KARACHI: The United States announced to invest $50 million under Pakistan Private Investment Initiative (PPII) to launch two special investment funds for the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector.
US congress has already granted approval of PPII, under which investment funds will be created to provide financing facilities to the SMEs sector of the Pakistan. In the first phase, bids have been invited from fund managers to create funds and so far some $660 million worth applications have been received. Finally two fund mangers will be short listed in next two-three months and first financing will be provided in first half of CY13.
Talking to Business Recorder, Vinay Chawla, Deputy Coordinator, Economic & Development Assistance at the US Embassy, Islamabad informed that PPII was United State Agency for International Development’s (USAID) initiative to create multiple investment funds. “Under this multi-year programme, the US will contribute $25 million for each fund and totalled $50 million for two funds and private fund managers will also contribute capital that equal or exceeds the USAID contribution.”
He mentioned that each fund manager will contribute some $24 million or more to support Pakistan’s SMEs sector.
Chawla said, “the United State and Pakistan share a common future based on trade, not just aid and this initiative is a step towards that future. The Pakistan private Investment Initiative will create job opportunities in Pakistan by stimulating investment in small and medium sized business.”
“We (US) have interest in an economically strong Pakistan, that’s why economic growth is one of our top assistance priorities,” Chawla said. In this regard we are also conducting meetings with representative of private sector, bankers, chamber of commerce and others to initiate PPII in a proper manner and there is very positive response from all sector as well, he added.
To a question, he said PPII program will not face any sanction from US as its has already approved by the Congress and will be a part of Kerry-Lugar Law, under which some $ 3 billion has been disbursed in Pakistan through public and private sector.
He said that during the last few years political relations between Pakistan and US faced many ups and downs but the economic ties remained stable as US is interested to strong Pakistan economically. “The US is focusing on growth of trade, investment and private sector to economically support Pakistan,” he added.
He maintained that marble industry, health, education and agricultural were some other sectors, where the US was aggressively working to support Pakistan. Presently, some 200 schools in Sindh were being run by US to provide basic education to the masses of rural areas, he added.
Current US-Pakistan commercial relations provide a strong basis for growth and the US and Pakistan strive for an economic partnership based on trade, not just aid, he said. He added that trade between the two countries was neatly $6 billion annually and Pakistan exported more to the US than any other country in the world.