PESHAWAR: The UNDP in partnership with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) on Thursday formally launched Economic Cooperation and Development Forum for economic development of merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The project is part of USAID-funded Fata Economic Revitalisation Programme (FERP), which is meant to provide sustainable livelihoods and income opportunities leading to long-term economic growth of merged districts.
The forum’s launching ceremony was held at a local hotel wherein special assistant to chief minister on industries and commerce, Abdul Karim Khan, was chief guest.
The organisers said that the project would be jointly implemented by the UNDP and Smeda. The objective of the forum, they said, was to facilitate collaboration between different institutions/organisations and to reflect on ways to enhance investment of private sector companies (businesses and financial institutions) in the tribal districts.
CM’s special assistant assures govt’s support to the initiative
The forum will comprise of 40 experts on economic development and private sector investment, including representatives from the government, business community, banks and micro-finance institutions, think-tanks, policy makers, academia and development partners.
On this occasion, Abdul Karim appreciated the establishment of the joint forum and assured government’s cooperation to the initiative.
Zahidullah Shinwari, a former SCCI president and prominent businessman from tribal area, said that the economic recovery would automatically resolve 90 per cent problems of merged districts and termed formation of the forum as a step in right direction.
Earlier, Smeda CEO Faud Hasham Rabbani said that the authority under the Multi-Donors Trust Fund (MDTF)-funded project Economic Revitalisation of KP and Fata had issued grants of millions of rupees for rehabilitation of SMEs in both KP and erstwhile Fata. He said that more such projects would be initiated in future.
Javed Iqbal Khattak said that Smeda would provide technical assistance in evaluating Business Development Plans of 4,350 entrepreneurs from merged districts. These entrepreneurs will receive business support through the provision of in-kind grants. These grants will help the returnees to expand their existing businesses or establish new businesses in Khyber, South Waziristan and North Waziristan tribal districts.
Smeda provincial chief Rashid Aman, presidents of various chambers of commerce and representatives of UNDP and USAID participated in the event.
Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2019