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Bill to set up Pak-US Enterprise Fund introduced.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 -- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and Ranking Member Dick Lugar have introduced legislation that will lead to the establishment of the "Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund," to focus on strengthening the private sector in Pakistan using existing funds from the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package passed by Congress last year. The legislation will help empower Pakistan's private sector to create jobs, which will contribute toward increasing economic growth and stability.

The fund is modeled after successful post-Cold War funds established by the United States 20 years ago for the development of Eastern Europe.

"Pakistan's private sector suffers from a lack of capital, which has a negative impact on the daily lives of Pakistani people. The United States can help the Pakistani private sector provide jobs, opportunity, and hope to Pakistanis using creative tools such as this Enterprise Fund," Senator Kerry said.

It's a clear example of how the Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid package can help make a real difference in stimulating growth in Pakistan based on the remarkable results we have had with similar funds in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. We introduce this legislation as a first step in a long process, but hope that our Senate colleagues will move rapidly to make this Enterprise Fund a reality.

"The failed attack that occurred on May 1, 2010, in Times Square re-enforces the need for our governments to work together to neutralise the imminent threats posed by terrorists waiting to strike, while simultaneously preventing the cancer of extremism from spreading and corrupting local communities in both our countries," Lugar said.

"The Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund will work with the private sector to catalyse indigenous job creation, which will empower the people of Pakistan to reject radical voices and, instead, build a stronger future for their families. Pakistan currently enjoys a vibrant private sector, especially among small and medium size enterprises, and the mission of this Fund will be to encourage greater business formation and expansion."

Before the fund is established, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the full Senate will have to approve the legislation. The House of Representatives will also have to introduce and pass the legislation.

The Kerry-Lugar Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund:

1. Authorises the President of the United States to establish a Pakistan-American Enterprise Fund utilising existing funds granted under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (also known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Funds) and leverage these resources to provide direct financial capital and technical assistance to commercially viable small and medium sized businesses in a way uniquely suited to Pakistan's fragile economy.

2. Authorises the President of the United States to appoint a Board of Directors, comprised of four private citizens of the United States and three private citizens of Pakistan, who will leverage their experience and expertise operating in international and emerging markets to oversee the Fund.

3. Requires that assets of the Pakistani-American Enterprise Fund at the time the Fund is dissolved, no later than December 31, 2020, shall be returned to the General Fund of the United States and used to reduce the debt of the United States.

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Publication:The Statesman (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Date:Aug 1, 2010
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