Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin held a meeting with the Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusroo Bakhtiyar at the Finance Division to discuss the features of a new credit scheme for the SME Sector. SAPM on Finance & Revenue Dr. Waqar Masood was also present during the meeting. Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir joined the meeting through video link. Governor State Bank of Pakistan briefed the Finance Minister on the proposal for the provision of funds for the small businesses (without collateral) for a tenure up to 3 years through the network of Commercial banks. The banks will design innovative products to reach out to the smaller businesses whereas the government will provide risk sharing facility to the banks, he added. The Governor also shared that, at present, there are around a hundred thousand small businesses availing the SME credit facilities provided by the Commercial banks. The new scheme will accelerate the credit uptake ratio of the smaller businesses up to 30% approximately during three years. The Finance Minister lauded the scheme and affirmed to provide the seed money for the scheme. The provision of microcredit would create employment opportunities at the local level and in turn, enhance GDP growth and will help in achieving sustainable and robust economic growth, he concluded. Inter-ministerial meeting: Federal Minister for Privatisation Mohammedmian Soomro chaired an Inter-Ministerial meeting to discuss and resolve the issues regarding privatisation of Energy Sector entities today in Islamabad. SAPM on Power & Petroleum Tabish Gohar, Federal Secretary Privatisation Hasan Nasir Jamy and other seniors of the Ministry attended the meeting. CEO NPPMCL Dhanpat Kotak and Financial Advisor (FA) participated via video link. In the meeting various issues relating to privatisation of National Power Parks Management Company Ltd(NPPMCL), Nandipur and Guddu Power Plants, Divestment of shares of Pakistan Petroleum Limited(PPL) and Mari Petroleum Company Limited were discussed. It was decided that all technical, legal and other issues relating to the energy sector entities will be resolved with the corporation of all stakeholders expeditiously. All participants /parties also agreed to constitute an Inter-Ministerial Committee to resolve the main issues between the concerned Ministries/Divisions. Mohammedmian Soomro said that we are taking all necessary steps for facilitating the national and international investors for successful privatization of NPPMCL, Nandipur, Guddu and other energy sector entities. He also added that the privatisation of Nandipur Power Plant and NPPMCL is at advance stage. Another meeting on revival of Pakistan Steel Mills was also chaired by Federal Minister/Chairman Privatization Commission. Secretary Privatization, Secretary Industries, Additional Secretary Industries and officers of Privatization attended the meeting. Chairman Port Qasim Authority and representative of PSM participated via video link. Weekly progress report regarding revival plan of Pakistan Steel Mills was presented in the meeting. It was also briefed that the issues of PSM are being resolving by all departments actively. Mohammedmian Soomro said that revival of Pakistan Steel Mills will be a great achievement of the Government of Pakistan. Tech trends: The National Technology Council (NTC) would hold a series of webinars on various facets of technology and the latest technological trends amidst the hardships stirred by COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns. According to HEC on Thursday, the first webinar of the series, entitled “Using Existing Technology to Develop COVID-19 Vaccine in Pakistan” would be held on May 19. The webinars would cover topics such as COVID-19 vaccine development, improving solar panel technology to make it user-friendly and aesthetically appealing, automotive technology, and energy-efficient and green building technology, etc. In a virtual meeting, presided over by NTC Chairman Mr. Imtiaz Hussain Gilani, the Council reiterated its resolve to pursue NTC’s agenda of quality assurance in the technical education through programme accreditation and registration of technologists during the prevailing critical time. It was decided to continue the NTC quality assurance programmes, including accreditation and registration of graduates, while following the COVID-19 protocols. The meeting participants underlined that the quality and standards of subject content need constant up-gradation with a special focus on curriculum. They prioritized 10 engineering technologies in which the higher education institutions were running four-year degree programmes for curriculum development. Prof. Dr. Inayat Ullah Babar, Vice Chancellor, University of Engineering Technology, Taxila, and a member of the NTC’s governing body should be the focal person for the initiative. It was further decided that the NTC will strengthen its social media handles to provide real-time information for public, technologists, and stakeholders.