Non-se­ri­ous­ness shown in re­solv­ing SME is­sues

The Financial Daily - - NATIONAL -

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.

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