ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday launched a youth business loan scheme to help young entrepreneurs initiate their own businesses.
Speaking at a ceremony to launch the programme, the prime minister said his government was committed to continuing the privatisation programme as it was the “only way to turn around organisations that are running in heavy losses”.
“It is not the job of government to run factories or hotels rather it wants to eradicate terrorism, improve law and order situation and end sectarianism.”
Nawaz blamed the nationalisation programme, saying it had played a havoc with the national economy. Had this step not been taken, Pakistan would have been among leadin developed countries of the world, he added.
He said during his first term in power, he had tried to reverse the negative trend by privatising banks and state-run industrial units. It was because of these steps that the banks today are doing good business and making huge profits, he said.
Nawaz said that earlier loans were available to the rich only but now his government had initiated the “revolutionary scheme” to provide loans to the youth. He regretted that no previous government had bothered to look after 110 million youth of the country and it was only the PML-N-led government that took the decision to bring them into national mainstream.
The prime minister said that small and medium enterprises played a key role in national economies of Korea and Malaysia, and hoped he would be able to replicate the same in Pakistan by launching the scheme.
Nawaz said the country direly needed mature and strong leadership to help tackle the serious challenges being faced by it. He said he had high hopes from the youth and with their help, he would bring an economic revolution.
He asked people to give the government some time to show results. He said the government is formulating new laws to address the issue of law and order and a security operation is also underway in Karachi.
Nawaz said an economic corridor would be established with the help of China.
The prime minister said loans would be extended to the youth purely on merit through ballot and there would be no discretionary quota for anyone.
The prime minister said that duration of electricity load shedding has “come down” but the problem would remain there for the next three to four years and people would have to demonstrate patience for positive results.
He said the issue would remain there until power shortage is overcome and the gap between cost of generation and price of the electricity is bridged.
The loan scheme is designed to provide subsidised financing at eight percent mark-up per
annum for 100,000 beneficiaries through National Bank of Pakistan and First Women Bank Limited.
The total mark up rate would be 15 percent but the government would pay the remaining seven percent on behalf of applicants. Those falling in the age group of 21 and 45 years are eligible to apply for loans from Rs 100,000 to Rs 2 million.
Small business loans with tenure of up to seven years plus one year grace period and a debt-equity ratio of 90:10 would be disbursed across the country, including four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
SMEDA has been tasked with an advisory role in the implementation of this scheme. Agencies