Ahsan for achieving $150bn export target by 2025

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday that achieving the goal of $150 billion by 2025 can be realized through a strong and robust Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) sector.

“Pakistan is a country of 100 million dynamic, talented and passionate youth, who form the strongest asset of the country and the government is committed to empowering them by providing various opportunities to harness entrepreneurial success through provision of credit for self employment, and internship opportunities to become engine of economic growth”, he said.

Speaking in a Roundtable Conference on “Devising Policies for SME growth” organized by Young Development Fellows (YDFs), he said “to achieve 8% growth rate, we need out of box solutions, business as usual is not an option”.

He said through Pakistan Vision 2025 the government is seeking to establish a new type of collaborative partnership between Government, Private Sector and Academia with government formulating supportive public policy; private sector providing investment and universities providing ideas and solutions.

He said the Trio of Government-Academia-Private Sector partnership can bring a transformational change to serve the purpose of inclusive and sustainable development in the country.

Participants of roundtable discussed several issues that are hindering the performance of Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan.

Federal Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir highlighted the importance of SME sector in Pakistan in general and in his constituency Gujranwala as particular.

He focused on learning from the experiences of foreign countries.

Commenting on loan mechanism set out by banks, he urged the need to find a balance between difficult conditions and requirements to get a loan for business and encouraging people to apply for a loan.

Rana Afzal Khan, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Finance shed light on the role of trade associations and how to strengthen these associations by making them research-oriented. Sectoral approach towards SME sector is also an important issue that needs attention to kick-start growth in SME sector.

The house discussed the idea of having collaboration between universities and private sector.

Issues like provision of capital and seed money to startups and small businesses, supporting existing ventures, strengthening franchise system, documentation of success stories, partnership of SMEDA with business schools, enticing micro-finance and commercial banks to finance entrepreneurs and reducing risk factor, revitalizing and revamping banking court system and regulatory framework and training/capacity-building of entrepreneurs among others were deliberated upon.

This conference was a second installment of various roundtable conferences YDFs plan to organize on issues of national importance. Last week a roundtable on interfaith harmony was organized by YDFs.

The Conference was attended by Engr. Khurram Dastgir, Federal Minister for Commerce; Rana Afzal, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Finance; Alamgir Chaudhry, SMEDA; Zulfiqar Thaver, President UNISAME; Mr. Junaid Mohmand; Head Operations SME Bank; William Butterfield, Senior Economist USAID and representatives from World Bank, COMSATS, MAJU, USAID, First Women Bank, National University of Science and Technology and several other organizations.

Source: APP