PM to unveil SME policy on Thursday: Smeda CEO

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Prime Minister Imran Khan will announce the SME Policy on November 11, 2021. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda), Hashim Raza announced this while speaking at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday.

Raza said that the policy has been formed after due consultation with the stakeholders. The Smeda CEO said a separate section has been introduced in the policy to support women entrepreneurs. The regulatory regime has been eased, while the SMEs would have to get only a few no objection certificates. Others have been abolished in the upcoming policy, he added. He said the government departments will be bound to issue NOCs within 30 days. Social Security, Labour, Punjab Food Authority and EPA officials cannot visit the SMEs for inspection without schedule and prior approval, he said. The lack of access to the financing was the biggest challenge for the SMEs, he said, adding that the lack of documentation and awareness were the major issues of the SME sector. Sharing findings of a survey carried out by Smeda, he said 78 percent of the SMEs could not avail bank finance facility due to the lack of awareness and lengthy process.

Raza said that the only solution to the economic challenges was to promote and support the SMEs. “We have to increase our production base and labour capacity,” he said. Smeda was ready to collaborate with the LCCI for the establishment of an incubation centre for the young entrepreneurs and business starters. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that the SMEs contribution to the GDP was around 40 percent. “There are over 5 million SMEs in Pakistan and of these around 65 per cent are based in Punjab,” he said. The LCCI has highlighted the importance of providing technical training to the individuals associated with the SME sector, Kabir said, adding that the steps should be taken to provide training to the SMEs in the emerging areas of productivity improvement, quality assurance, cost reduction and energy efficiency.

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