KARACHI: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has called for development in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.
Soon a good new will come up about SMEs, he responded to query from a reporter about the future of SMEs during the inauguration of Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at Institute of Business Administration (IBA) here.
The Minister also said the government was also committed to widen the tax net by making the non-filers as filer ones. The issue of withholding tax on non-filers would also be resolved at the earliest, he said.
In his speech, the finance minister emphasised the commercial banks to expedite their efforts for the conversion of the conventional banking into Islamic banking. For this, he continued, there is a great business for Islamic banking in the micro-financing, SMEs and agriculture sectors of the country. The real business for the banks is in these sectors, he said.
“Our first priority is Islamic banking. Being Muslims, our ultimate goal should be riba-free economy,” he remarked. He also repeated his resolve that more important steps would be taken to include more population into financial system as at present only 13 percent people were linked to banking system. The government had already taken many important and targeted steps on this account.
About the promotion of Islamic banking, the target for next two or three years was the conversion of the conventional business into the Islamic banking up to 30 percent of total banking. At present, this share was 12 percent. The government had already taken many steps in this regard, he said.
The commercial banks should at least open windows for the Islamic banking, he asserted. He said Islamic banking had become very attractive to the world and we should take maximum share in the global Islamic banking business.
He expressed his satisfaction that as announced by him in his budget speech of 2014-15, three centres for excellence in Islamic banking had been set up in the country and hoped that these centres would contribute a lot for building manpower for Islamic banking in the country.
The Federal Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs said the present government had succeeded in achieving more than five percentage annual growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The target for next two years was seven percentage GDP, he said.
He said SMEs are the backbone of an economy and we must strengthen this sector. In Japan, SMEs have 75 percent share in their economy.
Ishaq Dar said that after the revival of the economy, the next target for the government is maximum economic growth and more employment generation in the country over the coming two years period.
For achieving this target, he added, the government had focused on energy sector and up to March 2018, 10,000 MW would be injected into the system. There were also other projects in pipeline to generate another 14,000 MW electricity from different sources. “We are working for beyond our tenure,” he said.
State Bank of Pakistan Governor Ashraf Mehmood Wathra said the setting up of these centres for excellence in Islamic banking was not an easy task. Two centres were already inaugurated in Lahore and Peshawar recently, he said.