"The current government is determined to serve the underprivileged communities of Pakistan and pull them out of poverty”, this was stated by the Honourable Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety during a ceremony held in Quetta to present cheques to the beneficiaries of the Government of Pakistan’s flagship Interest Free Loan Programme being implemented by the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF).
Also present at the occasion were provincial secretaries, academia, and civil society. Lauding efforts of PPAF, Ms. Shazia Marri said, “It is heartening to see the way PPAF has been supporting the government of Pakistan’s Interest Free Loan Programme and transforming the lives of the poor communities by enabling them to earn sustainable livelihoods. I’d like to congratulate PPAF for reaching out to the poor households for providing so far, 2.3 million interest free loans with 53% of the borrowers being women. The initiative also offers support to the beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme which is the largest social safety net programme of Pakistan.
During the ceremony cheques were distributed amongst beneficiaries from district Awaran, Sherani and Quetta who will be using the interest free loan to set up new profitable microenterprises or expand their current business for better financial outputs. Besides, wheelchairs were also distributed among persons with disabilities to provide them with increased mobility and enabling them to engage in income generating activities thus minimizing their dependence on their families.
Another highlight of the event was the distribution of certificates to the SME owners under the Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) project funded by European Union and implemented jointly by ITC (International Trade Centre), PPAF and FAO in Sindh & Balochistan.
Addressing the gathering, Chief Operating Officer, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Mr. Nadir Gul Barech said, “Over the last two decades Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund is working to uplift the poorest communities in Pakistan. With our presence in more than 140 districts across Pakistan, including 30 districts in Balochistan, our greatest achievements include providing livelihood opportunities to the poorest of the poor to set them on the course of socio-economic prosperity for poverty graduation in Pakistan.
The success of Interest Free Loan (IFL) programme is an excellent example of our partnership with the Government of Pakistan, and I’m especially grateful to the honourable Ms Shazia Marri for her commitment towards the welfare of the poor, especially women and those differently-abled. I believe that with this continued collaboration with the GoP and support of our on-ground partners organisations, we can fulfil our mission of restoring hope, securing the future and ending poverty”
Speaking on the occasion Chairperson PPAF, Ms Roshan Khursheed Bharucha reiterated the need to strengthen the partnership between PPAF and the Government of Pakistan to further expand the scope of the social safety net programmes to provide relief to the poor.
PPAF is implementing the Interest Free Loan Programme across 110 districts of Pakistan with the help of its 26 partner organizations. Under the programme, interest free loans are furnished through more than 700 loan centers that have been set up across the target districts to reach out to the people in need of interest free loans on easy installments. The range of these interest free loans is PKR 20,000 – PKR 75,000 per borrower. The initiative is helping the underserved population of Pakistan to set up small enterprises and/or expand their existing small business to enhance their incomes and earn decent livelihoods.
PPAF’s mission is to transform the lives of the poor to create a more equitable and prosperous Pakistan. PPAF is supporting communities to access improved infrastructure, energy, health, education, livelihoods, finance, and develop resilience to disasters. It serves the poorest and most marginalized rural households and communities across the country providing them with an array of financial and non-financial services. PPAF aims to ensure that its core values of social inclusion, participation, accountability, transparency, and stewardship are built into all processes and programmes.