LAHORE: Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Mr. Yaseen Anwar emphasized the importance of the SME sector to the development of the nation’s economy and reiterated the central bank’s support in building confidence among stakeholders.
He was addressing delegates at the 7TH Pakistan SME Conference 2013 organized by SHAMROCK Conferences International (www.shamrockconferences.net) on September 19, 2013 at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore. The SBP Chief inaugurated the annual moot and delivered the keynote address.
SMEs do not have access to financing from the formal sector and have been primarily relying on the credit facilities from informal sector.
The central bank is also formulating Prudential Regulations for the SMEs, including setting up of Credit Information Bureau, enabling commercial banks to finance SMEs. The Governor said the State Bank of Pakistan will facilitate the SMEs in the best way possible.
The opening session was chaired by Mr. Farooq Iftikhar, President, Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) and interventions by Mr. Javed Iqbal, Head SMEs, Bank Alfalah; Mr. Sultan Tiwana, GG, SMEDA and Mr. Javed Iqbal, Project Manager, IFC-World Bank Group. The speakers dilated upon the need for the central bank to facilitate the SMEs in their quest for financial needs, thus strengthening institutional ties to gain access to finance.
A special session on women entrepreneurs was chaired by Dr. Shehla Javed Akram, Chairperson of the Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and addressed by Ms. Asma Maryam of SMEDA, Ms. Gulalai Khan of ASPLUMS and Ms. Rahat Bano, Immediate Past President of Rotary Multan. The women presenters spoke about the importance of level playing field for women, financial inclusion and communications as the key to uplift of women as entrepreneurs.
The Panel Discussion on ‘Promoting and Facilitating the SME Sector’ was chaired by Mr. Samar Hasnain, Director SME, State Bank of Pakistan; the panellists included, Mr. Basit Maqsood Abbasi, CEO, TUSDEC, Mr. Ateeq ur Rehman, Advisor SMEs, Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and Mr. Siddiqur Rehman Rana of SME Development Center. The panellists emphasized on the central bank to create an enabling environment for the development of the SME sector in Pakistan.
Experts in the SME sector have stressed the need to fast track implementation of the SME Policy which envisages establishment of institutions of finance, trade promotion, facilitation and guarantees. The demand for an SME Chamber of Commerce, an export house, technical institute, ombudsman, venture capital fund, credit guarantee insurance are some of focal points that require the attention of the government to uplift the SME sector.
Several key organizations besides the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Commercial Banks, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), Business Support Fund (BSF) of the Ministry of Finance, Lahore Chambers of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), IFC-World Bank and Union of Small & Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) participated in the conference.