Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday launched an interest-free loan programme worth Rs407 billion under the Kamyab Pakistan initiative to make “low-income groups financially self-reliant”.
The prime minister announced the scheme while addressing a ceremony attended by people belonging to low-income groups at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad.
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Under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, the government will disburse loans among the youth, women, and farmers during the next two years in a bid to reduce poverty.
The prime minister said 4.5 million families would benefit from the interest-free loans to start small businesses, construct houses, invest in farming and learn technical education.
Imran said so far Rs2.5 billion had been disbursed among the low-income groups in various welfare schemes. He said the banks had also given loans of Rs55 billion under the housing projects announced by the government.
By next year, the federal government will provide loans worth Rs1,000 billion to the above mentioned 4.5 million families, the premier said, adding that the government has plans to expand this programme across the country.
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Under the programme, the government will provide a family living in urban areas Rs 0.5m to start a small business whereas Rs0.3m will be provided to people living in rural areas to spend the money on the agricultural land. The government will also provide Rs2m for the construction of the houses.
The premier said Pakistan had been envisioned as a “welfare state” in line with the principles of the state of Medina. However, deviation from this ideology resulted in several challenges faced by Pakistan, he added.
Speaking about health cards, he said the national health insurance programme launched by the government would help expand the medical setup in public and private sectors across the country.
He said providing free medical treatment worth Rs1 million to every household annually was a “proud step taken by his government”.
Imran said he will launch Rehmatul Aalmeen Authority on Thursday to teach children the “message of the Prophet (PBUH)”. He said the government will fulfil its responsibility to teach the nation "seerat of the Prophet (PBUH)".
The premier said the government reduced prices of petrol and electricity because of the increase in tax revenue and promised that all the tax revenue collected by the government would be spent on the welfare of the general public.
Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, in his video message, said the programme was in line with the vision of a socio-welfare state to facilitate the masses. He said interest-free loans besides the technical training would enable the low-income group to earn their livelihood.
Akhuwat Foundation Chairman Dr Amjad Saqib said his organisation had been disbursing interest-free loans to deserving for the last 22 years. He said in collaboration with the government, Akhuwat Foundation would provide interest-free loans worth Rs1 billion to 7,000 households. During the said period, the government will provide a subsidy of Rs 56 billion for the purpose.