The president of the Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) Zulfikar Thaver invited the attention of Asad Umer federal finance minister (FM) to the need for level playing field for the SMEs and urged him to ensure facilities, support and encouragement for the sector on priority basis as identified by prime minister (PM) Imran Khan both before and after being elected PM. UNISAME is awaiting action on the sincere wishes of the PM to uplift the sector.
Speaking on a local television channel today he highlighted the grievances of the sector and complained of step motherly treatment for the SMEs because of lack of support for marketing and technical up gradation.
The sector needs access to finance, support for installing alternate energy, marketing support to enter global markets, technical support to upgrade and incentives for innovative industries.
Thaver said Asad Umer by virtue of being the FM has become the chairman of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) which aims at financial access to every segment.
The NFIS also has an agenda for capacity building of the SMEs and all stakeholders in SME promotion and development. It is therefore incumbent on the partners of NFIS leadership namely World Bank, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to implement the strategy.
The working group of capacity building under the NFIS recommended strengthening of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and immediate increase in its size and scope to outreach the SMEs all over Pakistan. It also recommended training in risk management for commercial banks.
UNISAME has submitted road map for working from grass root level. The primary sector which is the source of all raw material needs to modernize. The secondary sector which does the value addition needs to fill the technological gap and the tertiary sector also called the services sector needs to be facilitated.
The SME units need land at concession under ‘ pay as you earn schemes ‘, uninterrupted energy, reduction of duties on raw material , logistics, marketing support from Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and technological support from Engineering Development Board (EDB) and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR). The training of trainers (ToT) and Centre of Excellence are tools for sharpening the efficiency of institutions serving the sector and this could be managed by the National Institute of Business and Finance (NIBAF). The SMEs have high expectations from the new government and time is the essence as the challenges are many due to global down-slide in global buying and remaining competitive. UNISAME therefore urges the FM to act fast and form a co-ordination committee under NFIS for fast track promotion and integrated efforts of SBP, SMEDA, TDAP, EDB, PCSIR, NIBAF and UNISAME.
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