ISLAMABAD, Aug 3 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday called upon the women representative bodies, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), women wings of political parties, eminent women and members of civil society to play an active role to bring the idle women human resources in the business, trade and industrial sectors and elevate them to the decision-making level.
He said that their dream to make Pakistan an economically and financially independent country would remain elusive if they failed to mainstream women, which make up almost 50% of population, in the economy.
The President expressed these views during the meeting with a delegation of the Faisalabad Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FWCCI), which led by FWCCI President Ms Nighat Shahid, called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.
Vice President FWCCI, Mrs Farhat Nisar and members of the Executive Committee of FWCCI were also present in the meeting.
He called upon the business community and Women Chambers of Commerce and Industry, to establish linkages with society by launching Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects to create awareness and help in resolving burning social, health and environment issues which, he added, would serve larger good of the society and in turn would also increase the acceptability of their products and services by their customers.
Expressing his concern over the low level of disbursement of loans earmarked by banks for women entrepreneurs and women business persons, the President said that as per reports around 5% of the amount set out for the loans by banks had so far been utilized which, he remarked, was alarmingly low.
He called upon all the Chambers of Commerce, especially the Women Chambers of Commerce, to encourage and motivate women entrepreneurs and skilled women to avail these loans from designated banks by proactively helping them in the documentation process and managing other issues faced by the loan seekers.
The President advised the women entrepreneurs to approach Chartered Accounting firms hired by certain banks to assist business women in making bankable business plans and completing the documentation process which, he said, would help them in securing business loans on fast-track basis.
He also expressed his concern over the low representation of women in the country’s Chambers of Commerce as well as businesses, industry and services sectors.
The President said that the government had introduced many businesswomen-friendly initiatives and had been encouraging women across the country to participate in business activities but so far desired results were not forthcoming.
He regretted that even the Chambers of Commerce across the country did not have adequate representation of women as members and in leadership positions, which was alarming.
The President called upon the Chambers of Commerce to take practical and meaningful steps to address this gender disparity and encourage their female family members to actively participate in business activities. Hazrat Khadija (RA) was a businesswoman and an ideal for women to follow, he added.
The President called upon the leadership of industrial and business establishments to create a secure channel for women in their areas through dedicated transport services and creating a harassment-free workplace to encourage the families to send them to work with full confidence and give women employees peace of mind to contribute in wealth creation for the nation.
He said that the country had around 200,000 nurses at the moment against the demand of 900,000, which, he added, had put a lot of pressure on the country’s health system.
The President urged the private health facilities to set up training facilities for health providers, especially for nurses and advised the relevant training institutions in the public sector to offer quality short courses in combination with in-house, hybrid and online teaching modules to fill the acute gap between supply and demand.
He also advised FWCCI to encourage and motivate new entrants and the existing women entrepreneurs to avail training programs specially designed by Facebook and Amazon for business women to sharpen their business skills and use online platforms for sales and marketing of their products and services.
The President noted with satisfaction that the breast cancer awareness program had delivered results as more and more women were seeking timely medical help for early diagnosis of breast cancer.
He urged the business community to play an active role to sensitize the nation about breast cancer through effective awareness campaigns about the disease.
Replying to a question, the President said that the private and government educational institutions should devise a comprehensive and well-thought-out policy and chalk out implementation plans to regulate admissions in the institutes of higher learning and training institutions to create the right balance between supply and demand in any given sector.
Earlier, the delegation apprised the President of the achievements of the Women Chamber of Commerce and the difficulties faced by its members in terms of taxes, increasing cost of the business inputs and the requirement of lengthy procedures of documentation while applying for business loans.