Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to make all-out efforts to achieve the Rs 30 billion loan target under the Prime Minister Youth Loan Scheme by end of June this year. The prime minister, who chaired a review meeting on the PM Youth Loan Scheme, instructed to resolve all operational issues regarding the scheme on priority. He said the government was taking remarkable steps for promotion of entrepreneurship and employment among the youth. Besides the provision of easy loans to the youth was also being ensured. He said the youth were an asset for Pakistan and the country’s progress was linked with their welfare. The prime minister also set up a steering committee under him to examine the performance and pace of the youth loan scheme. The finance minister would also be part of the committee. He said the Pakistani youths had immense potential with high morale and if provided with resources, they could change the country’s fate. He said the collaborative work of the public and private sectors was essential to cope with the prevailing challenges. The meeting was told that starting from 2013, around 54,000 youth had been extended loan facility worth Rs 73.55 billion. A portal for the youth loan scheme was also launched on January 24, 2023. Under the scheme, people from 18 to 45 years of age can get easy loans within 45 days. About 25 percent quota has been allocated for women. The heads of participating banks and microfinancing institutions ensured to achieve the loan targets within the timeframe. The prime minister also formed a committee to address the operational issues regarding the loan scheme. The committee would comprise Minister of State for Finance Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Special Assistant to the PM Shiza Fatima, federal secretaries for information and poverty alleviation, founder of Akhuwat Foundation, State Bank governor, and presidents of National Rural Support Programme, Bank of Punjab, Habib Bank Limited, Zarai Taraqqiati Bank and Bank Al Falah. The meeting was attended by SAPM on Youth Affairs Shiza Fatima, and heads and representatives of banks and microfinancing institutions. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday formed a high-level committee to streamline the relief activities the quake-hit people of Turkiye and Syria. The prime minister, who chaired a meeting to review the relief activities, said the committee would ensure supply of relief goods to Turkiye and Syria on priority basis. The relief goods would be dispatched through land, aerial and sea routes. To be headed by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the committee would comprise Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain, Religious Affairs Minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor, NDMA chairman, Pakistan’s ambassadors in Turkiye and Syria, and Special Assistant to the PM Tariq Fatemi. The prime minister ordered to hold fund-raising campaign at schools, colleges and universities. He also appealed to the philanthropists, industrialists and business community to take part in the fund-raising for the distressed people of Turkiye and Syria. He urged the people of Pakistan to donate relief goods at the collection centers of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). He also instructed the NDMA to enhance its coordination with the provincial governments to speed up the relief activities. The prime minister said Pakistan stood by its close friend Turkiye in the hour of distress. He said Turkiye extended support to the people of Pakistan after floods in 2010 and 2022. Prime Minister Shehbaz also instructed the authorities concerned to arrange blankets, warm clothes, baby food and tents while ensuring the quality of the relief goods being sent to Turkiye and Syria. The prime minister said that despite limited resources, Pakistan would leave no stone unturned in supporting their Turkish brethren. He said Pakistan established an air corridor to supply relief goods and a convoy of trucks would soon leave for Turkiye and Syria. The meeting was told that a team along with the equipment for a 30-bed mobile hospital was already serving in Turkiye while another mobile hospital was being dispatched along with staff and equipment. The prime minister appreciated the services of Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, her team as well as the Pakistani media to highlight the sufferings of the Turkish brethren among the people of Pakistan. Besides, he also lauded the role of Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan International Airlines and NDMA in the relief operation. Moreover, rescue and Pakistan Army teams were engaged in relief operations in Turkiye. Pakistan’s ambassador in Turkiye apprised the meeting of the statistics of destruction caused by the earthquake in Turkiye. The prime minister appreciated the ambassador’s performance and and directed him to play his role to strengthen contacts between the institutions of Pakistan and Turkiye. It was told that besides relief goods, rescue teams had reached Turkiye and Syria and taking part in the relief operations. Besides, the PIA was also ensuring regular flights from Islamabad and Lahore to Turkiye for supply of relief goods. The truckloads of relief goods would also leave for Turkiye and Syria within few days. It was told that a countrywide campaign was also being run for support to the quake victims. The relief amounts can be deposited in the account No. G-12166 of relief fund established by the prime minister. The relief goods can be donated to the NDMA’s 13 collection centers established across the country. The collection centers would be set up at the district level. Federal ministers Ishaq Dar, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, SAPM Tariq Fatemi, NDMA chairman, Pakistan’s ambassadors to Turkiye and Syria and senior officers attended the meeting.