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Flood-hit villages to get help for business revival

December 04, 2011

PESHAWAR, Dec 3: The small enterprises in 10 union councils of as many Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts, affected by floods in 2010, would get micro cash grants and business development assistance under a UNDP funded programme.

A total of 50 villages, five in each of the 10 union councils, would be selected to revive small businesses and create self-employment opportunities there. “Technical assistance would be provided to build and strengthen community organisations in the affected areas,” an official of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority told Dawn on Saturday.

“The Provincial Disaster Management Authority has written to district coordination officers of all the 10 districts to facilitate the Early Recovery Project's implementing agencies, including Smeda and the United Nations Development Programme in executing the project activities,” said Adnan Khan, a spokesman for PDMA.

Noor Zaiba, a coordinator of SMEDA, said that the project made part of the Rs251 million UNDP programme being executed in 30 flood-affected districts of Pakistan.

The selection of the councils, said Asad Mehmood of PDMA, had been made on their being the 'worse hit' among the union councils of 10 districts affected by the last year's floods in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The DCOs of Shangla, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohistan, Peshawar, Charsadda, Swat, Nowshera, Dir Upper, Dir Lower and Tank, said the PDMA spokesman, had been asked to coordinate with Smeda, PDMA and UNDP, assisting them in carrying out the project activities.

The project, she said, was aimed at economic revival of those, who lost their source of income and suffered damage to their small businesses due to the devastative floods in 2010.

She, however, did not know the amount of money that would be spent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa out of the Rs251 million UNDP countrywide programme.

Smeda, said Mr Mehmood, would set up one 'business support centre' in each of the 10 selected union councils to help revive businesses in the selected villages.

The centres, he added, would assist the small rural businessmen in developing their business skills through trainings.

Besides, they would also issue small cash grants to the affected businesses after determining their eligibility through an assessment and verification criteria.

The affected communities, he said, would be organised and non-governmental organisations, where existed, would be imparted capacity building trainings to help them become 'active service providers' to benefit farmers and craftsmen.

The business centers, said Mr Khan, would help the small enterprises, farmers and craftsmen establish linkages with trade and business associations, creating economic opportunities for the affected rural communities.

The DCOs, said the PDMA spokesman, had been asked that since Smeda, a semi-public sector entity, was the main project implementing agency, therefore, the project did not require the issuance of No-Objection Certificates for carrying out the project activities.

As per the government rules, said Mr Khan, organisations other than public sector departments and semi-public entities could not carry out development schemes in the flood and militancy affected areas of the province without being issued NOCs by the administration of the district concerned.