Call to set up SME liaison committee at SMEDA

KARACHI: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has invited the attention of Ghulam Murtuza Jatoi Federal Minister for Industries & Production (MoI&P) to the urgent need to set up a SME liaison committee at the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) for the redressal of SME issues with other ministries as per mandate given in ordinance.

UNISAME in a statement asserted that any issue relating to SMEs that comes under the authority and SMEDA is empowered by virtue of the ordinance to plead for the cause of the sector.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver appreciating the SME promotion and development work of SMEDA since its inception said there was no cell in

SMEDA to take up SME issues and it was not inclined to take up the SMEissues so as not to interfere with matters relating to other ministries.

He pointed out that when UNISAME raised the issue of setting up the SME export house, SMEDA was restrained because it came under the domain of the ministry of commerce and it came under their hierarchy even though it was a matter of the SME exporter which was given step motherly treatment as compared to the big exporters. The SME exporters need to be facilitated and certainly need their own export house.

Secondly when UNISAME pointed out tax anomalies, SMEDA was shy to talk to the ministry of finance. Likewise when the issue of law and order is raised and protection squads are needed SMEDA is reluctant to talk to the Inspector General (IG) of Police. When the issue of excessive load shedding is raised SMEDA is again shy to speak with the concerned ministry. There is no need for SMEDA to remain passive. UNISAME is proactive and expects SMEDA to join hands for the comfort of the sector.

Matters relating to law and order, energy, logistics, science and technology, quality control and standardization require the intervention of SMEDA and SMEDA should not hesitate to take up the matter with the concerned ministries. UNISAME always voices the concerns of the SMEs but certainly expects SMEDA to join in, as a word from SMEDA carries weight and reinforces the complaint and the concerned department would take it seriously if it comes from SMEDA.

Thaver said the articles of association and memorandum permit SMEDA to advocate the cause of the SMEs. The aim and objective clause of SMEDA ordinance also empowers SMEDA to speak for the sector and remove hurdles.

He said SMEDA means a lot to the SMEs and they always believe that SMEDA will speak about the concerns of the sector.

He said in this matter the ex chief executive officer (CEO) of SMEDA Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera took the initiative and was never reluctant to speak to the ministries about SME issues but it would have been wise to set up a proper cell for SME complaints and after examination of the complaint the matter is refer to the concerned ministry for deliberations and redress.

He said UNISAME suggested the matter of establishing an SME Liaison Committee (SME-LC) jointly with UNISAME to act between the entrepreneur and the government body but with the change of guard at SMEDA the matter remained in suspense. Sultan Tiwana the ex general manager of SMEDA hadendorsed the suggestion. It is never too late and the SME-LC can be set up now.

The union chief is very keen that Alamgir Chaudhry the acting CEO of SMEDA who is known for his dedicated hard work and will set up the SME-LC and accordingly will direct all the provincial offices and representative offices to set up the SME-LC to handle complaints and connect with the provincial and federal governments for redress as per the aim and object clause of the SMEDA ordinance to support, facilitate and make doing of business easy for the SMEs.

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