The provincial government has secured $140 million from the Islamic Development Bank to provide interest-free loans to entrepreneurs in the carpet weaving industry, Minister for Excise and Taxation Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said on Monday.
He was talking to delegations of carpet weavers and investors.
Rehman said these loans would be in addition to Rs3 billion in loans that had been issued to 168,000 entrepreneurs through the Punjab Small Industries Corporation during the current fiscal year.
He said through such financial assistance the government aimed to help another 500,000 people enter the carpet weaving sector in the coming years.
Rehman said export of carpets was a lucrative source of foreign exchange earnings. He added that the government was aware of the importance of the sector to the economy of the province. He said the government believed that an educated workforce was crucial for the growth of the sector. “We have started a non-formal basic education system for families employed in the sector,” he said. He said 300,000 students between the age of four and 15 were enrolled in schools set up under the programme. He said the number of beneficiaries of the programme would gradually be increased to Rs2 million at an estimated cost of Rs2.40 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2015.
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