SCCI demands soft loans for entrepreneurs, startup businesses

Peshawar   -   Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Fuad Ishaq on Tuesday urged the management of the Bank of Khyber and commercial banks to issue soft loans for promotion of new entrepreneurship and startup business/industry instead of provision of the running financing facility.

He said revival of Development Financing Institutions (DFIs) and Industry Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP) in a true sense is vital for industrialisation and promotion of small and medium scale industry and business. He called for proper training and awareness about various loan schemes to new entrepreneurs and startups.

The SCCI chief asked the BoK and commercial banks to facilitate the business community under passion of service and friendly atmosphere. He also emphasised the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s constitutional rights on electricity and gas should be ensured.

In order to enhance export through railway, he suggested launching of cargo trains from Peshawar to Karachi and fully functional dry-ports along with restoration of railway system. For promotion of Pak-Afghan mutual trade, he stressed on enforcement of sustainable and long-lasting policies and allowing trade in Pakistani rupee with Afghanistan and permission of re-export of the finishing goods/products.

The SCCI chief said that if tariff/duties of 224 items of Pakistani products should be equalized to Afghanistan and Iran, then smuggling will be eliminated. He added that business community should be taken on board regarding closure of borders so that it will prevent huge financial losses and unhurt bilateral trade as well.

Fuad Ishaq was speaking to members during the visit of Irfan Saleem Awan, Chief Financial Officer/Acting Managing Director of the Bank of Khyber (BoK) along-with his team, to chamber house on Tuesday.

Besides, the SCCI offices-bearers Sanaullah, Ejaz Afridi, Ex president Zulfiqar Ali Khan, Zia-ul-Haq Sardardi, Imran Mohmand, Junail Altaf, members of the chamber’s executive committee, officials of the BoK, industrialists, traders and importers and exporters were present in the meeting.

The SCCI chief lauded the resilience and bravery of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa business community and common people, who remained steadfast against terrorism and continued their businesses and played a role in country’s peace, solidarity and economic development by rendering matchless sacrifices and fought against anti-state forces. He expressed grave concern over putting commercial banks of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into the red zone, stating that banks have surged up deposits but lending ratio is completely negligible in the province.

He said Pakistan is situated at an important location so its position will further be improved in the region and rest of the world by taking benefit from its locational advantage.

Furthermore, he said there is Silk route, or CPEC, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be made a hub of economic and trade activities through them. Half of the world population is in our reach, and our geo-political situation is very important, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is considered as a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asian States so we need to take benefit from it, Fuad stressed.

The SCCI chief said the US has imposed anti-dumping duty on China, which has created an opportunity of $100 billion for export, so he emphasized that Pakistan should take benefit from it and the Bank of Khyber should also play a frontline role in this regard. He urged the BoK to take initiative to remove the business community and clients’ grievances and complaints about various loans schemes. He mentioned during his meeting with the head of the US mission and other officials, they have also made emphasis on provision of soft loans to new entrepreneurs and startup businesses, which SCCI highly appreciated and endorsed.

The SCCI president said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is producing 6500 megawatt electricity in which Khyber Pakhtunkhwa consumes about 2700 megawatt is being utilized in summer and 1100 megawatt in winter season, rest of the produced electricity exported to the national grid.

Talking about hydel, nuclear and thermal power, Fuad Ishaq said all these resources expenditure is only Rs11 per unit but due to inefficiency of power distribution companies, thieves and growing line losses are Rs23 per unit was increased in it, calling for steps for its eradication at government level.

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