Govt criticised for not taking advised SME uplift road map

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KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) in its committee meeting lamented that the government did not take the SME uplift road map given by the experts seriously and five years passed by without much progress except meetings, conferences and seminars which highlighted the issues. UNISAME emphasized on implementation once the awareness is created and impediments are identified, says a Press release.

UNISAME appreciated the wholehearted efforts of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and its efforts to create awareness which it did and made known the different schemes launched for the sector. However it has now to implement the recommendations of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) on fast track.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said in order to promote, encourage, facilitate, motivate and upgrade the SME sector it was suggested to the government to take measures for educating the SMEs about the new technologies in production, management, marketing, accounting & inventory control and encouraging the SMEs to modernize and make plans for balancing and replacement of their units and arrange transfer of technology.

Thaver said it was earnestly suggested to facilitate the SMEs through modern banking, leasing, insurance and logistics as these are the pillars for growth but no fast track method was initiated and for this reason the progress was slow.

The SMEs in order to progress need law and order and protection and need to feel safe. It was suggested that an SME liaison committee (SME- LC) be made like the Citizen Police liaison committee (CPLC). This is very necessary because the miscreants have again become active. Had this been done, today the SME sector would have felt secured and remained safe.

He said the Union is on record for having reiterated that the infrastructure needed to be improved and time and again UNISAME emphasized on this and promises were made but remained unfulfilled. It was also pointed out that the SME sector is dependent on logistics which encompasses transportation, warehousing and collateral management.

The need for alternate energy is being felt due to the energy crisis. It was suggested several times to subsidize alternate energy requirements. There is an urgent need of industrial estates in all the provinces and so much land is lying idle which could be used for industrial estates for SMEs and given to them at concession on pay as you earn but no action was taken. Land mafias were given land but not bona fide SME promoters.

The government needs to adopt a policy of fair taxation and also give tax benefit to innovative industries and new units he reiterated. The SMEs need their own chamber of commerce and also their own export promotion bureau and this demand remained unfulfilled.

The NPO, EDB, SMEDA, PCSIR and TDAP are all dedicated institutions and working hard for the promotion and development of the SMEs together with the commercial banks but they all need to co-ordinate with one another for integrated efforts the committee members insisted.

UNISAME suggested to the government to strengthen and equip the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and broaden its scope to enable it to reach the SMEs involved in manufacturing, farming, trading and services. Unfortunately the government kept postponing and SMEDA was not able to do full justice to the majority sector. However SMEDA’s contribution despite its meager resources is noteworthy.