Addressing the senior officials of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), SBP’s governor Dr. Raza Baqir said that the government would aim to invite expression of interest from Banks for becoming part of the scheme by giving the banks a guarantee against the losses. He also hinted at a resumption in concessionary loans for machinery imports.
Speaking to the officers he said that the Pakistani central bank would be initiating a financing scheme of up to Rs10 million or Rs1 crore for the cottage industry without any collateral.
The end-user rate which used to be 24% for the cottage industry and the small businesses would now be 9% under the scheme, revealed Reza Baqir. Foreign exchange laws have been made more flexible and business-friendly which would greatly facilitate foreign funding in the IT sector, he added.
Banks have been assigned to handle the payment issues of IT companies and the IT firms can obtain web and digital services from abroad for up to $200,000 without the approval of State Bank. The limit was $10,000, earlier.
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The governor further said that the State Bank of Pakistan had initiated various schemes like principal loan restructuring, the Temporary Economic Refinance Facility (TERF), and the refinance scheme for payment of salaries to support businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Baqir, 90 percent of beneficiaries of the scheme for restructuring of Principal amount were the small borrowers. More than Rs600 billion loans were restructured. In total, the State Bank provided relief of more than Rs2 trillion to the business community to get the economy back on track by initiating various schemes.
“Government deserves appreciation for its various initiatives during COVID times. Debt-to-GDP ratio did not increase during the COVID period while in the developed economies, it increased 10 to 15 percent,” he said.
Talking about the TERF scheme, Baqir said that Rs436 billion in financing had been approved and most of the funds had been disbursed and the remaining amount would also be released soon.
“We can think of further extending this scheme once the full amount is disbursed. We also have to keep the import payments in check as this scheme is mainly for importing machinery”, Governor State Bank of Pakistan added.