ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Youth Affairs Muhammad Usman Dar said on Friday that at least 17,000 young entrepreneurs were declared eligible for the provision of soft loans under the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES) of the Kamyab Jawan Programme (KJP). Addressing a cheque & certificate-distribution ceremony of the KJP here at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML), he said around Rs 15 billion had already been parked in the banks, associated with the programme, for offering loans to successful candidates of the YES. “Around 10,000 businesses have already been launched with disbursement of around Rs nine billion (out of the total parked amount),” he added. “This is the beginning,” he said, adding the government, in line with the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, had set a target to facilitate around 200,000 to 300,000 young people in opening their own businesses across the country. To achieve this target, he said, government had decided to engage the micro-financing institutions and organization, and would add another tier in the existing programme to offer upto Rs 2 million loans without any collateral. Prior to that, he said, a massive drive was launched to sensitize the university students about the features of the KJP that had soft loans and skill scholarships as its major components. He said the youth, before completing their education, should premeditate about starting their own business so that they could create jobs, adding they should not hesitate from launching their start-ups as the government would not leave them alone in the entire process. Usman Dar said his aim to visit the universities was to sensitize the youth about the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has been stressing to change prevailing mindset of the young people about jobs. “Our youth prefers to get jobs in the public sector, but this has to be changed as future lies in start-ups,” he added. Skills in conventional and high-tech trades were also being provided to for ensuring jobs for the young people in the local and international markets, he added. He said it was the first time in the 72 years history of Pakistan that the youth was being provided easy access to the finance under the Kamyab Jawan Programme, adding soft loans between Rs 100,000 to one million were being offered to the youth without any guarantee. The SAPM said its tier-2’s loan limit was from above Rs1 million and upto Rs10 million, while under tier-3, loan limit was from above Rs10 million and upto Rs25 million. For tier-1 loans, he said mark up rate was 3 percent, while mark up rate for tier-2 loans was 4 percent, and for tier-3, mark up rate was 5 percent. Usman Dar said the government was planning to add another tier of Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000 as most of the applications were received for this type of loans under the YES. He said after addition of a new tier, the loan from Rs 100,000 to Rs 500,000 would be given at village and union council levels in the first category, while amount of the soft loan would be increased from Rs one million to Rs two million under the second one. He added that the amount ranging from Rs two million to Rs 25 million would be given in third category, while under the fourth category a loan of up to Rs 50 million would be given.