The United States has announced that it will provide a fund of over $100 million for investment in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which provide a large number of jobs and make a significant contribution to the economy, through the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of the Pakistan Private Investment Initiative on Thursday, US Ambassador David Hale revealed that the investment would be made in partnership with the Abraaj Group, Indus Basin Holding and JS Private Equity Management.
Small and medium enterprises, the path towards growth
The initiative comprises three professionally managed investment funds that will provide equity capital for Pakistan’s dynamic and fast growing small and medium businesses.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has given $24 million for each fund and the Abraaj Group, Indus Basin Holding and JS Private Equity Management will each match or provide more than USAID’s contribution.
“Our hope is that by improving access to credit for first-time borrowers, we will break down barriers for creators and innovators who will find solutions to the development challenges facing Pakistan and the world,” the envoy pointed out, believing that investment in entrepreneurs would pay dividends for the decades to come.
He described the private sector as good for boosting Pakistan’s economy. “Pakistan is making progress in economy and investor confidence is increasing for investment,” he said and called private sector investment essential for the national economy.
He noted that the government of Pakistan had achieved significant goals, especially in economy, energy and access to education and finance. There were global challenges and cooperation between Pakistan and the US was the key to achieving goals in different sectors, he said.
The ambassador stressed that the Private Investment Initiative would ensure access to finance for businesses and the industry would prosper which was in the interest of all.
Small-scale growth for large-scale manufacturing sector
USAID Mission Director John Groarke said the investment initiative marked the beginning of a new era of bilateral cooperation as the economy of Pakistan was growing but space was not enough for creating jobs.
“We know the future of economic growth rests on private sector investment and Pakistani companies will be able to get access to finance for expanding their businesses and creating thousands of jobs that are needed,” he said.
Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Chairman Zafar Hijazi spoke about the regulatory framework that had been put in place for investment by private sector companies.
“Pakistan is vibrant, rich in resources and its economy is productive. The circumstances are ideal for private sector investment in the SMEs,” he said, adding small and medium business units were important for creating jobs and had also brought real profits for investors.
State Bank of Pakistan Deputy Governor Saeed Ahmad termed SMEs the backbone of every economy that could provide job opportunities. “SMEs face shortage of expertise as well as lean budges but despite that, they are a success story,” he remarked.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2016.
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