Doors of banks now open for poor: PM

Nawaz says forces having negative agenda to be confronted

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his government will continue to work for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity with the support of the masses, and confront forces having negative agenda.

“We are working together for development and will also confront, along with you, those having negative agenda,” Nawaz told recipients of the cheques of interest-free loan under the PM's Interest-Free Loan Scheme launched here at the PM Secretariat.

The today's recipients of the interest-free loans hailed from the poor families of Haripur district. Before the launching of this scheme, the prime minister said he was told that giving loans to poor people was a risk as they would not pay back, but he opposed such ideas.

“I told them not to doubt the integrity of poor people, as they are the ones, who can lay down their lives for Pakistan and it is my agenda to give them loans,” Nawaz remarked amidst loud applause from the beneficiaries of the scheme. He also mentioned other schemes initiated under the PM's Youth Programme, including the Youth Loan Scheme, Fee Reimbursement Scheme and Laptop Scheme, which he said, would prove as the backbone of the country's economic development.

"The doors of banks remained closed for the poor during the last 65 years and the present government has opened these doors for the first time for them, as the national kitty does not belong only to a special class, rather everyone has the right on it,” he remarked. Under the interest-free loan scheme, Rs 2.5 billion would be disbursed in the first year and the amount would be raised to Rs 10 billion during the next four years, he said.

The loan amount ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 and would benefit the poor people for establishing small businesses. About 50 per cent of the total beneficiaries included women, who would work at par with the men for their own progress as well as for the country's development, he said. By introducing this scheme, he had fulfilled his promise made during the election campaign. Everyone could benefit from the scheme without any discrimination of political affiliation.

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