Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative to transform street vending

A large number of officials and representatives from municipality, government agencies, academia, micro-finance banks and civil society also attended the conference

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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr. Sania Nishtar distributed 150 vending licenses among the street vendors under the Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative.

The licenses, issued by the municipality, were distributed during the conference jointly organized by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).

The event was themed, “Transformation of Street Vending in Islamabad and Lessons for Urban Pakistan”.

Around 150 street vendors, who are given vending licenses and new eco-friendly carts under Ehsaas Rehribaan participated in the conference.

The purpose of the conference was to highlight the transformation of street vending in Islamabad under the ongoing Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative and its lessons for replication in Urban Pakistan.

A large number of officials and representatives from the municipality, government agencies, academia, micro-finance banks, and civil society also attended the conference.

Dr. Sania distributes 150 vending licenses under Prime Minister’s Ehsaas Rehribaan Initiative

In her address, Dr. Nishtar appreciated the first of its kind collaboration between government, academia, and the private sector in structuring a sustainable intervention for providing an enabling environment to street vendors. “This initiative has been taken under the direct policy directives of the Prime Minister”, said Dr. Sania.

Further, she recognized the fact that this initiative creates opportunities for livelihoods and contributes to climate change efforts through solar system-fitted carts.

She expressed her hope that the program will continue at the same pace to cover other areas of the city and later will be replicated in other cities of the country.

Zia Banday, Focal Person of the Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative, presented the background and progress of the program. He informed that by covering 177 street vendors in just 4 markets, the ongoing program has already generated Rs.3.5 million in license fees, Rs.17.5 million in capital investment, and Rs.11.5 million in cart loans.

The local street economy of estimated 20,000 vendors has the potential of generating Rs. 480 million in government revenues and an annual turnover in the range of Rs.36-43 billion. The program has the strong transparency element attached, which is based upon the survey of only existing street vendors.

U Microfinance Bank and Apna Microfinance Bank are the pivots for the program with zero default rate in cart loans to date.

Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, Vice-Chancellor, PIDE, elaborated on the potential of the street economy for furthering job generation and economic growth. He mentioned that street vendors are an integral part of society and the economy, and need to be embraced by the government.

Hamza Shafqat, Administrator MCI and Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, assured the street vendors that the local government is gearing itself to support the expansion of the initiative for its expeditious coverage of street vendors. He recognized the fact about the resistance of traders’ associations to the program implementation, where the government is working to overcome it.

 

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