LAHORE-Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) distributed matching grants worth Rs42.31 million ranging from Rs0.5 to Rs30 million among 42 SMEs of Balochistan to invigorate their existing agri businesses in recently arranged ceremonies at Khuzdar, Turbat and Quetta.
It is noteworthy that PPAF has allocated Rs652 million matching grants under Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) Project for the promotion of small and medium enterprises across 22 districts of Balochistan and Sindh provinces. Overall, 291 SMEs across 22 districts in Balochistan &Sindh provinces have been provided matching grants worth Rs459 million.
“Out of this allocation, PPAF has designated an amount of Rs316 million for SMEs in Balochistan. With 54 per cent women entrepreneurs, so far 157 SMEs in Balochistan have seized the opportunity to accelerate their businesses,” said Nadir Gul Barech, acting Chief Executive Officer PPAF. He thanked European Union and International Trade Centre (ITC) for their much-needed financing support for the project.
The size of the grants is based on the business plan shared by the SMEs and robust evaluation of the capacities of SMEs conducted under the project earlier.
Amjad Rasheed, Balochistan’s Caretaker Minister for Finance & Revenue, said that this project must be scaled up across the province. He said that the government would support public-private partnership to promote SMEs, and boost national economy. As many as 714 SMEs including 398 in Balochistan with 26 per cent women have been imparted training in financial literacy and robust business planning under GRASP’s capacity building initiative. Jahanzeb Khan, GRASP’s Provincial Lead for Balochistan, said the matching grants recipients had set up stalls to showcase their value chain products at the events organized to distributed cheques among them. He said that the on ground value chains had been a very successful business model. GRASP, a European Union funded project for poverty reduction and sustainable inclusive economic growth in rural Pakistan, is being implemented by ITC in partnership with FAO & PPAF.