Microfinance industry to get over Rs. 40 bln from DFID till 2020

ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 (APP): Microfinance industry in the country is expected to get over Rs. 40 billion from Department for International Development (DFID) till 2020.
Country Head DFID,Joana Reid on Wednesday said DFID is supporting Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) since 2012, committing œ 300 million for this initiative until 2019/20.
She was addressing a ceremony organized here by Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN) to observe International Day for Eradication of Poverty.
Under the able leadership of Chairperson BISP, Marvi Memon, cash transfers are helping 5.2 million poor women, and supporting over 700,000 children gain access to primary education.
Reid recognized that continuous support and commitment of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to social protection for the poor including poor women, has been critical for achieving these results.
She said with our long term partners – State Bank of Pakistan we have delivered Financial Inclusion Programme, leveraging Rs. 20 billion in financing to microfinance providers, and establishing key institutions to support sustained and responsible growth in sector.
DFID has also supported creation of the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (or PMIC) and it will leverage over Rs. 40 billion to microfinance industry by 2020.
The event-observation of International Day for Eradication of Poverty-had active participation of 80 persons representing State Bank of Pakistan, DFID, World Bank, PPAF and other donor agencies as well as PMN members including microfinance banks, non-bank microfinance institutions, rural support programmes and other stakeholders.
The event highlighted two major themes – poverty is multi-dimensional, and account opening is pivot around which financial inclusion and deepening works.
In his address, Deputy Governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Saeed Ahmed said poverty is multi-dimensional and financial inclusion is one aspect of it and when we talk about poverty reduction we need to look at socio-political, economic as well as spiritual causes and effects of poverty.
He highlighted that as development professionals we talk about eradicating poverty, hence it is immensely important to ensure that our clients are treated fairly.
On the occasion, Syed Nadeem Hussain, Chairman PMN emphasized importance of a bank account as a tool for inclusive finance.
Panel discussions were held to discuss linkage between Financial Inclusion and Sustainable Development Goals, with some panelist indicating direct links between SDG-1 on reducing poverty and financial access.
Panelists highlighted importance of long term impact of small ticket microloans on lives and businesses of the clients.
Discussions were also held around the challenges the microfinance industry foresees in expansion of financial services in rural areas vis-a-vis agriculture being predominant economic activity in rural areas and factors that can potentially lead to a successful transition to financial digitization of farming activities.