Asif’s success story is a testimony to the remarkable potential that financial inclusion features and is one to help people dream big, for their dreams can now materialize faster than they think.
In the small district of Pasrur, Sialkot, Asif Ali labored day in and day out to keep his fruit shop running amidst the unfortunate economic downfall that hits the rural citizen harder than the most. As the sole breadwinner of his family, he was under immense pressure to retain a stable source of income lest his children go hungry.
Despite being a skilled fruit vendor, hardworking and honest through and through, Asif lost his shop to the faltering economy, diving headfirst into the anxieties and troubles of unemployment that plague so many people across Pakistan. For some time, he struggled greatly to make ends meet and put food on the table.
Asif’s passion lay in fruit-mongering and he held on to his desire to own a business while taking work in a small fruit shop, earning minimum wage to barely scrape by. The experience, however, proved quite valuable as it lent Asif the unique opportunity to witness the do’s & don’ts to running a successful business, firsthand. Under the continued guidance of his employer, Asif’s affiliation with the fruit business grew stronger and he was more certain than ever that the best course for him was to run his store again.
His ambitions lacked the financial nudge that was necessary to get any venture off the ground, and so he continued to work on a meager wage. His fortunes turned, when in the year 2017, the loan officer from Mobilink Microfinance Bank, Pasrur, reached out to him, offering the capital he needed to realize his dreams.
In the first loan cycle, Asif Ali was granted PKR 100,000 which he used to launch his store and set up a stock of high-quality fruit. He maintained an affable relationship with the Bank during this time and repaid the loan in a timely and professional manner.
Almost immediately after that, Asif proceeded to apply for the second loan cycle which he used to further enhance his operations and assure quality products for his consumers. Things were now looking up, his anxieties about having an empty dastarkhwan were a thing of the past. Asif currently happens to be in the third loan cycle with the Bank.
“I worked hard and had the will to be successful but I could not have done it all without the Bank’s continued support. With MMBL on my back, I am bound to progress even more”, says Asif, the contented borrower.
Financial empowerment of the masses ought to be the prime priority of the government and financial institutions in a country like Pakistan where only 21% of the population is banked and poverty is rampant. Serving the unserved will not only add more people in the financial landscape of Pakistan but also improve prospects for them to be more educated, have better access and affordability for healthcare services, and enjoy a fulfilling life with reduced inequalities. Journeys like Asif’s are a testament to the unique power of transformation that microfinancing holds.
In Pakistan, as per the Asian Development Bank, the male proportion of employed population below $1.90 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) per day in 2019 is 2.2% and its 2.7% for females. Financing and other efforts to boost the entrepreneurial landscape in Pakistan needs to continue further if we are to improve our rankings here and enhance poverty statistics for Pakistan.
Asif has recently installed a juicer machine at his shop and has multiplied his revenue considerably by twinning the loan borrowed with his hard work and perseverance. He continues to lead on the journey to make his life better, and his children’s more prosperous.
In the ongoing era, when digital is the ‘new normal’, Asif’s family continues to benefit from digital financial services and uses JazzCash for sending and receiving payments when needed. This has not only helped reduce the hassle in his work and save time, but also allowed more efficient as well as faster transactions while also aiding Asif in broadening the horizon of his work. Asif plans to further digitize his shop by offering online fruit delivery soon and receive payments through his digital wallet.
As a leading financial services provider, MMBL is largely focused on creating synergy between the rural and urban masses by connecting them through conventional as well as digital products and services, aiming to empower every Pakistani by being a catalyst of sustainable change.