PESHAWAR - Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) has expressed full satisfaction over the performance of the Economic revitalization of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA (ERKF) project and appreciated the distribution of grants on merit.

The $20 million MDTF-funded ERKF project, administered by World Bank, has $14 million for the component of the SME development in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA. SMEDA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is implementing the SME component.

Spokesman of MDTF said that under the project commenced from October 2011 with the objective of supporting the authorities in the economic revitalization of the crisis affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and FATA, the project has disbursed matching grants, valued at approximately Rs.695 million to 907 small and medium enterprises. The spokesman has out-rightly rejected propaganda campaign, saying it is being implemented in line with the procedures outlined in the project operations manual, including multi-tier arrangements to conduct the due diligence of the applications submitted by the SMEs.

He said the final approval of the grants and their respective amount is accorded by a Grants Review and Monitoring Committee (GRMC) that has representation from the Government of KP and FATA, private sector, and a commercial bank.

Appreciating the performance, he said the project has surpassed its targets eight months ahead of completion and has created and restored 3,600 direct jobs in various economic sectors including marble, textile, furniture and food processing.

The beneficiaries, including women entrepreneurs reported increase in their revenues as a direct of the grants and support services received through ERKF.

Furthermore, he said, the positive impact of ERKF was validated by the audit and monitoring reports of the independent evaluators and third party monitors that have verified the effective use of grants by the SMEs for intended purposes of business rehabilitation. The project teams are working in close collaboration to further streamline the operations so that the disbursement of grants to beneficiaries could be expedited.