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July 12, 2013

Women need to be in mainstream to boost economy


July 12, 2013

PESHAWAR: To turn around the economy of the militancy-hit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the women entrepreneurs would have to be assisted to start their own businesses.
This was stated by Peshawar Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI) vice-president Shamama Arbab while talking to The News on Thursday.
She said to assist the government to develop roadmap for the assistance and guidance of the businesswomen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the WCCI in collaboration with the Centre for International Private and Enterprise (CIPE) formulated a comprehensive women entrepreneurship development policy and the draft has already been handed to the authorities concerned in both the federal and provincial governments.
Shamama Arbab said at the formal launch of the women entrepreneurship development policy for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on July 8 the education and social welfare and women empowerment ministries had assured all-out support to the businesswomen to implement the recommendations made in the draft policy.
She said the policy stressed that the government should promote an entrepreneurial culture and the educational institutions, including universities, should introduce entrepreneurship in the curriculum. It also urged the universities to introduce entrepreneurship subjects and focus on the practical trainings by assigning business projects to the students, she added.
Shamama Arbab said provincial Minister for Secondary and Elementary Education Muhammad Atif Khah had assured to look into the possibility of introducing business subject even at the school level.
“The draft policy also emphasises that the curriculum should be developed in collaboration with the WCCI as chamber and universities together can play a vital role in mentoring female students who are considering entrepreneurship, as well as new women entrepreneurs,” she added.
It also stressed that business development centres should be established to incubate new firms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the

universities can help in this regard by setting up these incubation centres on the campuses, the WCCI vice-president said.
About the bank loaning regime proposed in the draft policy, she said it laid particular emphasis on the financial literacy programmes for start-up to educate women entrepreneurs about business procedures, financial management and bank products. It also asked the government to fix 25-30 percent quota in commercial loans for women in the province, she said.
To promote entrepreneurship culture in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, she said it was proposed that Lok Virsa-like model should be developed so that the underprivileged could be brought into the mainstream for economic turnaround in the province.
She added that the advisor of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on social welfare and women empowerment Dr Meher Taj Roghani has announced to put one member of the business community in the Commission on the Status of Women so that they have a voice in the decision-making process.

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