Non-seriousness shown in resolving SME issues
ISLAMABAD: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) expressed deep concern at the nonseriousness of the ministries towards resolving the issues of the SME sector at a meeting of the Steering Committee held Tuesday at Board of Investment (BoI) to revise the SME policy 2007 which remained just a document due to nonimplementation. This must not happen again. Policies need to be implemented in letter and spirit the members asserted, says a Press release.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver raised serious objection to the absence of adviser to prime minister (PM) Imran Khan Razzak Dawood who failed to turn up. The meeting was cochaired by secretary Ministry of Industries and Production (MoI&P) and Senator Nauman Wazir also considered an SME expert due to his long association with the sector.
Thaver urged the chairpersons and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Sher Ayub, the executive director of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Syed Samar Hasnain, the consultants of USAID, Nadia Jehangir general manager (GM) SMEDA and other participants to take notice of the fact that the SMEs need intensive care and not simple pain killers. Due to depreciation of the rupee the imported raw material is become very costly and the SME units have become noncompetitive. The SME units if not facilitated and supported will be compelled to close down.
Whilst appreciating the help of USAID and the efforts of SMEDA and SBP for uplift and facilitating the sector, he said the SME policy 2007 was a perfect document which envisaged every aspect of the promotion and development of the sector and was an inclusive policy prepared with the consensus of the stakeholders. He urged the USAID and SMEDA to make alterations wherever required and without taking much time re-frame the policy giving the matter top priority. He offered help and support for fine tuning of the SME policy 2007.
The sector has been given priority by the PM which it rightly deserves. This priority needs to be translated by his government and SME promotion and development placed on fast track.
Thaver assisted by the UNISAME Islamabad convener Tariq Baluch emphasized the need for SME export promotion bureau, SME Institute, SME specific bank, Export Credit Guarantee, SME Ombudsman and other important facilities like E-commerce, commercial property leasing, collateral management and logistics. All these are promised in the SME policy 2007. There is no need to reinvent the wheel and the work done by SMEDA and other stakeholders be adopted. UNISAME participants also sought 0 rating for rice sector and industry status being the second largest foreign exchange earner.
Syed Samar Hasnain executive director SBP explained in details the steps taken by SBP for financial inclusion under the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and offered help, support and guidelines to USAID team to revise the SME policy 2007. Akhtiar Ahmed senior joint director SBP also appreciated the efforts of SMEDA and USAID. Nadia Jahangir GM SMEDA gave a detailed and elaborate presentation of the SME policy and the USAID consultants gave a detailed presentation which was open to discussions and bureaucrats and executives of institutions questioned the wisdom and rationale.
Senator Nauman Wazir asked USAID consultants to acquaint him with the doable matters to enable to take up the matter in the parliament for redress and necessary legislation of regulatory bodies and other institutions. He endorsed the fact that the SMEs deserve the best attention of the government and SMEDA's size and scope be increased and also placed directly under the PM. A strong and able SMEDA can do wonders for the sector. A survey is also required to determine the size of the sector.
Sonia Janghir Seth executive Chemonics, a USAID coordinator assured to do the needful.
ISLAMABAD: (L-R) Nadia Jahangir GM Smeda, Zulfikar Thaver President UNISAME, Senator NaumanWazir, CEO SMEDA Sher Ayub and Javed Khattak PC Smeda KPK.