Tuesday December 07, 2021

Better business regulations sought for SMEs

August 01, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Sohail Qadiri, Director (Projects and Policy), Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, has proposed that the institutions such as Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) and Punjab Small Industries Corporation (PSIC) need to collaborate and help SMEs to mitigate COVID-19 related difficulties.

Mr Qadri was speaking at online consultative dialogue on Better business regulation for SME sector in Punjab Province organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute.Mr Qadiri informed the participants that his institution was aiming to create a buying house platform for the capacity building services to Small and Medium Enterprises and to help them in exploring global markets.

The needs of SMEs should also be prioritised in the relevant policies and efforts so that more clusters of smaller firms could be created, he added.Dr Vaqar Ahmed, joint executive director, SDPI, while moderating the discussion, observed that it was need of the hour for SECP to ease laws for SMEs and startups across the country. He said that the current laws are preventing idle liquidity in the economy to move from real estate to investments in innovative firms.

Likewise, Pakistani diaspora, willing to invest in Pakistan, continues to complain of lack of credible venture capital and crowdsourcing framework. Therefore, he said, SECP needs to evaluate the existing facilitation and regulatory framework. An evaluation is also desired to see if anticipated gains from SECP’s startup portal, facilitation desk and regulatory Sandbox initiatives were achieved.

Deeper consultation with private sector and think tanks around amendments to the private equity and venture capital regulatory framework is required” Ahmed said adding- that the provincial government also needs to study the rise in business costs related to compliance with Covid-19 related SOPs.

Founding President of the Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry-Lahore Division, Dr Shehla Javed Akram, was of view that there is a lack of interest on the part of the government to engage businesses and understand their issues. She continued that the women-led businesses find it more difficult to access even the refinance facility and collateral-free loan facility announced by State Bank of Pakistan and likewise, the commercial banks do not understand the problems faced by women-led SMEs.

The Punjab government needs to learn from peer economies and how they supported SMEs, particularly women-led businesses. She said that central banks in other countries were more innovative in launching support schemes for women-led enterprises.