SME development: a policy priority to create jobs

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Islamabad

Being an important part of the economic strategy, the government has been according special attention to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to materialize its plan of job creation and improving the overall GDP growth rate.
For achieving this objective, the government had devised a comprehensive National SMEs policy, 2019 which covers a range of sectors for sustainable development of this particular sector, official sources said.
Currently, there are around 3.2 million SMEs working in the country, which employ over 27 million of the labour force, according to official data. The major exporting sector such as textile, garments, surgical goods, sporting goods, leather, footwear, IT, rice and fruits mostly comprise small and medium business. The policy is aimed at promoting industrialization, innovation, enterprise development and export growth in the country and would facilitate rapid growth in the SME sector. The National SMEs policy 2019 aims at sustainable growth of small and medium enterprises with a broader objective of enhancing their contribution in the social and economic development of the country.
Under the policy, establishment of endowment fund and an SME support fund is also on cards to finance the initiative proposed in the policy. Moreover, the policy is more comprehensive in its coverage of issues constraining SME growth. The sources said that the policy covers areas such as trade and tax policy, regulatory reforms, public procurement targets, infrastructure and skills needs and entrepreneurship in more depth and detail than the previous year.
Meanwhile, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that SMEs were the backbone of national economy as they constituted over 90 percent of all enterprises, contributed 40 percent to GDP growth, employed 80 percent of non-agricultural labour force and were a major source of exports.
SMEs played key role in the economic development of any country, but these businesses in Pakistan were facing multiple problems due to lack of supportive policies, he added.—APP