KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Women Development Syeda Shehla Raza has said that the Women Development Department will be launching an e-portal soon to internationally promote the brilliant and fascinating work being done by the women entrepreneurs of Sindh which would surely provide an effective platform for marketing various products online from homes during the ongoing era of COVID-19 pandemic.Speaking at a meeting during her visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) to attend the First Meeting of KCCI’s Women Entrepreneurs Subcommittee, Shehla Raza said, “Due to rising joblessness caused by coronavirus pandemic, it is the women and children in the family who have become the worst affectees. Many such women, who are very capable, want to do something for their families hence, we decided to provide them an e-portal platform where they could easily promote and sell their products.”President KCCI M. Shariq Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI M. Saqib Goodluck, Vice President KCCI Shamsul Islam Khan, Chairperson of KCCI’s Women Entrepreneurs Subcommittee Durre Shahwar Nisar, Deputy Chairperson Mannal Jayyad Dar and a large number of women entrepreneurs attended the meeting.Women Development Minister further informed that the Sindh government was already providing micro loans to women entrepreneurs under a public-private initiative which yielded positive results as many women from the urban and rural areas of Sindh have benefitted from this initiative. This micro loan facility, which started from just two districts, has now expanded to 18 districts all over Sindh. “We are looking into the possibility of introducing more such easily accessible financing facilities for women with a view to provide a helping hand in an extraordinary situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic”, she added.She advised the women entrepreneurs not to stay confined to just textile designing and clothing but to go for other options as well. “You (the women) are very talented as you have been producing some excellent products but in order to fetch more returns, you must focus on diversification and further improving products through value-addition.”Referring to KCCI’s demand for improving the infrastructure, she said that although the Sindh government intends to improve the infrastructure and a lot of measures were being taken in this regard but they have been facing problems due to shortage of funds as the federal government had given Rs275 billion less than Sindh’s share for one year. She also criticized the federal government for disbursing Rs65 billion less from the Federal Divisible Pool in the last three months. “With limited funds available, we have to meet the huge expenditures on salaries and pensions etc., leaving no other option but to reduce the spending on development projects”, she added. Earlier, President KCCI M. Shariq Vohra, while warmly welcoming Sindh Minister for Women Development, appreciated her hard work and struggle for women rights throughout her political career.Welcoming Women Development Department’s e-portal initiative, President KCCI requested to take the members of KCCI’s Women Entrepreneurs Subcommittee on board in this particular initiative with a view to make it result-oriented.He stressed that the citizens and the business & industrial community of Karachi still have high expectations from Sindh government which must take measures to provide some relief to the perturbed citizens of Karachi who are facing a lot of miseries and hardships every day due to dilapidated infrastructure of Karachi. “Roads in every area of Karachi, particularly the downtown area where most of commercial activities take place, are in a pathetic condition and almost inexistent. This has become the most serious issue which requires special attention of the Sindh government.”He further underscored the need to create a strong liaison between KCCI and Sindh government so that the issues being suffered by Karachi, which contributes huge revenue to the national and provincial exchequers despite so many odds and challenges, could collectively be resolved.
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