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Govt asked to focus on SMEs in 12th Five Year Plan

Govt asked to focus on SMEs in 12th Five Year Plan

ISLAMABAD: Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the government was in the process of preparing the 12th Five Year Plan for Pakistan for 2017-18 to 2022-23 and it should prepare a specific chapter on SME Sector in the said plan for the better development of SMEs that would help in addressing current economic challenges and promoting exports. He said this while exchanging views with a delegation of local markets during their visit to Chamber House.

Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that the SMEs were the backbone of economy as they constituted 90 percent of all enterprises in Pakistan, contributed 40 percent to GDP growth, employed 80 percent of non-agricultural labor force and were a major source of exports. However, the 11th Five Year Plan comprising of 27 chapters covering various sectors of economy contained no chapter on SMEs despite the fact that SME sector was an important pillar of the economy that needed priority focus for development and growth.

ICCI President stressed that the government should immediately develop new SME policy in consultation with all stakeholders to put this sector on the path of accelerated growth as the last SME policy developed in 2007 could not contribute effectively in strengthening and promoting SMEs in the country.

Raffat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that the economy of Pakistan was passing through a critical phase as the foreign exchange reserves have tumbled to $8.4 billion increasing external front vulnerabilities and balance of payment issues. However, they said that SME led private sector growth was the optimum way forward for the government to steer the economy out of current challenges and put it on sustainable growth trajectory. They said SMEs led growth would bring multiple benefits to the economy as it would attract new investment, create more jobs for youth, reduce poverty, improve tax revenue and reduce trade & fiscal deficits through enhanced exports.