Karachi—The State Bank of Pakistan is committed to provide financial access to 50 per cent of SMEs in the country through NFIS (National Financial Inclusion Strategies), while aiming to extend Rs400 billion as SME loans by the year 2020. The stakeholders urged the creation of a supportive regulatory environment, to optimize productivity through technological and financial access, as the SMEs have the potential to bring a powerful economic revolution in a developing country like Pakistan.
This was stated by Assistant Director SBP, Imran Ahmed while addressing the 10th Pakistan SME Conference 2016 organized by Shamrock Conferences International, concluded in Karachi on Tuesday. The experts and regulators deliberated upon broad-based solutions for accelerating growth in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector. The theme of the conference was “Facilitating SMEs Makes Economic Sense”. The discussions covered key development topics like; Infrastructure, Regulatory realignments, Financing, Reforms, Sustainability, Facilitation & Empowerment’, along with the subjects of Good Governance & Human Resources development’.
The stakeholders urged tangible measures to modernize infrastructure, banking, leasing, insurance and logistics to build capacity. The need to reduce taxes and duties on Alternate Energy solutions for the SMEs, to over-come the hazards of energy-crisis was also highlighted. In his keynote address, the Board Member of SMEDA, Engr M.A. Jabbar stressed, “Advocacy for SME development needs to be strengthened, and preferential treatment should be given to the SMEs, which is the deprived segment” while the Chairperson of Sindh Board of Investments, Ms. Naheed Memon said, “China is looking at Pakistan as a partner. Our institutions must perform well to take full advantage of CPEC as countless ancillary businesses will emerge from this endeavor.”
The Group Head of Micro & SME at Bank Al Falah, Khurram Hussain, who gave a presentation on “Re-Thinking SMEs–To do Things Differently” emphasized digital technologies and global best-practices to ease SME lending; which is showing better performance, which is a great success for the SME and banking sectors.” The SBP made a special mention of the initiatives taken by the bank. Zulfikar Thaver, President UNISAME and Chairman of the Technical Committee of National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) stated that “Establishment of new well equipped and specialized industrial estates for SMEs is a part of the strategic way-forward. Research and Development activities must be nurtured for creating collective advantages.
The government must promote the housing industry, which boosts the demand for more than 36 sectors and a vast range of products. Special incentives and tax-relief programs should be offered to promote transfer of new technologies among the SMEs. The conflict-resolution mechanism (Ombudsman) must be speeded up to facilitate smoother operations and faster growth, while closer coordination between SME promotion institutions is also a need of the day.” Earlier, Menin Rodrigues, Convener & Chairman, Shamrock Conferences International said, “It is heartening to see the SME Forum, continue for a decade and evolve into a powerful platform for finding solutions for the sector. There have been a number of favorable interventions by the State Bank of Pakistan to address the issues, in particular, the working of an action plan for the implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS).”