Micro financing a real game-changer for youth
Almost 60% of total population is still living in rural areas and majority of this population is from lower middle class and depending upon public and private service sectors, small private businesses and agriculture. And rest of the population is in urban areas and also falls in lower middle class. A rapid rise in population has also increased ratio of youth population.
Although agriculture is one of the main sectors in economy which contributes approximately 21.4 percent to GDP, employs majority of rural population and directly or indirectly contributes in the growth of other sectors of the economy. Pakistan is also supplying and exporting raw material to agro-based industry notably cotton textile industry which is the largest subsector of manufacturing sector.
With sixty percent rural population our economy is depending upon agriculture but being an agricultural country still using old methods and techniques for cultivation and agriculture with low productivity which is deepening the gap between demand and supply for agri-products. Demand is increasing day by day due to increase in population and some other reasons like smuggling and black marketing. This is main reason that our youth in rural areas is still living on or below poverty line.
Similarly, in urban population, majority is linked with public and private services, small and medium businesses like shops, restaurants, and manufacturing. This majority is also from lower middle class and hardly running their daily life expenses and even it is very hard for them to buy basic necessities of their lives.
Due to lack of education and relevant technical skills, majority of our lower middle class is unable to get maximum productivity and utilization of their available resources which is causing loss of business and resources in their capacity.
Our education system is currently not providing genuine qualified graduates, that is why only few students can succeed in securing good jobs in public and private sectors. On other hand, our technical institutes are also not producing advance skilled youth and our youth is also not taking any interest in technical education. These are few reasons that our youth is unable to participate in the real development and economic growth.
Urban areas have limited jobs and business opportunities which are being availed by youth. However, in rural and small cities, youth have also very limited opportunities to learn and grow for jobs and businesses in their cities. Few of them move to large cities which is also one of main reasons for increasing urbanization.
Majority of our youth is unable to use advance technology, digital tools, advance marketing, cost effective techniques in their businesses
Federal government is focusing youth and taking several measures to enable them to play an effective role at personal and national level. Unfortunately, due to above mentioned reasons, our youth is unable to take effective part in economic growth. Majority of our youth is unable to use advance technology, digital tools, advance marketing, cost effective techniques in their businesses.
Large scale businesses had access to all available financing and modern tools so were easily competing domestic and international market by utilizing financing facilities provided by public and private sectors. However, small scale business community from lower middle class could not even access and avail financing from public and private sectors. Federal Government launched micro financing program to help and enable the lower middle class youth and business community by providing them different type of small scale financing schemes. Micro financing at government level is a very good and effective initiative. This program can play a vital role if and only if we can finance real deserving and serious youth who can avail this opportunity sensibly and accurately with commitment and dedication.
For a successful implementation of this program, government should categorize beneficiaries into rural and urban areas. Both areas have different requirements with different growth opportunities. Priority should be given to rural areas as majority of youth is still in rural and small cities which was being neglected in past.
Youth from these areas should also avail this micro financing opportunity and should come forward with solid business proposals to get benefit from this program. Running small businesses can get more benefits from micro financing and it will be more effective for them. On other hand, for new and raw handed beneficiaries there should be some capacity building and counselling sessions so that youth can positively and effectively avail micro financing.
Before this program, there were lot of micro financing programs launched by public and private organizations which could not bring any positive change to the beneficiaries due to lack of any proper sustainability planning. Heavy paper-work and documentations were involved and at the end only collection and recovery departments played cat and mouse to get back principal and interest amounts. So for newly launched program, we should also focus on the sustainability of any business to be financed under this program.
Capacity building of beneficiaries in large batches will also be very important before releasing finance to them. There are only selected businesses in market which are being repeated by small scale business community. So we should allocate some funds for the capacity building of these beneficiaries. Use of branding, digital marketing, e-commerce, import-export procedures, documentations, taxation and sustainability of any business should be course contents for capacity building modules.
Strict monitoring and evaluation of beneficiaries can ensure the real utilization and productivity from new micro financing program. Minimum paper work can also encourage real deserving youth to avail funds for new and running businesses. For this purpose user friendly Mobile App can also help a lot to users. Mobile App can also reduce heavy paperwork. This program is going to be a great game changer and it is no doubt a great opportunity for youth.Source: https://dailytimes.com.pk/472256/micro-financing-a-real-game-changer-for-youth/
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.