The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the attention of Prime Minister Imran Khan to the big challenge of increasing exports by speedy SME promotion and development and fast track SME uplift to increase exports substantially to earn valuable foreign exchange.
UNISAME reiterated the urgent need to increase exports through the majority SME sector by giving them marketing, technical and financial support and promoting and facilitating them on priority basis. As without putting the sector on fast track no significant progress will be made in exports. Value addition of goods is done by the SMEs and it is of paramount importance to exploit the full potential of the sector
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said no doubt the government is very sincere and dedicated but since the need of the hour is to increase exports the government needs to act promptly and take measures promptly. A scientific approach is required and stakeholders need to be consulted and their recommendations be implemented forthwith.
Thaver said now with the depreciation of the rupee exports are likely to increase as we have become competitive but a strategy is needed for regaining lost markets and finding new markets and promoting non traditional goods. The textile sector is the biggest followed by rice and other export items. All deserve the best attention the experts said. The geographical indication (GI) items like basmati rice, special spices and commodities, some food items and some hand loom items known for their GI popularity need marketing support. Every effort must be made to export more items to more countries of the world. Our embassies and consulates all over the world need to play a dynamic role and needless to state the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) needs to be revamped and placed under a private sector chief executive for extraordinary results. TDAP is not inclined towards the SME sector which needs a bureau of its own. The sector also needs a strong Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) .The PCSIR also needs to be awakened to play a role in modernization of the sector.
Unfortunately the local manufacturers who are making goods with indigenous materials have also increased their prices although they are not burdened with the depreciation except as far as logistics is concerned. The price control authorities must seriously monitor their behaviour.
The SMEs engaged in manufacturing traditional goods namely, sports, surgical , cutlery, leather, textiles , commodities and light engineering goods need to upgrade and modernize to come up to international standards.
The primary , secondary and tertiary sectors also need the best attention of the government.
Needless to state that the primary sector also called the agricultural sector is the backbone and needs to be modernized on war footings. The value addition is done by the secondary sector and needs technical and marketing support besides finance at affordable mark up
UNISAME has recommended an SME technical institute for upgrading the SME units to take them to the next level and enhancing benchmark. Also for arranging joint ventures collaboration and transfer of technology for SMEs. The sector could benefit from CEPEC and the institute could play a proactive role. The SME Institute could also offer much needed training to the sector in different areas and segments.
Time is the essence and every single day matters. The governments low key approach and slow decisions will prove damaging if the implementation of the recommendations of the SME promotion and development stakeholders for the Export Credit Guarantee Insurance at low premium, specific SME Bank, Exim Bank, SME Bureau, Tax incentives and one window operations are delayed any more.
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