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Business Recorder

Published Date: Dec 11, 2013

PPP raises objections to PM’s Youth Loan Business Scheme

Top leadership of Pakistan People’s Party has labelled prime minister’s
Youth Loan Business Scheme a parallel system to Benazir Income Support
Programme’s Waseela-e-Haq project and plan to raise objections on the
scheme in the parliament.

The BISP’s Waseela-e-Haq scheme is for the beneficiary families
currently receiving cash transfers under the programme. Micro-financing
of up to Rs 300,000 is provided to the families that are selected
randomly amongst the beneficiaries.

The BISP has been running the micro-financing scheme with the
collaboration of Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF). It is the
primary responsibility of the PPAF to provide skills to families
selected through balloting and help them establish their desired
businesses.

Small loans up to Rs 300,000 are provided to the beneficiary
families in two instalments and proper follow-ups ensure that the
beneficiary has invested the amount in the business for which he/she
availed.

The PPP leadership is of the view that there was no need to
initiate a separate loan scheme while the BISP was already doing the
same thing in a more efficient and professional way.

The BISP micro-financing is only for women beneficiaries but the
recipient can hand over the small loan to a nominee like her son or
husband.

On the other hand, the prime minister’s loan scheme is for
educated and skilled youth – with 50 percent for males and 50 percent
females. The prime minister launched the Youth Business Loan initiative
on Saturday with Rs100 billion allocated for the current financial year.

The scheme envisages providing Rs 100,000 to Rs 2,000,000 to
100,000 unemployed youth in the first phase. It is not yet clear how
much of the allocated amount would be dedicated for micro finance and
how much for small loans of up to 20 lakhs.

The prime minister’s loan scheme may overlap the BISP’s
Waseela-e-Haq programme as some of its beneficiaries might also avail
loans from the prime minister’s scheme. At the moment, the BISP is
providing financial aid to around 5.1 million poor families across the
country.

Chairman BISP former Senator Enver Baig, however, said the BISP
is a separate programme and would continue its functions smoothly as it
has its own separate funds to run different projects across the country.

"The BISP provides financial aid to only those families who are
identified in the poverty survey while the prime minister’s loan scheme
is open for general public," Baig said, adding that beneficiaries of the
BISP could also avail the loan scheme if they fulfil the required
criterion.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar told Business Recorder on
Tuesday that the prime minister’s loan scheme was flawed as the
government has neither disclosed source of funds for the scheme nor a
mechanism to get back the loan from the beneficiaries.

"There was no need to launch a parallel scheme to the BISP as
the latter was already providing monetary benefits to poor people across
the country," he said.

Babar said that the top leadership of his party has discussed
the loan scheme at length and decided to raise valid objections on the
scheme. "Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed
Shah will raise the issue on floor of the house and demand the
government to brief parliamentarians on the loan scheme," he added.

Dr Abid Sulehri, Executive Director Sustainable Development
Policy Institute, said the scheme is not bad but the real thing is to
ensure transparency to get the desired results.

He said that if the loans are given to people in a transparent
manner and then they are helped to initiate their businesses, this would
have positive impact on overall economy of the country.

"The basic purpose of the loan scheme should be making people
entrepreneurs so that they could generate their own resources and
ultimately help the economy of the country," he added.

Sulehri said that if the loans are utilised properly by the
educated and skilled youth, this would also help bring down the
spiralling unemployment in the next couple of years.