SBP launches refinance/credit guarantee scheme for women entrepreneurs


QUETTA Aug 26 (TNS): State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa  has launched a refinance and credit guarantee scheme for women entrepreneurs in underserved areas.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, he reiterated his commitment to sustainable and inclusive economic growth across Pakistan. “Women are central to this growth paradigm,” he said.

The speaker of the Baluchistan Assembly, Raheela Hamid Khan Durrani, was chief guest at the ceremony, which was attended by the heads of government and private banks.

Mr Bajwa said it is for the first time in history that a scheme with zero per cent refinance rate and 60pc risk coverage for small businesses run by women entrepreneurs has been rolled out.

“This scheme is an affirmative action by the SBP to encourage the flow of funds to small enterprises run by women in underserved areas. It earmarks at least 20pc of funds for Baluchistan,” said the governor.

Under the scheme, women entrepreneurs can set up new businesses or expand existing ones in underserved areas. The SBP will provide the refinance facility to banks at zero per cent, with the maximum financing amount of Rs 1.5 million.

The maximum financing period is five years with a grace period of up to six months. The end-user rate is 5pc, which is locked in for the financing period, while 60pc risk coverage is available against the outstanding principal.

The governor said banks should ensure that the scheme becomes successful. He also told banks that the SBP will monitor the progress of the scheme closely.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Durrani lauded the SBP for launching the scheme. She said the financing scheme will help poor women overcome their financial problems and bring prosperity to the entire province.

Earlier, Mr Bajwa called on Baluchistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai. He informed Mr Achakzai about the SBP’s special focus on agriculture, small and medium enterprises and low-cost housing in underserved areas of Pakistan, particularly Baluchistan.

The SBP governor also met members of the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Its office-holders informed the SBP governor about their issues. The governor assured them of his help in resolving their genuine grievances.