A 2-day conference titled Sustaining Resilience: Microfinance in a Post Pandemic Era, was held at Serena Hotel in Islamabad on 25th and 26th November. The conference participants included Policy makers, regulators, bilateral & multilateral donors, representatives from Microfinance banks, Non-bank financial Institutions, commercial banks, the Insurance Industry and related stakeholders.
The guest of honor for the event, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh shared his insights on the economy, the role of the Government in supporting micro, Small & medium enterprises, youth & women. He highlighted the importance of the Microfinance sector in achieving Inclusive growth for the country.
President & CEO Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL) and Chairman PMN, Ghalib Nishtar in his address stated the aims and objectives of the conference. He highlighted the contribution of the sector to micro enterprise growth and employment in Pakistan.
Since the release of the Policy statement by the Ministry of Finance in June 2000 the sector has developed over the years with 42 institutions that include 11 banks & 31 NBFI’s with combined assets of the sector close to Rs 500 billion and 7.3 million borrowers, 50 miliion deposit accounts & 9 million insurance clients from low-income segments of the market across the country.
Given the significance of microfinance it is even more crucial for microfinance institutions to continue supporting its clients during crisis times, he added that “The microfinance industry of Pakistan has certainly faced the fallout of COVID19 crisis but a marginal decrease in percentage of the loans given out shows that we managed to make it through a national health emergency with resilience. At this conference, we’ve talked about ways to tackle the challenges imposed on microfinance by a pandemic and the opportunities & the structural support that the Industry requires from the policy makers and the regulators”.
While chairing the session on ‘Making Microfinance Resilient: Putting in Place a Disaster Risk Fund’. he highlighted ways in which the microfinance sector can remain sustainable in response to the socioeconomic consequences triggered by climatic hazards and natural disasters.