Islamabad, March 27, 2019 (PPI-OT):The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called upon the government to focus on financial inclusion of women to promote female entrepreneurship and improve economic growth as lack of access to finance was the major barrier for women to engage in business activities.
Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said for sustainable development of economy, providing equal opportunities to entire population was necessary. However, gender-wise distribution of gross loan portfolio of SBP showed that only 3 percent of SME loans were granted to women as compared to 97 percent to men. Similarly, women took just 19 percent of microfinance loans compared to 82 percent to male consumers, which showed that women were facing serious financial exclusion in our country.
He said that due to unsupportive financial policies for women, Pakistan has the lowest rate of female entrepreneurship in the world as women entrepreneurs accounted for only 1% in the country compared to 21% of male entrepreneurs. He said that access to finance was the major factor that has held back women from starting business ventures as only 5% of women have access to an account at a formal financial institution. He said that many structural, institutional and socio-cultural barriers also restricted the entrepreneurial capabilities of Pakistani women and urged that government should take policy measures to address these issues for creating conducive environment for women entrepreneurs.
Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that economic empowerment of women by enhancing their financial inclusion would help in reducing poverty and promoting inclusive economic growth of the country. They said that greater access to formal finance would allow greater number of women to participate in the formal economy and help in enhancing economic growth of the country.
They urged that SBP should encourage opening of more women bank branches across the country and make this feature a part of branch license policy for improved financial inclusion of women. They said women were often not aware of the available financial services and government should remove legislative and policy-level hiccups and initiate financial literacy programs at school level for girls to create better awareness in women about financial services that would improve their financial inclusion.
For more information, contact:
Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI)
Chamber House, Aiwan-e-Sanat-o-Tijarat Road,
Mauve Area, G-8/1, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-2250526, 2253145, 8432676
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com