Islamabad: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry has welcomed the launch of concessional loans scheme of Rs.10 billion by the State Bank of Pakistan at 8 percent markup rate for the SMEs and farmers of flood affected areas, which will remain valid up to 31st December 2015 and called upon the government to consider further reducing markup to 5 percent that would help businessmen and farmers to revive business and agriculture activities in affected areas.
Muzzamil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the recent floodsin the country havebadly damaged large number of SMEs and microbusinesses in 45 districts along with standing crops on an area of around 2.4 million acres and it was the need of the hour that government should have announceda relief package to enable the affected entrepreneurs and farmers to stand on their feet.
He said though the relief package has also provided an opportunity to existing borrowers to reschedule and restructure their non-performing loans, but stressed that government should seriously consider waiving off all non-performing loans of businessmen and farmers in the flood-hit areas as after suffering huge losses in flood, they are hard pressed for debt repayment.
He said that majority of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas while the small to medium sized enterprises are playing a vital role in the economic development of Pakistan as they contribute 30 percent to GDP growth, 25 percent to exports and employ 78 percent of the non-agricultural labor force.
Therefore, he emphasized that government should ensure best possible facilities for SMEs in terms of business environment, finance, infrastructure, regular supply of raw material and energy etc.
Muzzamil Sabri was of the view that the development of SMEs, especially in rural areas would become a source of poverty reduction in Pakistan and government should give top priority to facilitate the better growth of these enterprisesin order to cope with the rising challenges of poverty and unemployment.
He said government should focus on providing better micro finance facilities in rural areas as availability of easy credit would go a long way in facilitating the fast growth of economic activities in rural Pakistan.
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