SBP ‘SME Asaan Finance’ or SAAF Scheme for Financing
A news source claimed on August 16 that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has created the ‘SME Asaan Finance’ or SAAF initiative for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to obtain loans without collateral in Karachi. Under the planned program, small and medium-sized enterprises who were previously unable to acquire financing due to a lack of collateral will be eligible for unsecured loans of up to PKR 10 million.
SBP noted that these loans will be used to meet the long-term fixed capital investment and working capital credit needs of small and medium-sized enterprises. Federal Minister of Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin remarked that the decision will herald in a new era of economic growth and industrialization in the nation. He hoped that commercial banks will also participate in the program.
According to SBP, “selected banks will receive refinancing from the SBP at 1% p.a. and lend financing to SMEs at up to 9% p.a., which is quite favorable compared to informal finance rates.”
After three years, banks will repay the refinance in ten equal annual payments.
In order to strengthen banks, the government would additionally grant 40-60% risk coverage against loan-related losses to chosen institutions. The risk coverage will consist of:
• 60 percent for modest loans up to 4 million PKR
• 50 percent for loans ranging from PKR 4 million to PKR 7 million
• 40% for reasonably substantial loans between 7 and 10 million Pakistani rupees
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