LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Tuesday approved the Punjab Self-Employment Scheme worth Rs 30 billion to promote small businesses in the province.

Under this scheme, soft loans up to one million rupees will be provided for existing businesses as wells for the launch of the new ventures.  The transgender community, along with men and women will be eligible to apply. The rate of mark up for womenfolk has been kept low compared to the men.

In this regard, the Chief Minister chaired a meeting in his office to approve the scheme. 

MD PSIC gave a detailed briefing to the CM about the salient features of the scheme and informed that an online portal had also been created in collaboration with the PITB. 

Giving details, he told the meeting that this scheme was aimed at developing small and medium enterprises and restoration of corona-affected businesses in the province.

The Chief Minister directed to launch this scheme in the current month as businesses had been affected due to corona and the government was going to provide a major relief to the affectees. 

He directed to ruminate about further reducing the mark-up rate along with the processing of applications in the minimum period. Special initiatives should be included in this scheme to boost the rural economy, the CM added.

This initiative, he said, will provide the necessary skills to the youth for honourable earning opportunities and the provision of soft loans facility will boost the industrial sector.

Provincial Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, ACS (Urbanization), Chairman P&D, secretaries of finance and industries departments attended the meeting while Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht and BOP President participated through video-link. Also, the chief minister chaired a meeting at Punjab Assembly here on Tuesday about easing the process of setting up new cement factories in the province.

The CM directed to make easy the complicated and lengthy process of establishing cement factories as the PTI government was creating ease of doing business. An easy process of establishing cement factories will boost investment and new job opportunities, he added. He directed to link the issuance of NOC for establishing a cement factory with the timeline as some departments unnecessarily delayed the issuance of NOCs. He also directed that the issuance of NOC in the minimum of time should be ensured under rules and regulations.

He also ordered the constitution of a supervisory committee to present its recommendations for easing the process and issuance of NOCs. He reiterated that investors will be provided every facility and action will be initiated against the concerned officials for any unnecessary delay. “I will personally review all matters after every 15 days”, he affirmed. The CM was told that 23 applications had been submitted to the Punjab government for establishing new cement plants and a portal had also been developed by the industries department.

Provincial Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, ACS (U&I), secretaries of irrigation, industries, mines & mineral, environment and community development departments and others attended the meeting.

CHAIRMAN ALL PAKISTAN PRIVATE SECTOR’S UNIVERSITIES CALL ON CM

Chairman All Pakistan Private Sector’s Universities Ch. Abdul Rehman called on Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar at the assembly chamber here on Tuesday and discussed matters about the promotion of higher education in the province.

The CM appreciated the role played by the private sector adding that a meeting of higher education reforms committee will be called soon and he will personally review the matters pertaining to this committee. He promised that vacant posts will be filled in the higher education department according to need and pending cases will also be disposed of as soon as possible. Usman Buzdar said that the Punjab government was going to open educational institutions from September 15 and instructions had been issued for compliance of SOPs in all educational institutions to overcome the spread of the virus.

He said that establishment of universities at the level of districts will further promote higher education.