35,000 apply for WB grant from tribal districts.

Byline: Sadia Qasim Shah

PESHAWAR -- The number of applications received for a World Bank grant from the seven tribal districts of the province is so high that the implementing partner Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (Smeda) is not sure if the grant would be enough to cover the economic damage.

The Economic Revitalisation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas project was started in 2011 to help Pakistan in economic recovery and revitalisation of the crisis-affected areas of the province and the then Fata by creating sustainable employment opportunities through rehabilitation of small and medium enterprises, investment mobilisation and institutional capacity building.

The multi-donor trust fund project cost is $20 million. It was started in August 2011 and would continue till June 30, 2020.

Official says last time 5,000 applications were received and almost 40 per cent were rejected

'We have received 35,000 applications, which are five times more than what we received earlier. I fear funds would not be enough to cover all verified applications,' said Javed Iqbal Khattak, the provincial chief of Smeda.

He said that they were not expecting such a high number of applications in comparison to previous years. Last time from erstwhile Fata, they received 5,000 applications and almost 40 per cent were rejected as people had even applied for grant for their damaged houses.

Due to shortage of funds, only 500 could be given grant to revitalise their businesses whereas the rest were left out as there was no grant money left for them.

'This time priority would be given to the businessmen of those areas, which have not been granted any financial support under this project so far,' said the official. Those areas include Khyber, Kurram, Orakzai and North Waziristan tribal districts.

'We have requested World Bank to increase this grant money somehow as it is not enough looking at the damage...

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