Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection, Dr. Sania Nishtar Thursday said the Cart Financing Window (CFW) has been opened under the Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative in the federal capital to facilitate street vendors. Dr. Nishtar expressed these views during a visit to Ehsaas Rehribaan site here in G-11 Markaz. The Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative is being set up in Islamabad under the specific direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Dr. Nishtar interacted with street vendors and officials of microfinance banks and reviewed the ongoing street vending interventions under the initiative. Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Nishtar said, “With the successful launch of the Ehsaas Rehribaan project in G-11 and G-10 commercial areas of Islamabad, the government was aiming for the methodical and phased scale-up of the initiative”. At present, street vendors in G-11 and G-10 areas are getting regularized through the acquisition of pre-approved design carts either on their own account or through microfinance loans. Later, the initiative will be expanded to the entire capital. To-date, over 50 street vendors of G-11 have switched to modular and eco-friendly carts under Ehsaas. Remaining 28 vendors, who cannot afford cart purchase, are now linked with microfinance banks for availing cart financing facilities. Representatives of three micro finance banks, namely U- Microfinance Bank, Apna Microfinance Bank and Mobilink Microfinance Bank were also present at the site. They briefed Dr. Nishtar about various microfinancing facilities available for vendors under Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative. The microfinance structure of cart financing for street vendors was also presented. “Ehsaas recognizes cart financing as a potential tool for addressing financial needs of the vendors. This cart financing window will enable street vendors to purchase modular and eco-friendly carts”, Dr. Nishtar added. Cart loans have already been disbursed to several vendors operating in G-10 areas, where 130 vendors are operating. More carts will be financed by microfinance banks on easy terms and conditions. The timely and hassle-free financing opportunities for street vending under Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative will ensure sustainable street vending operations. Further, Dr. Nishtar said that this street vendors’ initiative under the Ehsaas umbrella is a pioneering experience in Pakistan, whereby a multi-partite engagement of federal and local governments along with think tank and microfinance institutions are collectively structuring a sustainable intervention for enhancing street livelihoods. In this regard, a formal collaborative partnership is established between Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD), Capital Development Authority (CDA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), ICT Administration and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). On account of overwhelming positive public response and PM’s appreciation during his recent surprise visit to the ‘Ehsaas Rehribaan’ pilot project, the government is now aiming for early expansion of the initiative footprint in Islamabad and its later replication in other urban centers of the country. Zia Banday, Focal Person Ehsaas Rehribaan initiative was also present.