Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said on Saturday the youth loan programme would help alleviate poverty in the country.
Addressing the launching ceremony of Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Programme organized by National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) here at Okara Sports Complex, he said loans would help people send their children to school and become useful members of society.
The Prime Minister said Rs 100 billion allocation for the loan scheme reflected his trust in youth, who would put the country on the road to progress.
He said youth had immense potential and could play a positive role in the country’s progress. The youth remained deprived of their right to progress during last 65 years and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government decided to bring them into the mainstream by providing financial facilities through the banking sector.
Even developed countries like Japan, Germany and Britain had provided financial assistance to the youth to enable them set up their own businesses, he added.
“Only those countries made progress that followed the constitution in letter and spirit. I belive the 60 percent youth population will not let us down and make the country proud,” he added.
He said he wanted to launch the youth loan scheme in 1999, but was stopped by former dictator General Pervez Musharraf from serving the youth.
He said the loan scheme was for the whole country, including Federally Administred Tribal Areas, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab.
The Prime Minister said he had started the loan scheme from Hyderabad and was pleased to fulfil his promise made during the election campaign.
He said some people were opposing the loan scheme for their vested interests. They were not ready to trust the youth. In fact, such elements were themselves not worthy enough to be trusted.
Nawaz Sharif said the government had decided to relax some conditions for getting loan. Now a blood relation could become a guarantor for a loan seeker. Government officers of Grade 15 and above were also allowed to sign a loan guarantee.
Nawaz Sharif said half a million youth would benefit from the loan scheme in the first phase while the facility would be extended to some 5 million in later stages.
He said he would himself visit all divisional headquarters to monitor transparency in the loan process.
The Prime Minister, later, mingled with the youth and asked them about the problems in availing the loan facility. He assured them that there would be no compromise on merit.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Board of Directors of NBP Munir Kamal said progress in the country was not possible without uplifting small businessmen.
The Prime Minister directed SMEDA and National Bank authorities to address problems of loan applicants.