Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif informed on Tuesday that the Exim (Export-Import) Bank of the all-weather-friendly country China had rolled over another US$ 600 million for Pakistan which helped further increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
“Our forex reserves are going up but I wish that these reserves should increase on the back of our own resources rather than the foreign debts,” he said while addressing a sports initiatives’ launching ceremony.
The prime minister launched multiple initiatives for promotion of sports culture and welfare of the sportspersons including the Rs 5 billion Pakistan Sports Endowment Fund.
He launched Pakistan Sports Endowment Fund with initial seed money of Rs 5 billion to provide financial assistance and other facilities to the emerging players and retired sportspersons of the country.
The prime minister also performed soft launch of the first dedicated Sports University in the country to produce critical pool required for sports events such as planners, managers, technical staff, nutritionists, physiotherapists and others.
Similarly, PM Shehbaz launched the Prime Minister Youth Sports Initiative to develop sports across the country and to provide world class sports facilities to the youth.
He also launched the Elite Sportspersons Development Programme and E-Sports development programme.
Addressing on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan’s highly talented sportspersons deserve appreciation from the the nation as despite limited resources, they promote the positive image of the country across the world.
He said out of Rs 5 billion allocated for the Pakistan Sports Endowment Fund, a direct investment of Rs 2.5 billion would be made to meet various expenses of the players including tickets, logistics, hotel and other expenses.
He, however said this amount needed to be increased as it was not sufficient to meet the full requirements of the sportspersons.
The prime minister said Pakistan’s youth was not less talented than the world as if they were fully capable of competing the world.
He said if they were given opportunities, they could lead the world in the area of sports.
On the occasion, he also presented a Rs 5 million cheque to the medal-winning Special Olympics Team of Pakistan.
Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination Ehsan ur Rehman Mazari said the government took structural changes in the country’s sports to meet the emerging needs of games.
He said during the previous government’s four years, sports were totally ignored but the current government, despite financial constraints took special measures to promote the sports culture.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Shaza Fatima Khawaja said on special directives of the prime minister, several sports departments that were closed by the previous government had been restored due to which some 40,000 sportspersons who lost their jobs, had also been restored.
She said out of Rs 5 billion fixed for the Pakistan Sports Endowment Fund, Rs 1 billion would be spent for the establishment of the first dedicated Sports University in the country.
She said during previous one year, talent hunt programme was launched for hockey, volley ball and football in all provinces including AJ&K, and Gilgit Baltistan to provide platform to the youth to show their talent.