Former finance minister and renowned political economist Dr Shahid Javed Burki on Thursday called for enhancing ratio of domestic savings, tax collection and investments in SME sector for sustainable future development of Pakistan.
He expressed these views at a seminar “SME Sector Opportunities and Challenges in Pakistan” jointly organized by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and Burk Institute of Public Policy (BIPP) here at SMEDA Head Office.
SMEDA CEO Farhan Aziz Khawja and economists including Shahid Najam and Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad addressed the seminar.
Secretary Industries, Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) Managing Director, Secretary P&D, Secretary Finance, Federal Ombudsman and a number of government and business community representatives also attended the seminar through video link.
Dr Shahid Javaid Burki, who was key speaker of the seminar, advised to follow the Chinese methodology of economic development for Pakistan. He added that when he made the first visit of China in 1965 it was a far less developed country than Pakistan. But, now it had become the world’s 2nd largest economy, he said and informed that China had taken such quantum leap in development by restricting its SMEs, manpower and technology as per requirements of the global markets. He said, “The rich opportunities available for SME development in Pakistan also need to be exploited in line with the global standards and it is a great challenge for SMEDA and the government in the current macro-economic situation of Pakistan, but without coming up with the world markets, SMEs could not play its due role in economic development of Pakistan.”
He pointed out that huge population of youth and the agriculture sector were the major strengths of Pakistan, which could play pivotal role in SMEs growth. The youth should be provided with the market-oriented education and training, whereas the agriculture produces should be converted into value added products in accordance with international standards of processing and packaging that would enable us to tap a number of the unexplored global markets for Pakistan’s exports.
To a question, Dr Burki reiterated that no country could maintain sustainable economic development without enhancing domestic savings and tax ratios, for which “we need to revamp our fiscal system as well as support mechanism of SME growth”.
Shahid Najam, Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad and the other speakers also highlighted the need of SME development by overcoming the existing challenges through conducive policy framework.
They said that SMEDA should be entrusted a lead role in economic development of Pakistan through political ownership, policy stability and conducive business environment. In this regard, the case of
Turkey’s SME development organization KOSGAP was also quoted, which was considered to be one of the best SME development practice in the region.
CEO SMEDA Farhan Aziz Khawaja, in his address, thanked the guest-economists and acknowledged that BIPP was a world class institution to provide answers to the complex public policy questions in accordance with the “New Public Management” (NPM).
He said that SMEDA was busy to implement a plan for capacity building of the educated youth through higher education institutes of Pakistan that would help young graduates to start SME businesses through Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Programme.