Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal has said that political stability and continuity of the development policies are essential for economic prosperity of the country.
The minister said this while addressing the 9th Citi-PPAF (Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund) Micro-entrepreneurship Award Ceremony held here on Tuesday to celebrate the achievements of outstanding micro entrepreneurs across Pakistan who had been financially successful and made a difference to the communities they belong to through their business they launched in 2005.
The Citi Micro-entrepreneurship Awards program is a signature initiate of the Citi Foundation aimed at raising awareness about the importance of microfinance in supporting the financial inclusion and economic empowerment of low-income individuals.
The minister said that any country in spite of having resources could not make economic progress without political stability and continuity of policies.
"We should work together for the economic development of the country. Pakistan can emerge as a strong country economically in ten years in South Asia if we work together with concentration," he maintained.
The minister said that Pak-China Economic Corridor (PCC) would open new vista of economic progress in the country. He said that the PCC is very important for trade in South Asian and Central Asian countries.
He said that internal peace is necessary for progress of the country. He said that international agencies show economically positive indicators for Pakistan. He said that every institute should work honestly by living within its parameter.
The minister appreciated the winners of awards, adding that Citi-PPAF should integrate such people with export-oriented sectors by using new technology. He said that effort should be made to increase the export earnings of the country.
Nadeem Lodhi, CCO & MD, Citibank N.A., Pakistan, said, "The success of the 9th Citi - PPAF Micro-entrepreneurship awards tells us that we are on the right path. Microfinance is a sustainable strategy for improving lives and promoting growth. Citi has contributed in many ways to building our past and we hope to build a better future by highlighting the success stories and supporting Micro-entrepreneurship. We hope to take this program to greater heights in years to come."
Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of PPAF, said, "The problems of Pakistan are complex - and the only solution is to collaborate, whether you are the government, a public body or a private organization it is collaboration that will provide sustainable solutions. The Citi-PPAF micro-entrepreneurship awards are an excellent example of such collaboration and I would like to commend the Citi Foundation for providing us with a platform to salute community members who have taken small loans and made success stories."
Winners were selected in the categories of Best National Micro-entrepreneur Male and Female, Best Regional Micro-entrepreneurs from Balochistan, Khyber Paktunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, AJK, and Gilgit and Baltistan, along with runners-up. Special awards in the categories of Innovative Business Ideas, Young Entrepreneur Overcoming Adversities and for having a positive impact on their community were also given. Recognition awards were also given to respective Loan Officers and representatives of Microfinance Institutions who had given these micro-entrepreneurs the opportunity to excel.
In Pakistan, an additional award for "Most Innovative Microfinance Institution" honored the microfinance institution that has created or implemented an innovative product, delivery mechanism or integrated financial education with product offering.