ICCI lauds govt’s relief package for SMEs, farmers

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ICCI president suggests government should consider waiving off all non-performing loans of businessmen and farmers in flood-hit areas

Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has welcomed the launch of concessional loans scheme of Rs10 billion by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) at eight percent markup rate for the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and farmers of the flood-affected areas. The schem will remain valid up to December 31.

In a statement issued on Saturday, ICCI called upon the government to consider further reducing the markup to five percent as it would help businessmen and farmers to revive business and agriculture activities in the flood hit areas.

ICCI President Muzzamil Hussain Sabri said, “The recent floods in the country have badly damaged a large number of SMEs and microbusinesses in 45 districts along with standing crops on an area of around 2.4 million acres. It is the need of the hour that the government announces a relief package to enable the affected entrepreneurs and farmers to stand on their feet.”

He said that the relief package has also provided an opportunity to existing borrowers to reschedule and restructure their non-performing loans but stressed that the government should seriously consider waiving off all non-performing loans of businessmen and farmers in the flood-hit areas as after suffering huge losses in flood, they are hard-pressed for debt repayment.

He said that majority of Pakistan’s population lives in rural areas where the SMEs are playing a vital role in the economic development of Pakistan as they contribute 30 percent to Gross Domestic Project (GDP) growth, 25 percent to exports and employ 78 percent of the non-agricultural labor force. Therefore, he emphasised that the government should ensure best possible facilities for SMEs in terms of business environment, finance, infrastructure, regular supply of raw material and energy etc.

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