Serious steps urged to promote SME sector

LARKANA: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) urged the convener of the 8th Pakistan SME Forum to highlight the fact that SME promotion and development is no charity it is the responsibility of the state and to advise the policy makers to facilitate, encourage, support and motivate the sector for rapid growth of the economy.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver in a message to the chairman Shamrock Conferences Menin Rodrigues stated that the SME Forum to be held on 19th August 2014 at  a local hotel at Karachi to be attended by the stakeholders needs to impress upon the SMEs to modernize their farms, agricultural produce processing, manufacturing units and services. The best value addition could be done by SMEs and they need to be educated on the subject.

He outlined the need for providing finance to SMEs at affordable mark up and with repayment facilities on pay as you earn schemes.

Secondly he stressed the need for SME credit guarantee insurance without which the banks will not finance the sector as various schemes of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) have not achieved the desired results as banks are not prepared to take risk.

There is urgent need for incentives and it is very essential that industrial estates are established with in house facilities for alternate energy generation and the land is allotted to the SMEs at concession and on instalments.

Regarding training he pointed out that there are institutions for managerial training but training for operators, supervisors is lacking. Training at all levels is required.

The taxation system needs to be revisited. It should be based on lower taxes and higher collection and tax benefits for new entrants, innovative industries, import substitution industries and export industries based on indigenous raw material.

The SME Forum will fail in its duty if it does not recommend duty free imports of energy generation devises, raw and packing material and income generation vehicles, farm equipments, tractors, harvesters and other modern farm machinery.

The prime minister’s youth loan scheme is appreciated but its scope needs to be enhanced to include every deserving youth having sound business plan on merit and not left to balloting.

The policymakers need to examine the report of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of World Bank regarding desired changes in SMEDA for making it a very effective body for SME promotion and Development.

Other aspects which need to be considered by the policy makers are the establishment of SME chamber of commerce, technological institute, export house, ombudsman for SME grievances, SME specific fund or bank, setting up of dehydration units and cold storage units  near farms and logistic systems including collateral management.

Basically the SMEs need a better environment, educative information, technology, finance, incentives and marketing support for growth and the government is duty bound to cater to their requirements being the majority sector and the backbone of the economy. It is also the back forte of the large sector.

UNISAME expects the SME Forum will pass a resolution at the conclusion of the forum requesting priority for the sector and submit the resolution to the ministry of industries and production through SMEDA.

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