An official confirmed on Saturday that Prime Minister Imran Khan will introduce the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Policy on November 11, 2021.
Hashim Raza, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda), stated during a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) that the policy was developed after extensive consultation with all stakeholders.
The president of the LCCI, Mian Nauman Kabir, senior vice president, Mian Rehman Aziz Chan, and the vice president were all present and spoke at the event.
In addition, the Smeda CEO stated that a distinct portion of the policy has been added to support female entrepreneurs. The regulatory environment has been relaxed, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would just need to get a small number of no-objection certificates.
Another group has been eliminated from the planned policy.” [The] government departments will be required to grant NOCs within 30 days of receiving the request. “Without a schedule and prior approval, officials from the Departments of Social Security, Labor, Punjab Food Authority, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot visit [the] SMEs for inspection,” he explained.
It was the lack of access to financing that posed the most significant challenge for SMEs, according to him, who also stated that a lack of documentation and inadequate awareness were the most pressing issues facing the sector.
He shared the findings of a survey conducted by Smeda, which revealed that 78 percent of SMEs were unable to obtain bank financing because of a lack of awareness and a lengthy application process.
According to Raza, the only way to address the country’s economic challenges is to promote and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). “We need to expand our manufacturing base as well as our labor capacity,” he said.
For the establishment of an incubation center for young entrepreneurs and business start-ups, Smeda was prepared to collaborate with the LCCI.
According to Mian Nauman Kabir, the contribution of SMEs to the GDP is approximately 40% of the total.
“There are over 5 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan, with approximately 65 percent of them based in Punjab,” he said.
It is important to provide technical training to individuals affiliated with the SME sector, according to Kabir, who also believes that initiatives should be taken to train SMEs in growing areas such as product development, quality assurance, cost reduction, and energy efficiency.