ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday launched an ambitious interest-free loan drive with an initial budget of Rs407 billion, asserting the move would contribute towards making low-income groups self-reliant.
He was addressing a gathering of people at the Faisal Mosque for the launch of the campaign under the banner of the Kamyab Pakistan programme.
Under the programme — a component of the prime minister’s vision for poverty alleviation — the amounts will be disbursed among the eligible youth, women, farmers and for the construction of low-income houses during the next two years.
Khan said 4.5 million families would benefit from the loans to start small businesses, construct homes, farm and learn technical education.
He said that so far, Rs2.5 billion have been disbursed among the low-income groups in various welfare schemes and mentioned that the banks had also given loans of Rs55 billion after the government encouraged them to facilitate the public.
He said Pakistan had been envisioned as a socio-welfare country in line with the golden principles of the state of Medina.
He, however, regretted that deviation from this ideology led the country to face several challenges regarding the well-being of the people.
The prime minister said following the glowing teachings of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) regarding caring for the rights of people was the righteous pathway for a nation to adopt.
He said the national health insurance programme launched by the government would help the expansion of medical setup in the public and private sectors across the country.
Providing free medical treatment worth Rs1 million to every household annually was a proud step taken by his government, he added.
Prime Minister Khan said the tax money collected by the government would be spent on the welfare of the general public.
In his video message, Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin said the programme was in line with the vision of a socio-welfare state to facilitate the common man.
He said interest-free loans besides the technical training would enable the low-income group to earn their livelihood.
Akhuwat Foundation chairman Amjad Saqib said his organisation had been disbursing interest-free loans to deserving for the last two decades.
He said in collaboration with the government, the foundation on the occasion would provide interest-free loans worth Rs1 billion to 7,000 households and expressed confidence the programme would contribute to poverty alleviation.
During the period, the government will provide a subsidy of Rs56 billion for the purpose.
The key objective of the Kamyab Pakistan programme is to provide relief to the low-income group and increase economic growth.