PCJCCI seeks new SME policy in line with world market
SALIM AHMED LAHORE—President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) Shah Faisal Afridi, has urged the government to introduce new SME Policy to enable the business community of Pakistan to redesign the entrepreneurship in line with the world market.
Afridi said on Sunday that the brands emerge from the domestic markets, therefore domestic markets must be redesigned in a way that they become landmark for local brands in international markets, which will help meet the challenges to be faced in the export promotion moves. He said that a fresh and progressive SME Policy is need of the hour to equip the SME sector with new Technology, innovation and e-services for developing brands based trade and industry in the domestic market.
He pointed out that the first ever SME Policy was announced by the government in 2007, but its implementation has not been made successfully. The present government being a business oriented government should take lead to develop a fresh SME Policy by taking the entire stakeholders of SME sector on board through SMEDA. He suggested to design the new SME policy focused on export development in the changing trends of the international marketing of SMEs. He maintained that, this is the time that we should maintain an open international stance to integrate our economy into the global economy, and for this, we must develop markets at home more appropriately termed as Domestic markets or Domestic Commerce. He pointed that, what we import and what we export is a product of these domestic markets; efficient and well-developed domestic markets fuel the economy as well as international trade, added Afridi.
Faisal Afridi explicated, “If we are able to develop these domestic markets, we will be able to develop brand names for high margin exports”. He mentioned that Pakistan needs to develop new approaches to strengthening domestic markets. He regarded economy as a system that needs to work as a whole, with domestic and external trade supporting each other. “It is in domestic markets that all manner of innovation and entrepreneurship takes place which later lead to higher exports and foreign exchange earnings”, told Afridi.
Faisal Afridi informed that, Domestic commerce primarily includes retail and wholesale trades, restaurants and hotels, construction, transport storage and communication, financial and real estate and personal services. He said that this sector is where the poor and the middle class are hidden and it contains the largest number of small and medium enterprises. He urged that fixing this sector should be the new SME policy if we want an egalitarian development.
Faisal Afridi mentioned that according to the Global Competitiveness Report, Pakistan ranks poorly in terms of domestic commerce measures: business sophistication, goods market efficiency as well as property rights protection. He said that in all three measures, Pakistan ranks lowest when compared to other Asian countries including India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and China.
Faisal Afridi suggested that The Public and Private sector should follow a vibrant vision of transforming Pakistani cities into a dynamic commercial hub of the region-a tourist destination, a shopping Centre, regional headquarters for Multinational Corporation etc. “We in Pakistan must encourage fresh thinking and allow technical people into government to make good things happen, Pakistan has lacked think tanks and universities for many years, economic thinking and debate is seriously discounted often being left to non-professionals”, elaborated Afridi.
He also reiterated that we are often too loose with the term ‘policy. He said that the economists should study a situation, before formulating any policy. Only with the help of in-depth analysis, a better policy framework could be devised.