November 28, 2018: The government needs to reduce cost of doing business by softening uncertain tax regime and stringent regulatory framework to allow huge number of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) operating in the informal sector.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior Policy Advisor Suleman Ghani stated this in the first session of the second day proceedings of 3rd SME Conference organized by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) with the assistance of University of Management and Technology (UMT) at Alahmra Hall.
Speaking as chief guest Suleman Ghani pointed out that more than 90 per cent of the enterprises are SMEs but as compared to 3.2 million registered SMEs, a much higher number of SMEs are doing business in the informal sector, which are frightened to get registered because of the uneasy business environment in the country. No economy could flourish without bringing informal sector enterprises into formal sector, he opined and suggested to address this issue on emergent basis to bring a better change in this direction, as the incumbent government had included the SME development in its top priority agenda.
Earlier, SMEDA Chief Executive Officer Sher Ayub Khan said that SME sector has played a vital role in accelerating economic growth through employment generation and poverty alleviation. Against this backdrop, he added, it is not surprising that SMEs have become a popular topic of academic research. USA, Japan and Malaysia are some examples which promoted universities to play an active role in determining policy direction based on concrete evidence, he said and hoped that SMEDA initiative to partner with UMT would pave a way for promoting industry-academia linkages with other national and international universities.
He acknowledged that very useful insights had been gained into the diverse universe of SME sector during the conference, which would be helpful in influencing policy reforms and support the creation of robust and best practice SME ecosystem in Pakistan. Witnessing the great interest of stakeholders in the 3rd SME conference, CEO SMEDA announced to hold the 4th SME Conference in March 2019.
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Zonal Chairman and Vice President Shafiq Anjum expressed satisfaction over SMEDA initiative to launch SME Conference as an annual feature and hoped that the research obtained through the conference would practically be utilized to formulate conducive policies for SMEs.
This is notable that two research tracks and three panel-discussion sessions were held during the first day proceedings on SME Policy Framework, Entrepreneurship & Start-up Ecosystem, and Industry
Innovation and Infrastructure, whereas on the second day, two panel discussions along with a research track sessions on Opportunities for SMEs, and Regional Integration in CPEC were conducted.
Mariyan Stoyanov, Chief Director of the Directorate of SME Development, Bulgaria, was also present.