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April 7, 2020

Scaling up of community work by social enterprises urged to fight Covid-19

National

April 7, 2020

Islamabad: As many social enterprises have come forward to help address the people's healthcare, food and digital connectivity issues during the extended coronavirus-induced lockdown in the country, experts have asked the government to help such organisations scale up work for communities by easing an access to credit and funding, scaling up financing, and increasing facilitation on fiscal side.

The call was given during an online policy dialogue organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on 'Role of Social Enterprises and Startups in Crisis and recovery time' here.

SDPI Joint Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed urged the government to support social enterprises in public procurement of essential items through credible social enterprises, making such enterprises partners in Ehsaas Programme's interventions, using expertise of highly skilled employees of these enterprises in improving digital and e-commerce services and helping improve activities of Corona Relief Tiger Force.

He said it is equally important to look at the endangered sustainability of some social enterprises due to lock down. "These enterprises will require bail out and possible interest-free credit to stand back on their feet - an area where State Bank of Pakistan could help," he said.

The SDPI JED said as Pakistan was expecting to receive external foreign assistance to deal with COVID-19, it will be timely for the government to divert some of these receipts to support dynamic social entrepreneurs.

CEO of the Seed Ventures Faraz Khan asked the government to provide access to finance to social enterprise, where public and private sector can fund the startups, which would help fight COVID-19 crisis. "In this time of crisis, the government needs to work in collaborative and inclusive manner rather in a myopic way," he said.