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    150 vending licenses given under Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative

    150 vending licenses given under Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative

    Chitral Times Report

    ISLAMABAD: At the Sir Syed Memorial Hall in Islamabad, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) jointly organized the Ehsaas Rehribaan Conference. The event was themed, “Transformation of Street Vending in Islamabad and Lessons for Urban Pakistan”. Senator, Dr Sania Nishtar, SAPM was the chief guest at the conference. She distributed vending licenses, issued by the municipality, among the street vendors of Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative.

    Around 150 street vendors, who are given vending licenses and new ecofriendly carts under Ehsaas Rehribaan participated in the conference. Purpose of the conference was to highlight the transformation of street vending in Islamabad under the ongoing Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative and its lessons for replication in Urban Pakistan. High number of officials and representatives from municipality, government agencies, academia, microfinance banks and civil society also attended. In her address, Dr Nishtar appreciated the first of its kind collaboration between government, academia and private sector in structuring a sustainable intervention for providing an enabling environment to street vendors. “This initiative has been taken under the direct policy directives of the Prime Minister”, said Dr. Sania.

    Further, she recognized the fact that this initiative creates opportunities for livelihoods and contributes to climate change efforts through solar system-fitted carts. She expressed her hope that the programme will continue with the pace to cover other areas of the city and later replicated in other cities of the country Zia Banday, Focal Person of Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative, presented the background and progress of the programme. He informed that by covering 177-street vendors in just 4 markets, the ongoing programme has already generated Rs.3.5 million in license fee, Rs.17.5 million in capital investment and Rs.11.5 million in cart loans. Local street economy of estimated 20,000 vendors has the potential of generating Rs. 480 million in government revenues and annual turnover in the range of Rs.36-43 billion. Programme has the strong transparency element attached, which is based upon the survey of only existing street vendors. U Microfinance Bank and Apna Microfinance Bank are the pivot for the programme with zero default rate in cart loans till date.

    Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, Vice Chancellor, PIDE, elaborated on the potential of street economy for furthering job generation and economic growth. He mentioned that street vendors are integral part of the society and economy, who needs to be embraced by the government. Hamza Shafqat, Administrator MCI and Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, assured the street vendors that local government is gearing itself to support the expansion of the initiative for its expeditious coverage of street vendors. He recognized the fact about the resistance of traders’ associations to the programme implementation, where government is working to overcome it.

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