The policy is expected to help in developing SMEs through public and private partnership by creating maximum job opportunities for poverty reduction and propelling country's exports, said Jahangir Khan Tareen, minister for industries production and special initiatives, after the first meeting of the National Committee on SMEs.
Speaking at news conference, the minister said the policy aims at creating globally competitive SMEs by ensuring a hassle-free business environment, making provision for modern infrastructure and institutional support structure for access to resources and services. Dr Shamshad Akhtar, governor, State Bank of Pakistan, Shahab Khawaja, Industry secretary, also attended the news conference.
The SME policy 2007 was approved in principle by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in May 2006 and was also approved by the federal cabinet in January this year. It was notified in June 2007.
The minister hoped that the SME policy would increase share of small manufacturing enterprises from 5.5 per cent to 7 per cent, while decreasing regulations and thereby reducing the cost of doing business in the country.
The implementation initiatives include establishment of a Credit Guarantee Agency for SMEs with a fund of Rs3000 million, an SME Subcontracting Exchange at a cost of Rs26.09 million, an SME Development Institute by spending Rs115.66 million, an SME Export House costing Rs156.89 million and creation of an SME Promotion Council with a fund of Rs143.72 million.
A Business Support Fund and an SME Competitiveness Support are already in operation as part of the initial phase of the SME policy implementation, the minister added.
Tareen said that to ensure proper implementation of the SME policy, a permanent mechanism of monitoring had been developed in the form of National Committee on SMEs along with the four provincial Committees on SMEs.
The minister said that the report on SMEs, to be submitted to the parliament based on findings of SME baseline survey, is in progress in 17 districts.
The minister said the government shall take measures for promoting women entrepreneurship , cluster development and also focus on neglected or untapped sectors of the economy. He said that strengthening industry academia linkages shall also be a key feature of the policy.
Tareen said under the policy credit information centres are being established across the country for the development of SME sector. Establishment of a data development bank to facilitate the sector is also progressing.
He said workshops would be organised in every city to inform the people about the importance of SME sector for their own benefit and for the betterment of the country.
Dr Shamshad Akhtar said that banks are following prudential regulations for the provision of loans to the SME sector. In the SBP, a consultative committee has been established to facilitate the SME sector which is represented by the presidents of the banks. She added that credit enhancement to SME sector would help reduce lending rates to the sector.
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