The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in collaboration with the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, conducted a SME Mela on January 24 and 25. (MCCI). Officials and members of chambers of commerce, organisations of merchants and women entrepreneurs, and SMEs clusters from Multan, Khanewal, Vehari, and D.G. Khan, as well as officials from SBP BSC and banks, attended the event.
Muhammad Usman Dar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, addressed at the Mela’s launch on the Prime Minister’s Program for Young Entrepreneurs, which he stated had achieved significant progress. He praised his personal commitment to the cause in particular.
Speaking during the Mela’s opening session, Muhammad Usman Dar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs, emphasised the development of the Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan Program, which is specifically created for young entrepreneurs in the nation. He praised Governor SBP Dr. Reza Baqir’s personal commitment, and praised efforts to expand access to credit at the grassroots level, including small businesses, women entrepreneurs, and people who want to own a home, through new credit schemes like SME Asaan Finance (SAAF), Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG), and SBP Refinance Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs.
The event was inaugurated by Muhammad Ashraf Khan, Managing Director of SBP Banking Services Corporation (SBP BSC), who stated in his keynote address that SBP is putting forth all efforts to improve collaboration with industry and chambers across the country in order to raise awareness of its credit schemes and increase their utilisation. In addition, SBP BSC, in collaboration with Industry Chambers and Women Associations, is developing a new system to identify eligible enterprises and their employees for loan applications under SMEs and housing concessional credit programmes.
Highlighting the goals of the SME Mela, he noted that it will bring banks and the business community together under one roof, allowing micro, small, and medium businesses to obtain advice from SBP and commercial bank officials regarding concessionary refinancing plans. He urged SMEs with great commercial viability but no collateral to apply under SBP’s SAAF.
Khawaja Muhammad Hussain, President of the Multan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commended both the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister and the MD of SBP BSC for their efforts in raising awareness of the GoP and SBP concessional financing programmes within Multan’s business community.
Participants were informed on the major characteristics of the SAAF and the PM Kamyab Jawan Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme on the first day of the Mela. Eight member banks offer collateral-free borrowing of up to Rs10 million under the SAAF Scheme. Concessional loans of up to Rs25 million are also available through the Kamyab Jawan Scheme, with end-user rates ranging from 3 to 5 percent. On the second day of the Mela, attendees learned about the SBP’s renewable energy financing plan and the Mera Pakistan Mera Ghar (MPMG) Scheme.
Over 600 enterprises and firms attended the Mela and stopped by the banks’ booths to learn more about SBP’s financing plans and bank lending products. Specifically, 264 people registered at various bank kiosks to exhibit interest in concessionary schemes, including 105 SMEs and women entrepreneurs who applied for funding on the spot through several SBP programmes and the Kamyab External Relations Department Jawan Program. During the ceremony, MD SBP BSC delivered checks to HBL, Bank of Punjab, and Bank Alfalah borrowers who are part of SBP’s SAAF.