Karachi, July 28:  Muhammad Zubair Motiwala said that Sindh Enterprise Development Fund has been setup by the Government of Sindh to provide opportunities for value addition in the agriculture sector for multiple economic benefits on growth, intermediary services and productivity. This he said while presiding the 6th Board Meeting of Sindh Enterprise Development Fund.

            The Board approved Balancing, Modernization and Replacement (BMR) Scheme for the Rice Cluster in the Sindh Province which comprises of about 800 Rice Husking Units which are using obsolete technology as compared to other rice producing countries like Japan, India, Thailand, China and Vietnam. The scheme is being developed in collaboration with State Bank of Pakistan and Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) envisaging financial outlay of Rs. 1 bn which will be partially guaranteed (30%) by the Government of Sindh through SEDF. It will also subsidize the re-finance rate of 6.25% whereas the applicant is expected to pay bank spread which is 3-4%.The scheme would enable 100 rice husking units in the first phase to upgrade them to latest technology and machinery, bringing down their operational loses from 40% to less than 20%, resulting into greater productivity, exportable surplus and enhanced incomes for the rice millers. The SEDF Board examined the scheme on technical grounds and there was general consensus that such BMR support will add to strengthening of SMEs, Rice sector and will bring in wider economic gains. There can be prospects of big increase in employment, greater productivity and most significantly it will straightway improve quantities for exportable surplus generating greater foreign exchange for the province. The Board also approved interest rate subsidy for three other rice husking and reprocessing units located in the rice growing areas of the province.

The board was also briefed on the performance of the Outreach Teams that were constituted for assisting farmers and entrepreneurs in fulfilling requirements for Matching Grant being offered by the USAID in the horticulture and livestock clusters.

Among others present in the meeting were Ms. Naheed Shah Durrani, Secretary Investment, Agha Jan Akhtar, Secretary Agriculture, Syed Abid Ali Shah, Secretary Fisheries & Livestock, Mehboob ul Haq, CEO SEDF, Shahida Qaiser TDAP, Syed Mahmood Nawaz Shah and Syed Nadeem Qamar