Netherlands to Provide Majority of SME funding | Pakistan Today

Netherlands to Provide Majority of SME funding

The Netherlands has generously offered to bear at least 60 percent of the cost of funding SME projects in Pakistan, which may cost up to of 1.5 million euros, at a time when resources are badly needed elsewhere.
The offer was renewed by Mr. Ahmad Dodou, Head of Economic Affairs of Embassy of the Netherlands and Paul Schoenmakers while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of commerce and Industry (LCCI). The event was well attended by members of the body
The officials informed the LCCI that the Private Sector Investment (PSI) program of the Dutch government, operating in Pakistan since 2005 with an annual budget of 70 million Euros, is intended to alleviate poverty and augmenting private investment.
They said that the funding is available under 40-60 arrangement, is subject to criteria determined by the Dutch government.
Any Pakistan company can apply for the funding for any new project or for the creation of value addition in existing Pakistani businesses. The latter is meant, in particular to improve the competitiveness of Pakistani products on the international market.
Under this program, one project focusing on international sportswear has already been completed; three projects in Chemical Industry and Dairy sector are underway and three others are under final evaluation.
The total funding of 1.5 million euros allows spending on capital (equipment, machinery), human resource development and project management. The evaluation criteria include the viability of partners, organizational capacity and financial strength. The projects could be in the form of business plan, operational plan or financial feasibility. Considerations on corporate social responsibility, knowledge transfer and other benefits are key components of evaluation criteria. In addition, the Holland has also offered match-making facility to stimulate private sector in Pakistan Speaking on the occasion.
The LCCI expressed its concern over the low volume of trade between the two countries. He said that the two-way trade volume could be further developed, if the concerned departments in both countries were keener on their job.
LCCI Senior Vice President called for a mechanism for the dissemination of all information pertinent to trade; a prerequisite to successful joint ventures. LCCI was ready to extend cooperation in any appropriate manner.
That Pakistan and Netherlands have always maintained coridal diplomatic and trade links is a great boon to the strengthening of ties. They said that Dutch assistance in terms of financial, technical, educational and advisory support to Pakistan has always been worthy of note and greatly appreciated. Within the EU, the Netherlands is one of Pakistan’s most important export destinations.
They said that analysis of trade figures between the two countries indicate that the total trade had contracted to $742 million from it level of $ 966 million in 2008-09. Moreover, Pakistan’s exports to Netherlands decreased from US$ 468 million in 2008-09 to US$ 389 million in 2009-10. On the other hand, they said, during these years, Netherlands’s exports to Pakistan had also fallen from US$ 498 million dollars to US$ 353 million.
LCCI members were of the view that cooperation was essential in ending this trend. Exports to Netherlands constitute only 2.6% of Pakistan’s total exports Pakistan’s main export products to the Netherlands are knitwear, articles of apparel, sugar & sugar confectionery, cotton, leather items, sport goods, pharmaceutical products and fruits and vegetables. Whereas Netherlands exports to Pakistan include cereals, electrical equipment, machinery, iron & steel and chemical products.



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