Federal Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar launched the Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company (PMIC) in Islamabad.

The Finance Minister said the government fully recognizes that financial inclusion can be a strong impetus for economic growth in Pakistan. He said that the National Financial Inclusion Strategy launched on May 2015 was a pivotal step to address the financial services needs of the poor and underserved segments in Pakistan. The Minister said that the government’s economic policies under the able leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif have put the country on the road to macroeconomic stability and now our target is to achieve a higher sustainable and inclusive growth.

Senator Dar apprised that the growth momentum continues to remain above 4% for the 3rd year in a row with real GDP growing at 4.71% in FY 2016 and target of 5.5% for the current fiscal year.

The British High Commissioner congratulated the Finance Minister on his leadership to establish the PMIC and said that micro-finance will have a key role to play in export led growth for Pakistan. The German Ambassador appreciated the patronage of the Finance Minister to establish PMIC and said that the German government is proud to support the PMIC initiative as it fits well into Germany’s objective of supporting technology startups and green energy through microfinance initiatives worldwide.

Finance Minister appreciated the partnership of the British and German governments in establishing PMIC with a total equity of Rs6+. 6.00 billion in which government of Pakistan through the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund has a shareholding of 49%, DFID through Karandaaz holds 37% shares and German Development Bank KfW has a 14% share. He said that PMIC will provide access to finance to the underserved poor segments of the society who have difficulty in accessing financing for development of income generating activities. He urged that the fundamental objective of PMIC is to offer small loans and other financial services with the aim to graduate the youth of Pakistan from cash transfer social safety nets to income generating sustainable livelihoods.

While addressing the ceremony, the Finance Minister said that the potential market for micro-finance in Pakistan is 20-25 million. He expressed pleasure that the seed PM- N Government sowed in the shape of setting up PPAF in 1997 has become a tall tree, providing shade and livelihoods to the poor of country. Appreciating the dedication of CEO and officials of PPAF the Minister said that as a result of hard work over the years, the micro-finance sector in Pakistan now serves around 3.5 million borrowers and will serve at least 10 million borrowers by 2020 through institutional structures like the PMIC.

Chairman PMIC Zubyr Soomro, CEO PPAF Qazi Asmat Issa and CEO of PMIC also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the support of the Ministry of Finance; State Bank of Pakistan, the SECP and Competition Commission of Pakistan is setting up the regulatory and corporate structure of PMIC. The launch ceremony was attended by a large number of dignitaries including British High Commissioner, German Ambassador to Pakistan, senior officials from Ministry of Finance, Chairman SECP, representatives of PPAF, DFID, KfW, multilateral institutions, academia and business community.