Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin has stated that the incumbent government has laid the foundation of a welfare state to ensure the poor do not suffer anymore and have opportunities to earn a respectable livelihood.
The Minister was addressing a ceremony held to mark the start of the disbursement of interest-free loans under the Kamyab Pakistan Program (KPP). “The foundation of the welfare state has been laid. This is a big day, big day for the poor,” he remarked.
He said that initially four million households would be provided financial assistance under the program, and it would gradually be extended to six million and then seven million households.
He asserted that the program would bring prosperity across the country. He said when the low-income segment of society would become prosperous, it could be said that real Pakistan or Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam was established.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan believed in Riyasat-e-Madina, so he had equal focus on a growing economy and on enhancing the income of the upper and middle classes and the welfare of the poor.
He said the Prime Minister wanted the poor to get opportunities under this program and earn respectable livelihoods for themselves without hurting their self-respect. The major banks, he said, would give wholesale loans to small and microfinance banks that would provide loans to the deserving people on a retail basis.
He maintained that under the program, farmers would be provided interest-free loans up to Rs. 150,000 for one crop and Rs. 300,000 for two crops and Rs. 200,000 for tractors. Rs. 500,000 loans would be provided to households for setting up a business and Rs. 2-2.5 million for building a house. In addition, Sehat cards were provided to ensure health coverage for the poor.
He said this was a complete package to target the poor of the country, adding that loans were being provided purely on a merit basis with complete transparency. He also appreciated all the stakeholders including small and large banks for making this program successful.
The Minister said even the World Bank (WB) was suspicious of how this could happen, but WB conveyed that it would take guidance from Pakistan to replicate the program in other countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance (AIM) Dr. Amjad Saqib said there was no such scheme in Asia that provides an interest-free loan to low-income people.
He said AIM, as per the vision of PM Imran Khan, started loan disbursements in three categories of KPP, including Kamyab Pakistan Low-Cost Housing, Kamyab Pakistan Enterprise Loan, and Kamyab Pakistan Kissan Loan. He said Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance had disbursed 2600 loans amounting to Rs. 400 million so far.
During the ceremony, the Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance disbursed 415 loans worth Rs. 60 million, whereas under the program 600 loans worth Rs. 90 million were distributed across Pakistan on December 30, 2021.
Senator Faisal Javed Khan and HBL Islamic Head Afaq Ahmed Khan were also present during the ceremony.