today as compare to 20 years back.

However, the pace with which these developments have taken place in the other parts of the world have not taken place same way in Pakistan. He said that Pakistan would be using multi-dimensional approach for measuring poverty and help alleviate it.

Asad Umar said that for the first time the government was integrating the social protection efforts instead of adopting the current fragmented approach. Coordinated approach would be used for poverty alleviation and government would set up specific authority for this purpose.

He, however, was of the view that there was need for fiscal space, stressing the need for adopting innovative financial instruments. He said that Pakistan looks forward towards institution, World Bank and private sector to introduce innovative financial instruments adding that if it required any legislation, the government would do the needful.

He said that government was also improving structure to internally strengthen its institutions while it was also establishing Public-Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) to work with private sector and mobilize funds for not only infrastructure projects but also for social sector.

Later talking to media persons the minister said that Pakistan economy was captured by elite culture and there was need for breaking this stranglehold by opening the economy, making it rule-based, ensure transparent decision-making, strengthen parliament and over-sighting mechanism, transparency and accountability.

Earlier, speaking at the summit, South Asia Region World Bank Group Vice President Hartwig Schafer said that progress has been made in poverty reduction in Pakistan. He highlighted the need for adopting multi-dimensional approach for poverty measurement by including education, health and their quality in the measurement scale.

He said that women participation in work force was also imperative, saying that only one in three women was participating in labour forces in South Asia.

He also urged private sector and donors to play their role in promoting investments in human capital and lead the country towards sustainable development.