SMEs to get loans on low mark-up rates: SBP

State Bank official says people involved with SMEs to get maximum benefit

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State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Chief Manager Sarfraz Ahmad Nadeem on Thursday addressed an awareness session on SBP financing schemes at Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PHMEA).

He said that the SBP was providing loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on easy terms and at low mark-up rates to help the distressed businessmen due to lack of capital. He said that not only exporters but also local businessmen were also being provided loans at a six percent mark-up rate, but unfortunately, the people were not taking full advantage of them. He said that the purpose of the session was to bring together stakeholders, bankers and regulators under one roof to solve the problems of small and medium enterprises.

Briefing the awareness session, SBP Assistant Chief Manager Tahir Abbas said that the bank needed to invest in the import of modern machinery, local machinery, power generation, renewable energy and others to facilitate the SME sector.

He said that people involved with small and medium enterprises should get the maximum benefit from these schemes, and if they had any problem with banks in this regard, they could approach SBP through the association’s platform.

Earlier in his welcome address, PHMEA Zonal Chairman Mian Kashif Zia gave a brief introduction of his association, saying that it was the largest and selected exporter of knitted garments.

“It has more than 1,600 member companies across Pakistan and has the distinction of providing the largest number of employment opportunities in the country,” he said, adding that PHMEA members earned around Rs3.38 billion annually in foreign exchange, while the association had offices in Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore and Sialkot.

He said that the textile sector was going through a difficult period at the moment. “This is because, with the introduction of a 17 per cent sales tax, the textile policy has not been issued yet, which prevents exporters from confirming future orders with their customers,” he explained.

The government had not yet announced a permanent textile policy for the value-added textile sector, Zia said. But he lauded the SBP financing schemes on the occasion and said that due to these schemes they would get some financial support, which would be especially useful for the SME sector.