In a bid to facilitate the youth to become entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday launched Youth Business and Agricultural Loan Schemes in Islamabad.
The loan schemes are aimed at promoting self-employment and entrepreneurship amongst the youth.
People in the age group of 21 and 45 years can avail of the loan facility of up to Rs7.5 million under these schemes. For IT and E-commerce businesses, the lower age limit is 18 years.
Micro-financing through small business loans will promote a norm of job creation rather than job seeking among the country’s youth bulge.
The addition of agricultural loans will help the rural youth in bringing innovation to farming which can include mechanised farming, the creation of agricultural value chains and the solarisation of farming equipment to create more sustainable energy resource management in a climate-challenged country like Pakistan.
Under the schemes, loans of up to Rs1.5 million can be availed on the personal guarantee of the borrower.
According to the details, there will be no interest rate on the loan of up to Rs0.5 million. 5% interest will be charged on the loan of over Rs0.5 million to 1.5 million. 7% interest rate will be charged on the loan of over Rs1.5 million to Rs7.5 million.
25% quota has been reserved for women. Islamic banking facilities can also be availed on the loan scheme.
Speaking on the occasion, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Jameel Ahmad lauded the coalition government for launching the initiative of the easy loan programme for youth. “The government is committed to empowering the youth despite financial issues.”
The governor added that special instructions had been issued to the banks for issuing loans to the youth.
Provision of loans to the “agriculture sector is the top priority” of the government and the central bank, he added. The SBP governor said that every possible assistance would be provided to farmers in flood-hit areas. “The limit of agricultural loans has been increased by 44%.”
He urged all institutions to play a positive role in connection with the youth loan scheme.