Small & Medium Enterprises: Holland offers 60 percent of funding for projects

MULTAN : Netherlands has offered up to 60 percent of funding to Pakistani projects (SMEs) having a maximum cost of 1.5 million Euros (Rs176.61 million). The offer was renewed by Ahmad Dodou, Head of Economic Affairs of Embassy of Netherlands and Paul Schoenmakers, while talking to the members and Senior Vice President of MCCI, Atta Shafi Tanvir Sheikh.The officials informed MCCI office-bearers that the Private Sector Investment (PSI) programme of Netherland government, open in Pakistan since 2005 with an annual budget of 70 million Euros, is aimed at alleviating poverty and strengthening private sector investment.They said that the funding, available under 40-60 arrangement, is subject to certain evaluation to be conducted by Holland government officials. An obligatory format for the project proposal can be downloaded from www.agentschapnl.nl/psi. Any Pakistan company can apply for the funding for any new project or for the value addition of an existing business project.Under this programme, they apprised, one project in sports wear in Pakistan has already been completed, three projects in chemical industry and dairy sector are underway, while three are under consideration.

The total funding of 1.5 million Euros allows spending on hardware (equipment, machinery), Training of people and Project management. Real estate and operational costs excluded. The funds are released during the project, after achieving predefined results.Holland government officials said that the evaluation criteria include partner expertise, organisational capacity and financial strength. The projects could be a business plan, operational plan or financial feasibility. Fulfilment of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), knowledge transfer and its spin off effects are few things that are a necessary part of the evaluation criteria.Netherlands issues three tenders per year. Holland has also offered match-making facility to stimulate private sector in Pakistan and to avail the opportunity the interested companies may download intake form at: www.netherlandsemb-assy.org.pk – Brecorder