Banks asked to assist women entrepreneurs
PESHAWAR: The women of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa need greater facilitation in the initiation and expansion of their businesses, especially from the banking sector, according to the president of the Women Chamber of Commerce Industry of Peshawar (WCCIP).
Addressing a meeting of banking sector officials at the State Bank of Pakistan, Nuzhat Rauf said the WCCIP had taken the initiative of formulating an “Entrepreneurship Development Policy” for the women of KPK. She said she was hopeful the policy would help unleash the latent potential of women entrepreneurs and thereby create more jobs for women in this region.
Rauf said unavailability of financial support is one of the biggest hurdles in women’s entrepreneurship, and it was for banks to extend support to women entrepreneurs trying to start businesses. She urged financial institutions to lower mark-up rates on loans to women, and conditions relax for guarantors for them, so more women would be encouraged to set up their own business ventures. She expressed concern at the banks’ microfinance limits, and asked for it to be enhanced sufficiently, particularly in view of the prevailing inflationary situation.
Shamama Arbab, vice president of the chamber, said women are reluctant to deal with banking affairs for lack of sufficient awareness about the different products offered by the banks. She said the banks should introduce new business loan products, particularly for women, so that they could be motivated to start businesses. She said banks also simplify their documentation process of lending support to women entrepreneurs.
She said the WCCIP is working to encourage women entrepreneurs so that they could play an active role in strengthening the economy, and thereby improve their own lives. Arbab said the banks should become partners in this cause and make efforts to enable the women of KPK to become more banking-savvy. The chief manager of the State Bank of Pakistan, Tanwirul Islam, expressed appreciation for the WCCIP’s formulation of an Entrepreneurship Development Policy. He said local banks should launch awareness programmes regarding the various products offered by the banks.
He said financial literacy programmes should also be initiated by the banks to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to know about various banking processes and learn effective financial management. He gave the assurance that the State Bank will promote women’s entrepreneurship in KPK through policy interventions.
Representatives of several banks present at the meeting also gave assurance of their support to the WCCIP, and said there should be regular interaction between the banks and the Chamber.
Source: The News