Gilgit-Baltistan: Microfinance Scheme for Unemployed Youth of GB

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Islamabad (PT): The Gilgit-Baltistan government plans to start a Microfinance scheme, specifically for the unemployed youth of Gilgit-Baltistan, to help them gain economic independence and contribute towards the region’s economic growth.

The Microfinance scheme, to be implemented through a 250 million rupees revolving fund, aims to provide loans of up to 75,000 rupees to the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan. This money, it is expected, will provide the much-needed stimulus for entrepreneurship.

The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan, Sajjad Saleem Hottiana, said on his Facebook page that he and the Chief Minister have “inked the scheme together”.

The scheme was approved today by the Chief Minister at his office and it will come into effect in May.

Unemployment is one of the major issues of Gilgit-Baltistan. Very large number of students graduate from Karakoram International University and other varsities of the country but the region lacks the industries and other opportunities to help them earn money with dignity.

It is because of lack of opportunities that a very large number of the youth live in almost all cities and towns of the country, away from their region and, thus, unable to contribute directly to the region’s economy.

The emphasis on enterpreneaurship, coupled with economic reforms and industrialization of the region can help integrate the youth in the regional mainstream, making them the agents of growth and development.

The loan scheme is being implemented with the help of a Lahore based NGO called Akhuwat Foundation, which has worked in different parts of the country since 2001 on similar projects.

Similar schemes have failed in other parts of the country but the Chief Secretary seems determined to make it successful. “GB will be Inshallah a model for the world”, he said on his Facebook page, adding that those who take the loans should also return them to help others avail the facility.

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