Govt asked to change outlook towards SME sector

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government to change its outlook towards the SME sector and do out of box thinking to bring about economic turn around quickly through the majority sector.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver urged Menin Rodrigues chairman Shamrock Conferences hosting the 7th SME Conference on 19th September 2013 in Lahore to benefit from the presence of all stakeholders and impress upon the PML-N government to put SME promotion and development on fast track and give road map to the policy makers in the conference to make it meaningful.

He said the main issue of the SMEs is the non implementation of the SME policy. The promised institutions for SME promotions have not been established. The policy envisages the establishment of much needed institutions of finance, trade promotion, facilitation and guarantee. The policy framed with huge expense and participation of all stakeholders has been shelved.

The SMEs need their own chamber of commerce, an export house, technical institute, ombudsman, exim bank, SME venture capital fund, credit guarantee insurance and without these institutions the SMEs uplift is not possible he emphasized. Thaver said the sector needs specific SME banking facilities, leasing and logistics.

He said whilst the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) is doing its best it is not equipped fully and lacks personnel, funds, out reach and needs to be strengthened to increase its scope and radius. The union chief said there is hyper inflation and the cost of production has made the SME sector uncompetitive. Besides the poor law and order, energy crisis has made it very difficult to survive. The government needs to take immediate steps to control the devaluation of the rupee which is making imports unviable and the costly import of raw materials is reflecting on the selling prices of goods heavily.

There is no support for the farm sector and the ago based industries. The government needs to exempt all duties on farm inputs, machinery, tractors, harvestors, generators and alternate energy devices to promote farming and connected agro based industries to bring about food sufficiency to reduceheavy imports bill.

UNISAME has high hopes and is confident that the 7th SME Conference will highlight and impress upon the government to take measures to promote and develope the majority sector which is the backbone, vibrant, engine of growth, employment and income generation sector.

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