Demand to implement SME policy

Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) urged the chief executive officer of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera to implement the SME Policy in letter and spirit as it envisages the uplift of the sector.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver speaking to participants of a workshop organized by the Commerce Forum at a local club, he pointed out that the SME Policy has been prepared with great effort and cost and included all the stakeholders and their recommendations need to be acted upon seriously.

Speaking about legal empowerment of the sector he emphasized that the office of the SME Ombudsman is very essential to act as bridge between the SMEs and the government and urged the CEO SMEDA to advocate the cause of the sector and convince the policy makers to immediately install the SME Ombudsman to redress the grievances of the SMEs.

No legal empowerment can take place without an Ombudsman and if the government and the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) are serious the SME Ombudsman is the vehicle. It will save the SME the burden of expensive litigation and an entrepreneur can simply file a grievance with the ombudsman. Legal empowerment of the marginalized sector needs the window of the ombudsman and the small entrepreneur can knock on it for redress.

Other important recommendations in the SME Policy are the SME Fund, Institute for technical training at different levels, Venture Capital, Credit Guarantee Insurance and SME Export House. These need to be implemented without loss of time he added.

The SME sector is the majority sector and undoubtedly the back bone of the economy and involved in trading, manufacturing, services and farming and needs to be facilitated, encouraged, supported and educated to grow on modern lines, he reiterated.

Giving a road map he stressed the need for increasing the efficiency of banking, leasing, insurance, logistics and technical training as these are the pillars of the economy and through them the sector can grow rapidly.

The participants expressed hope that the caretaker government will do its best and thereafter the elected government will give priority to the sector realizing its importance. The participants indicated that the political parties need to include the SME agenda in their manifesto to ensure recognition of the majority sector in their economic program without which it is impossible for any economy to sustain itself.