SBP promotes credit schemes for differently-abled people

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KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Dr Reza Baqir on Friday met President Dr Arif Alvi to present two initiatives for differently-abled people, according to a statement released by the SBP.

Representatives of Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities Pakistan (NOWPDP), SBP officials, and presidents & CEOs of banks were also present at the roundtable discussion.

The first SBP initiative was related to the creation and promotion of two credit schemes for differently-abled people. According to the governor, the SBP will set credit targets for banks by 31 March 2020.

Under the Small Enterprise Financing and Credit Guarantee Scheme, differently-abled people can set up a new business or expand an existing one at a subsidized financing rate of 5pc per annum for 5 years, which includes a grace period of up to 6 months. The maximum financing available is Rs1.5 million.

Under the Financing Facility of Low-Cost Housing for Special Segments, differently-abled people can access subsidized financing for houses at 5pc per annum, for 12.5 years, including a grace period of up to 6 months. The maximum financing available is Rs2.7 million.

The second SBP initiative was to facilitate differently-abled persons in accessing bank premises and services.

For people with ‘challenges related to upper and lower limb’, Dr Baqir listed the following measures: preferential treatment and out of queue assistance; construction of ramps at the entrance of existing branches and ATM cabins for wheelchair users; leniency in the requirement for biometric verification to open accounts; and facilitation desks for differently abled people at the SBP main building and offices across Pakistan.

For people with ‘visual impairment’, the governor said that talking ATMs have been installed; informed the president about currency notes’ special features, such as size, lines and dots; and stated the need for awareness sessions on currency notes’ features.

Moving forward, Dr Baqir said the SBP would conduct annual audits on accessibility. The SBP will also issue circulars to banks on the matter, and ensure bank forms are available in Braille.

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