ISLAMABAD-The government has so far disbursed soft loans amounting to Rs1 billion among 2,190 qualified entrepreneurs under the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) of Prime Minister’s Kamyab Jawan Programme.  Out of total disbursed loans, at least 30 per cent were given to women and the male entrepreneurs received around 70 per cent of the total amount, an official of the office of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Muhammad Usman Dar told APP. 

Highlighting the main youth empowerment initiatives, taken by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf since its inception two years ago, he said the ‘YES’ was launched under the banner of Kamyab Jawan Programme in October last year with the seed allocation of Rs100 billion. “The executing banks have so far approved two tier financing of Rs3 billion for 7,592 eligible businesses. Out of the total approved loans, evaluation of 5,402 businesses is still underway,” he noted. He said the Bank of Khyber (BoK), the Bank of Punjab (BoP) and the NBP, which deal with the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, sanctioned Rs four billion soft loans for 28,859 SMEs after scrutinising total 58,031, selected for carrying out the businesses’ analysis. Out of 28,859 SMEs, the official said, 14,664 had been rejected by the banks, whereas 6,489 were under processes. He said after evaluating the pre-feasibilities of all the applicants of YES, the banks had initially selected total 58,031 businesses for scrutiny. Scrutiny of some 10,699 was still underway, while 18,473 had been rejected.

More than one million applications were received under the Kamyab Jawan Programme, but unfortunately most of the applicants did not come up with practical business ideas, he said in response to a query. He said the government last week expanded the soft-loan scheme to benefit maximum number of young people across the country. The loan amount had been raised upto Rs25 million. Three tiers were introduced under the programme for disbursement of loans ranging from Rs 100,000 to Rs 25 million among the youth, having workable business ideas. Third tier for a loan ranging from Rs10 million to Rs25 million has been added after the expansion of programme.

He said the mark-up rates on initial two tiers had also been halved from 6 per cent and 8 per cent to 3 per cent and four per cent respectively. The government, in its two year tenure, has taken multiple pro-youth initiatives to turn the youngsters in the go-getters of the society through their skill development, said a document issued by the government to highlight its two-year performance. It mentioned the successful implementation of the Hunarmand Pakistan (Skill for All) programme, aimed at promoting basic and technical skills among youth. It said Rs10 billion had been allocated for the first phase of the country’s largest skill development programme. Along with traditional trades, training in high-tech technologies (artificial intelligence, robotics, automation etc.) was offered for the first time in the country. It was meant to develop skills of more than 170,000 Pakistani youth through establishment of a number of institutions across the country.