SCCI Urges Soft Loans for Pakistan Entrepreneurs

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The President of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Fuad Ishaq, has called upon the Bank of Khyber (BoK) and commercial banks to provide soft loans to support new entrepreneurship and startup businesses in Pakistan. Instead of focusing solely on running financing facilities, Ishaq stressed the importance of issuing soft loans to promote industrial growth and innovation.

Reviving Development Financing Institutions (DFIs) and the Industry Development Bank of Pakistan (IDBP) is crucial for fostering small and medium-scale industries and businesses, according to Ishaq. He emphasised the need for proper training and awareness programmes to educate new entrepreneurs and startups about the various loan schemes available to them.

Ishaq highlighted the importance of facilitating the business community through a service-oriented and friendly banking environment. Additionally, he called for the protection of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) constitutional rights regarding electricity and gas supply.

To boost exports via railway, Ishaq proposed the launch of cargo trains from Peshawar to Karachi and the establishment of fully functional dry ports, along with the restoration of the railway system.

In terms of trade with Afghanistan, Ishaq advocated for sustainable policies and trade facilitation measures, including trade in Pakistani rupees and permission for re-export of finished goods. He also stressed the need for tariff equalisation on Pakistani products exported to Afghanistan and Iran to combat smuggling effectively.

Ishaq highlighted the importance of consulting the business community regarding border closures to minimise financial losses and ensure uninterrupted bilateral trade.

During a meeting with Mr. Irfan Saleem Awan, Chief Financial Officer of BoK, Ishaq underscored the resilience and bravery of KP’s business community in the face of terrorism, contributing to the region’s peace, solidarity, and economic development.

Expressing concern over commercial banks’ financial performance in KP, Ishaq urged the BoK to address grievances related to loan schemes and facilitate clients effectively.

Furthermore, Ishaq emphasised Pakistan’s strategic location and its potential to become a regional economic hub, particularly through initiatives like the Silk Road and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Highlighting opportunities in export markets due to the U.S. imposing anti-dumping duties on China, Ishaq urged Pakistan to capitalise on these opportunities. He urged the BoK to play a proactive role in supporting export-oriented initiatives.