KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has expressed the need to make doing business easy in the forthcoming Trade Policy to be announced in first week of August 2015 and urged the federal commerce minister Engineer Khurram Dastagir to ensure the trade policy is comprehensive and envisages comfort and facilities to SMEs to enable them grow.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said it is very important that doing business is made easy for entrepreneurs and every effort is made to make them comfortable. The business community expects friendly policies from a business friendly government. Pakistan is not very favourably placed in the international report for ease of doing business and surely needs to work on this for better placement as a business friendly country.
He said: “We should follow the advise of the World Bank Group to simplify documentation and go beyond efficiency.” Thaver appreciated the efforts of the government for introduction of online applications wherever possible but requested simplifications of documents in imports, exports, registrations, tax returns and other quarterly and annual returns which the entrepreneur is bound to submit.
The one window operation which is being propagated since long is in fact not available to domestic and foreign investors. The one window operation is very necessary for procurement of land, utility facilities, registration under factories, labour, old age benefits and the income tax departments. The applicant needs to be facilitated by a single application to a department which would ensure smooth enlistment and registration making the investor feel the welcome as a new investor and the recipient of facilities from one window.
The overseas Pakistanis or foreigners who wish to start business in Pakistan must be facilitated with full information from the commercial attaches in Pakistan embassies or consulates and all counsellors must be advised to link with the relevant departments in Pakistan.
Whilst appreciating several measures taken by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) for comprehending the requirements of the SMEs, he urged them to do more and impress upon the government to facilitate the SME sector.
He said we conducted a survey and collected information from the SMEs as to their requirements from the trading, farming, services and manufacturing sectors found that the SMEs are badly affected by the energy crisis, the week logistics, the interrupted supply of raw material and packing material. The botheration the entrepreneur has to go through for setting up alternate energy devices from the environment ministry. The provincial governments are not facilitating the furnace oil industry which is considered alternate fuel for energy. The environment ministries are creating hurdles for bonafide furnace oil producers who are taking all environmental safety requirements. The no objection certificates (NOC) are only issued to those who oblige officials.
The new entrants are now planning to set up industries due to improvement in law and order situation, but are not satisfied with the lack of information and wish that some information and advisory service is available regarding related information about imports and exports, taxes and other necessary information required for preparation of feasibility.
UNISAME has proposed to the ministry to facilitate modernization of industries, allocation of land in industrial estates, export incentives and setting up of SME export house. The setting up of SME gallery for goods manufactured by SMEs is very important and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) needs to work on this facility for the sector.
UNISAME has made a special request and suggested to the federal commerce minister to establish a committee to co-ordinate and integrate the services of TDAP, SMEDA, SECP, Board of Investment, Engineering Development Board (EDB), and Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) under the Economic Affairs Division for a robust SME promotion and development as these institutions are inclined to promote the sector and have the capabilities but need direction and motivation. Finally UNISAME has urged the government to set up an office of SME Ombudsman just like the tax and the banking ombudsman for redressal.