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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin said here on Thursday that the incumbent government had laid the foundation of a ‘Welfare State’ to ensure the poor of the country did not suffer anymore and had opportunities available to earn respectable livelihood for them.

“The foundation of the welfare state has been laid. This is a big day, big day for the poor people,” the federal minister said while addressing the ceremony for disbursement of interest-free loans under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme (KPP).

The federal minister said that initially four million households would be provided financial assistance under the program, which would be extended to six million and then seven million households, gradually.

He was of the view when this program spreads across the country and it would bring prosperity. He said when the low-income segment of society becomes prosperous then we can say that real Pakistan or the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam was established.

He said that the poor of the country had always been shown dreams of food, clothing, and shelter and were made to realize that when the economy grows it would have a trickle-down effect on them. However, the minister lamented, even after 74 years since Pakistan came into being, this could not happen to date.

Tarin rejects opposition's claims, says 'mini-budget' will not hike inflation

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan believed in Riyasat-e-Madina, so he had equal focus on a growing economy, enhancing the income of upper and middle class and, as well as, the welfare of the poor.

He said that the Prime Minister did not want the poor to wait for the trickledown effect, so he had urged for this program so that poor people get opportunities to earn respectable livelihood for them without hurting their self-respect.

Shaukat Tarin said that under the Kamyab Pakistan Programme, big banks would wholesale loans to small and microfinance banks, which provide loans to the deserving people on a retail basis.

Under the program, he added, the farmers would be provided interest-free loans up to the tune of Rs 150,000 for one crop and Rs 300,000 for two crops, and Rs200,000 for tractors.

Likewise, Rs 500,000 loans would be provided to a household for setting up a business, and Rs 2 million to Rs 2.5 million for building a house. In addition, Sehat cards were provided to ensure health coverage for the poor.

He said this was the complete package to target the poor of the country, adding that loans were being provided purely on a merit with complete transparency irrespective of affiliations with any party, group, or tribe.

He also appreciated all the stakeholders, small and large banks for making this big program successful within a short span of time.

He said that even the World Bank was suspicious of how this could happen but was conveyed that it would take guidance from Pakistan to replicate the program in other countries when it is successful. Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Founder and Chairman of Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance (AIM) Dr. Amjad Saqib said that there was not any such big scheme in whole Asia that provide an interest-free loan to low-income people.

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