Pakistan launches loans for start-up businesses

Islamabad, Dec 7: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Saturday launched a loan programme for people wanting to start their own business.

The “Youth Business Loans” is designed to provide subsidised financing at eight percent per annum for 100,000 beneficiaries through the state-run National Bank of Pakistan and First Women Bank, Xinhua reported.

The total interest rate would be 15 percent but the government would pay the remaining seven percent on behalf of applicants.

Those in the age group of 21-45 years are eligible to apply for loans from Rs.100,000 to Rs.2 million.

At the launch ceremony, Sharif said he was fulfilling the commitments made during his election campaign.

“Youths in other countries are the backbone of their economies and there is no reason that youths who constitute 60 percent of our population should not take us to the zenith of progress and development,” he said.

He said the government has chalked out a strategy to privatise state entities.

It is not the job of the government to run factories, rather it should concentrate on improving law and order, weeding out terrorism, addressing sectarianism and improving the image of the country, Sharif said.

Maryam Nawaz, chairperson of the Youth Business Loans programme, said there were three conditions for applicants – they should be Pakistani citizens and hold valid computerised national identity cards and should have a guarantor.