Islamabad: The present federal government has been trying to increase budgetary allocation of funds for scientific research and development (R&D) from 0.29 per cent to 01 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) so that it could be best used for welfare projects related to social sectors.
This was stated by Federal Minister for Science & Technology (S&T) Rana Tanveer Hussain as he along with Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid jointly presided over the ceremony of 8th International CSR Summit and Awards 2016 organized by National Forum for Environment and Health.
Chairman of Privatization Commission and State Minister Mohammad Zubair and State Minister for Education and Professional Training Baligh Ur Rehman were other guests of honour on the occasion. Some 60 leading national and international companies received awards for their commendable performance in 30 different categories of Corporate Social Responsibility during the past one year.
S&T Minister said that present government had the aim that R&D budget would be ultimately increased to 04 per cent to 05 per cent of GDP of economy at par with budgetary allocation for the same purpose by some of prospering nations of Southeast and Far East Asia including Japan and South Korea. The federal minister said that these were the developed countries of the region, which had contributed a lot to improvement of social sectors of their economies.
He said the subsidiary organizations of Ministry of Science & Technology, including Pakistan Science Foundation, would always provide all sort of support and assistance being sought for completing projects related to social sector development. He said the best utilization of science and technology was that such initiatives and projects in fields of S&T should be conceived and done, which would be helpful in alleviating basic social sector problems related to poverty, health, and education.
Tanveer Hussain said that private sector companies undertaking CSR-related projects had been doing a wonderful job as they had been contributing a lot to mitigate the situation of social sectors of Pakistan given unstable state of Pakistani economy. He said that even in developed part of the world, corporate entities had been contributing well through provision of funds and other resources for social sector development.
The Minister for S&T said that Benazir Income Support Programme and Endowment Fund for education were some of the initiatives of the government for social sector development. In his brief remarks on the occasion, Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the CSR Summit and award ceremony was a commendable effort as being an event to acknowledge companies and people engaged in serving the people.
“Those being recognized today are more superior than me as these are the people who earn through their abilities and instead of spending their income on their own selves spend it on doing good deeds,” said the Senator Rashid.
He said that such corporate entities and persons should continue with their good work in education, health, and environment sectors.
“Those people getting benefited by your welfare projects like students enrolled in schools and patients treated at hospitals being run for charitable causes, their prayers are the best award for all of you more than the award you are receiving today and the supreme award would be the one given by God,” said the federal minister while particularly addressing award winners of the ceremony.
State Minister for Education and Professional Training Baligh Ur Rehman said the government had been faced with the major challenge in social sector of 21 million children from age of 05 to 16 who had been out of schools. He said the govt had the resolve to bring to school each and every child not getting education in the country. For the purpose, the present govt had been trying to create maximum fiscal space with current budgetary allocation for education sector present at 02 per cent of GDP that had to be increased. He said the non-formal community-based schools functioning in remote parts of the country had been doing a wonderful job for provision of education to millions of children belonging to under-privileged communities.
The state minister urged the corporate sector doing philanthropy work that it should adopt some of such non-formal schools.
Privatization Commission Chairman and State Minister Mohammad Zubair said that present govt had been divesting from commercial, business, and industrial sectors in line with practices of developed economies so to have maximum funds for spending on social sector.
He said that through privatization programme the efforts had been under way to cope with the situation of much poorer performance of the govt in the past in the health, education, transport, and such social service sectors so to have the services of enabling private sector. Malik Amin Aslam, project head of Green Growth Initiative of govt of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that 113 million trees had been planted all over the province so far under the programme of provincial govt under which a billion trees would be planted till year 2018.
He said the under “Billion tree tsunami” programme of KPK, the provincial govt could generate revenue up to 800 million dollars through earning of “Carbon credits” in view of improvement of environment with plantation of trees and increasing forest cover. He said the billion tree programme of KPK govt was the only project presented from Pakistan in the recent Global Climate Change Summit held in Paris. Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme MNA Marvi Memon said that Pakistan at present had been facing seriously alarming situation regarding nutritional, health, and physical growth needs of mothers and children.
She said the corporate, business sector, non-governmental organizations, and international community should come forward to provide assistance to the government’s efforts to address health and growth needs of women and children for sake of upkeep of next generation of the country.
Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson, speaking on the occasion, shed light on Australian assistance and aid being provided to Pakistan in social sector.