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SBP launches refinance & credit scheme for women in Balochistan

SBP launches refinance & credit scheme for women in Balochistan

QUETTA: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa on Friday launched ‘Refinance and Credit Guarantee Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs in Underserved Areas’ in Quetta.

The SBP governor said earmarking 20 percent funds in the scheme for Balochistan’s women primarily intended to provide them opportunities for establishing new business and extending the old ones in far-flung areas of the province.

Balochistan Assembly Speaker Rahila Hamid Khan Durrani, SBP Deputy Governor Jameel Ahmed Khan, Zubair Tufail and high officials of government and private banks were also present on the occasion. It is pertinent to mention here that this scheme is for women entrepreneurs in underserved areas of the country for setting up of new businesses or expansion of existing ones. The central bank will provide refinance to banks at zero percent. Maximum financing amount is Rs1.5 million. And maximum financing period is 5 years with grace period of up to 6 months.  End user rate is 5 percent which is locked in for financing period. 60 percent risk coverage is available against outstanding principal.

Bajwa said that for the first time a scheme with zero percent refinance rate and 60 percent risk coverage for small businesses manipulated by female entrepreneurs had been started. “We are doing efforts to evolve such mechanism where difference between rich and poor could be abated,” he said.

The SBP governor restated his commitment towards sustainable and inclusive economic growth across Pakistan. The governor went onto say that SMES are playing a role of backbone in economy, but unluckily its ratio was touching 8 percent while this remained less than 1 percent in Balochistan; whereas, the part of women was next to nothing.

Bajwa directed bank heads to make more efforts for staggering the SMEs to 15-16 percent and for which all stakeholders would have to render key role. Recounting a reference from a survey conducted in 2015, he said, “Women hold 11 percent accounts in sum total bank accounts of Pakistan and they were now making strenuous efforts to enlarge women accounts up to 25 percent.”

He said that the scheme was an affirmative action by the SBP to encourage flow of funds to small enterprises run by women of underserved areas of Pakistan. The SBP governor also announced formation of a monitoring committee for dealing debts and other affairs and Balochistan Assembly Speaker Rahila Hamid Khan Durrani will be the chairperson of the said committee. He expressed his firm optimism that banks would make all out efforts in making the scheme a success. He also told the banks that SBP will monitor the progress of the scheme closely.

On the occasion, Rahila said that women in Balochistan were second to none in terms of talent. She appreciated the SBP initiative for women entrepreneurs of backward area and particularly of Balochistan. The speaker was hopeful that such attractive financing schemes would help poor women to overcome their financial problems and hence bring prosperity to the entire province.

Earlier, the SBP governor also called on Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan where strings of matters came under discussion. Bajwa briefed Achakzai of SBP’s special focus on agriculture, SMEs and low cost housing in all underserved areas of Pakistan particularly Balochistan. Achakzai hailed the SBP governor for his efforts in promoting access to finance for the underserved areas.