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    PM loan scheme brings jubilation among KP youth

    PM loan scheme brings jubilation among KP youth

    PESHAWAR (APP): The Prime Minister’s loan scheme, a landmark initiative to provide soft loans of Rs30 billion to Pakistani youth for business and agricultural purposes, has brought widespread jubilation among the youth of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Like others, Wisal Khan 28, who was running an electronics workshop at his hometown Pabbi, Nowshera district for the last eight years, was overjoyed on launching of the historic loans programme and providing a golden opportunity to unemployed youth of all provinces to establish their own business and contribute in the country’s development process.

    With tester and pliers in hands repairing ACs at his two-room workshop with scattered electricity appliances around him, Wisal Khan said, “I was making efforts to open a mega workshop of the electronics at Peshawar for the last six years to increase monthly income to feed my eight-member family but could not do so due to financial constraints.”

    The program is a great opportunity for youth, who constitutes 64 per cent of the country’s population, he said adding that like other unemployed youth he would apply online for Rs500,000 loan which was being given on zero markup rate. “It will fulfill my dream of setting up a modern workshop in Peshawar to bolster my income,” said the overjoyed Wisal.

    The Prime Minister’s loan scheme finances interest-free loan up to Rs500,000 in the first category followed by above Rs500,000 to Rs1.5 million loans with five percent mark-up and above Rs1.5 million to Rs7.5 million on seven percent mark-up through 15 banks would be provided on easy installment plans.

    The programme would facilitate all segments of the society including male, female, special persons and transgender aging from 21 to 45 years with 25 per cent quota specified for women. The youth, who attained the age of 18 could also avail the facility to start his business in IT and E-Commerce related sectors, however, the government servants and non-natives were not eligible.

    Ikhtair Wali Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-N spokesman told APP on Sunday that financial empowerment of youth was the cornerstone of the government policy that would ensure the disbursement of a total Rs30 billion among over 40,000 youth including from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by June this year on merit.

    The PMLN KP spokesman said half of these loans would be provided for youth interested in agriculture while the remaining half to be given for business loans for small and medium enterprises.

    In a short span of one month, he said Rs800 million were provided to 3,300 beneficiaries under the landmark initiative, which spoke volume of the present government’s strong commitment towards financial empowerment of youth.

    “The present loan scheme was the continuation of the historic PM’s youth loan scheme launched in 2013 by the then Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif under which billions of rupees were given to eligible youth besides vehicles to a large number of unemployed youngsters.”

    To promote education and research works, he said the federal government would provide 100,000 laptops to top achiever youth on merit, adding that the Nawaz Sharif government’s laptop scheme had greatly helped students to continue their studies during COVID-19 pandemic.

    “The last year devastated flood had badly affected my agriculture land and I would definitely apply for the PM’s loan scheme for land management and making it cultivable for wheat, rice and maize crops,” said Malayar Khan, a 25-year progressive farmer of village Mohib Banda Nowshera while talking to APP.

    He said the scheme was enabling hundreds of thousands of unemployed youngsters to setup their own business and contribute to the country’s economic and development process. “Tomorrow, I will submit my online application for Rs one million loan, while my other family members and jobless friends were also considering to apply Rs five lakh loan due to zero markup.”

    Ikhtiar Wali said scores of initiatives were launched for promotion of technical education and empowerment of youth including provision of over 25, 000 paid Internships for young engineer, adding the young graduates of engineering universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would largely benefit from the Prime Minister’s internship program.

    He continued that technical education and vocational training to 50,000 youth would be provided and about Rs20 billion scholarships were already awarded to talented and deserving students.

    Besides loan programs, he said that youth transformation programs for 20 under-developed districts Pakistan including KP, innovation fund and 75 national top talent scholarships programme besides free laptop schemes would help encourage self-employment among youth instead of seeking public sector jobs.

    He said the size of the federal development budget was Rs1 trillion during the Nawaz Sharif Government in 2018 and was reduced to Rs550 billion by the PTI government that badly affected youth and sports projects in the country including KP.

    He deplored that despite claiming itself a representative of youth, PTI’s government failed to launch any significant project for welfare and financial empowerment of youth during ten-year long rule in KP.

    Ikhtiar further said the former PTI government in KP could also not delivered in sports sector and failed to complete reconstruction works on Arbab Niaz cricket stadium in Peshawar while construction work on Kalam Sports Stadium on 341 kanals could not be started in Swat despite the home district of former Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

    As result of delayed work, the construction cost of Arbab Niaz stadium was swelled to over Rs2 billion and was unlikely to complete on the set deadline i.e. June 2023, he claimed.

    According to SMEDA,  financial support and technical training in different SMEs business was being provided to the youth under the Prime  Minister’s youth development program.

     As many as Rs500,000 grant was being provided for early start up business to youth for a period of four months to one year with 80 percent share by SMEDA and 20pc by the beneficiary and additional Rs5lakh grant for one to five years for strengthening of their business.

    Likewise, 350 business plans were prepared with facilities of free training and expertises to SMEs for the Prime Minister’s youth development programme.

     Under the Economic Revitalization Project (ERP) worth USD 20 billion for KP, the youths were provided financial support in purchase of machinery, up-gradation of business, training to staff, and registration of business plans and trademarks etc.

    The honey processing and packaging common facility centre (CFC), dyeing, washing and processing units for silk clusters and women business development centres in Mingora Swat were established besides setting up of spinning CFC at Islampur Swat to promote infant industries in Malakand division.

    “Work on five projects including two for merged areas worth Rs4087 million were underway for empowerment of youth,” Engr Arifullah Shah, senior planning officer, Sports and Youth Affairs Department KP told APP. He said that Rs2301 million were allocated for these projects in budget 2022-23.

    Arif said work on two projects for merged areas including establishment of sports complexes and economic uplift of youth costing Rs872 million was in progress while three projects namely youth development package, construction and rehabilitation of youth properties and financial empowerment of youth and women for settled districts of KP would help harness youth potential for national development.

    He said land for Kalam cricket ground in Swat has been purchased with an estimated cost of Rs2.1 billion while 30 percent remaining work on Arbab Niaz Cricket stadium would hopefully be completed this year subject to availability of funds.

    Out of 1000 playground project of the former PTI government, he said about 220 were completed while 780 were yet to be ready in the province due to lack of funds. 

    He said sports complexes for Chitral, Lakki Marwat, Karak and Dir Timergara were approved besides approval of sports gymnasiums in Haripur, Bannu with allocation of Rs707.608 million to engage youth in healthy activities.

    The experts said that Prime Minister’s loan scheme would largely benefit the youth of merged tribal districts and technical manpower of Khyber  Pakhtunkhwa to establish their business and provides jobs to other in their respective fields.

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