Expertise in trade representation stressed

Karachi: The Trade Associations are lacking expertise in trade representation and are merely functioning as social organizations and not advocating the cause of the sectors they represent.

President Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) Zulfikar Thaver said it has been observed that even the trade delegations taken by the trade associations are merely like picnics and not conducted scientifically in the true sense of the word. Most of the trade leaders who lead the delegation are not even aware of the size of the crop or commodities, whereas they are supposed to know export figures on their finger tips.

Thaver urged the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) to conduct training sessions and to teach the trade bodies how to run an association and how to voice the concerns of the trade in the proper forums.

It is the primary duty of the trade associations to provide information, educate the members to modernize and upgrade, arrange for financial facilities with institutions, advocate the cause of the trade, find solutions to issues like supply chains, high handedness of government officials, working hand in hand with law enforcing agencies for law and order in industrial areas and above all to promote the line of trade in international markets.

Giving the example of one leading trade association he said the association failed to protect its geographical indication (GI) right for its commodity and showed lethargy in taking up the matter in the proper forums. He lamented that some associations are only catering to the big traders and ignoring the SMEs.

It is the duty of the trade association to represent the big and the small and earnestly represent and voice the concerns of all.

UNISAME complained that the regulator of the trade bodies working under the ministry of commerce had discriminated by classifying the members as associate members and the others as members merely on the basis of the member not being registered as sales tax payer. He pointed out that the learned regulator failed to comprehend that on certain food items the sales tax is not applicable at all yet the member not being registered as sales tax payer is classified as associate member.

The Union urged the regulator to see the logic and wisdom in the matter of classification and instead of encouraging the SMEs he has discarded them by this discrimination of treating them as inferior members.

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