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LAHORE: Mobilink Microfinance Bank Ltd (MMBL) and the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the provision of a wide array of banking products, including digital banking solutions for the financing needs of the chamber members, a statement said on Friday.

Ghazanfar Azzam, president and CEO of MMBL, and LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah signed the MoU, it added.

It is LCCI’s first-of-its-kind arrangement with any microfinance bank in the country that will facilitate the chamber members, especially those belonging to the SME sector, through the provision of innovative banking solutions on a priority basis.

Azzam said: “We are excited to work with the premier trade body of Pakistan, LCCI, for achieving the shared goal of stimulating growth and development of the SME sector that is a major contributor to Pakistan's economy but remains financially underserved.”

“For MMBL, this agreement comes as a validation of our efforts for developing a robust digital ecosystem for swift and hassle-free service delivery and access to groundbreaking banking solutions. I am positive that this newfound synergy will do wonders in supporting the SME sector and the national economy.”

Misbah said that the Lahore Chamber is aware that inadequate access to finance is the biggest obstacle to the success of SMEs. According to estimates, there are more than 5.2 million SMEs in Pakistan, which contribute around 40 percent to GDP.

The SMEs get only 7 percent of the private sector credit in Pakistan while the number of SME borrowers is just around 180,000

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