Islamabad, November 17, 2014 (PPI-OT): “We are trying to integrate the programs relating to poverty reduction, rural support and all those projects falling under the scope of millennium development goals which are currently scattered at federal and provincial levels”, said the Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Prof. Ahsan Iqbal while addressing at the occasion of first regional conference of South Asia Micro-financing Network (SAMN)
He said, “We established Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) in 1997, which was a watershed in the microfinance movement in Pakistan. The PPAF was established as a not-for-profit private company after inspiring from the success of Prof. Yunus’s Micro financing Movement in Bangladesh.
The PPAF was established to help the poor by enabling them to gain access to resources for their productive self-employment, to encourage them to undertake activities of income generation and poverty alleviation, and for enhancing their quality of life.
I am very glad that within a short period, PPAF has enabled small microfinance institutions to have access to supply of relatively cheap finances to the millions of the poor. It is these institutions that formed the Pakistan Micro-Financing Network (PMN) that is hosting this event in Islamabad today”.
He said, “Vision 2025 encapsulates Social Protection Policy which is aimed at reducing poverty, creating employment opportunities and strengthening marginalized people’s capabilities to mitigate their risk and vulnerability.
To meet these objectives, government’s income support program has expanded in size and scope. The Benazir Support Program has already extended services by providing additional financial support for each child in school. Under the Prime Minister’s youth program the government is providing young people training and access to finance so that they can start business”.
He added, “It is the commitment of PML (N), reflected both in our economic agenda as well as in Vision 2025, to provide better living standards to every Pakistani irrespective of caste, creed, area and religion by mobilizing indigenous resources.
The thrust of the macroeconomic framework will focus on mobilizing domestic resources, introducing tax reforms, promoting investments and increase annual exports from US$ 25 billion to US$ 150 billion by 2025. Government alone cannot address local issues; the civil society, academia and private sector have to co-operate equally with the government for prosperous and better society.
The federal government will be playing a role of facilitator and ministry of planning will be giving a technical support to provinces in formulating a social protection policy to eradicate poverty, disease and malnutrition”.
The Federal Minister acknowledged the importance of SAMN and said that the regional conference will explore opportunities as to how access to finance can play role in unlocking the economic potential of the region by contributing to job creation, especially by promoting entrepreneurship among youth and women.
He said that the government of Pakistan is committed to both regional cooperation and financial inclusion with the aim of addressing issue of poverty and achieving growth. SAMN is a regional association representing the effort to improve access to finance across six countries— Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Established in 2008, SAMN provides the opportunity to highlight innovation in terms of industry infrastructure, small growing businesses, developments in the sector and responsible finance, increased outreach through branchless banking and use of technology and contributing to economic development by harnessing the youth bulge across South Asia by improving access to finance.
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