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SMEs An effective tool for poverty alleviation

Published on 18th Aug, Edition 33, 2014

 

The Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) considered as backbone of large scale industries and in fact can play an effective role in reducing poverty, which is increasing to an alarming scale in Pakistan. It is painful to see that even after 68 years of creation of Pakistan the dream of a peaceful, prosperous life with equal opportunities to every Pakistanis still seems to be a distant dream. It is the time that the national leadership should think about the poor more as compared to the political or party interest as it is neglecting the fundamental right of the common man.

Although the government has an agenda to overcome this threat of poverty, unemployment and education for all, yet the focus should be on facilitation of the small and medium enterprises, which not only help in creating a sustainable supply chain for large scale industries but also really matter in creating job opportunities. It is the most crucial area for creating employment opportunities for a huge number of educated and skilled manpower in the country.

In this respect, the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the urgent attention of Federal Planning Minister Prof Ahsan Iqbal to the impediments to SME growth and urged him to facilitate the sector in the revised SME policy being prepared by his ministry.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the impediments to SME growth are lack of education, finance, proper environment, infrastructure, logistics and these days besides the energy crisis, the law and order failure is the real issue.

In order to promote, encourage, facilitate, motivate and upgrade the SME sector UNISAME has suggested to the government to take the following measures:

  1. To educate the SMEs about the new technologies in production, management, marketing, accounting & inventory control through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA)
  2. Encourage the SMEs to modernize and make plans for balancing and replacement of their units and arrange transfer of technology through the SME associations and chamber of commerce.
  3. Facilitate the SMEs through banking, leasing, insurance as these are the pillars for growth.
  4. The SMEs in order to progress, need law and order and protection and need to feel safe and comfortable.
  5. The infrastructure needs to be improved.
  6. The SME sector is dependent on logistics, which encompasses transportation, warehousing and collateral management.
  7. The need for alternate energy is being felt due to the energy crisis.
  8. There is an urgent need of industrial estates in all the provinces.
  9. The government should adopt a policy of fair taxation and also give tax benefit to innovative industries and new units.
  10. The SMEs need their own chamber of commerce and also their own export promotion bureau.
  11. The NPO, EDB, SMEDA, PCSIR and TDAP are all dedicated institutions and working hard for the promotion and development of the SMEs together with the commercial banks but they all need to co-ordinate with one another for integrated efforts all these institutions need to be strengthened especially SMEDA on priority basis.
  12. There is urgent need for promoting and facilitating e-commerce and the government needs to establish e-payment gateway through National Bank of Pakistan.

 

Salman Merchant, convener UNISAME e-commerce stressed the need for educating the SMEs on information technology, which he said is the key to promotion and development and offered the services of UNISAME to entrepreneurs for image building, branding, marketing, web designing and enabling e-commerce for global marketing.

UNISAME has, however, felicitated the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on the launch of vision 2025, which is based on seven pillars for the economic development of Pakistan in the coming years.

President UNISAME appreciated the road map and the seven pillars namely putting people first; developing human and social capital; achieving sustained, indigenous and inclusive growth; governance, institutional reform and modernization of the public sector; energy, water and food security; private sector-led growth and entrepreneurship, developing a competitive knowledge economy through value addition and modernization of transportation infrastructure and greater regional connectivity.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver has also appreciated Ahsan Iqbal for including the SME sector and giving priority to SME growth, entrepreneurship, value addition, logistics, modernization, e-commerce and infrastructure. The Planning Minister, however, is suggested to strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) to enable it to reach the SMEs all over Pakistan.

Zulfikar Thaver emphasized the need for innovation, import substitution, export-oriented industries based on indigenous material and offered the expertise of UNISAME for rapid development on fast track basis.

SME forum

Meanwhile the 8th SME Forum to be held in Karachi next month in which all key stakeholders including State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Commercial Banks, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Business Support Fund (BSF), Sindh Enterprise Development Fund, Chambers of Commerce & Industry, IFC-World Bank, Sindh Finance Ministry, Sindh Investment Board, Women Entrepreneurs and Union of Small & Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) will be participating is certainly a major event to highlight the role of SMEs and the outlook in Pakistan.

This 8TH Pakistan SME Forum 2014 organized annually by SHAMROCK Conferences International to be held on August 19, 2014 in Karachi. This year’s theme is “Bringing SMEs to the forefront of National Priorities”.

Menin Rodrigues, Chairman, SHAMROCK Conferences International & Convener of the conference said, “We are expecting a good turnout of people, both at government and private levels, who are directly involved in addressing the issues pertaining to the sector in Pakistan and hope that the deliberations will result in a positive outcome for SMEs in Pakistan.”

Meanwhile, Zulfikar Thaver, President, Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the government to take responsibility to facilitate, encourage, support and motivate the sector for rapid growth of the economy. He emphasized the need for providing finance to SMEs at affordable markup and with repayment facilities on pay-as-you-earn schemes.

Eminent speakers and representatives of several sub-sectors of the SME sector in Pakistan will be dilating on subjects that range from regulatory inconsistency, difficulties in SMEs access to finance, banking services, taxation, transportation of goods, power and energy issues and security concerns. A special session on women entrepreneurs is also carded in the program.

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