Saturday December 03, 2022

SMEs important in stabilising economy: PM Imran Khan

By Our Correspondent
December 18, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that all the economic indicators were moving in a positive direction, so it was necessary to promote the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for their further improvement.

The prime minister said that small and medium enterprises were an important part of the economy and promoting them would stabilise the economy and increase employment opportunities. He directed to complete the targets set for the promotion of SMEs as soon as possible.

In this connection, he chaired a meeting of the National Coordinating Committee for Small and Medium Enterprises here. Federal Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Industries Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant Usman Dar, chairman Board of Investment, Industry, Commerce, Finance, Energy, Petroleum and Law Division secretaries, chairman FBR, deputy governor SBP, commissioner Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, CEO SMEDA, MD Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and senior officers present in the meeting.

Chief secretary Sindh and secretaries Industries of Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, CEO Trade Development Authority of Pakistan also participated via video link.

The meeting was informed that all the partners were being consulted for providing financial assistance to SMEs. An SME fund will also be set up in this regard. For the promotion of SMEs, targets have been set for speedy resolution of legal, administrative and regulatory issues. The meeting was told the tax form was being simplified for the convenience of small and medium business class and work was underway on the registration portal.

The forum was also informed that SMEDA was being reorganised to build its capacity to support the business community. Working groups have been set up in the provinces to support small and medium enterprises in the provinces.

The database of SMEs is being updated on priority basis on the basis of which the government will be able to facilitate SMEs in a timely manner. Meanwhile, Imran Kahn appreciated the UNDP partnership in development of a digital transformation roadmap for the country, reiterating the importance of digital solutions for improved governance, and that Pakistan was committed to using digital technologies for achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).“It will help the vulnerable sections of the society, in particular, to get maximum benefit from the social welfare and social protection policies of the government at the grass root level,” he maintained.

In this connection, a delegation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) dealing with digital governance called on Imran Khan here and briefed him on digital transformation.

During the meeting, the UNDP representatives briefed the prime minister on five priority digital interventions, identified after interaction with different departments and key stakeholders including from the government, private sector and the development community.

These priority interventions include supporting Nadra's digital registration; development of digital ID stack to extend the digital infrastructure of Pakistan, which includes digital payments system and more; supporting Ehsaas introduction of a one-window portal for integrated social protection services, digitisation of police investigation manual and establishing a national emergency helpline with National Police Bureau, and development of Pakistan Business Portal (PBP), with the Board of Investment (BOI), an online platform for ease of doing business within the country.

The UNDP is also conducting a digital maturity assessment in parallel to prioritise digital interventions using read data driven approach.

Meanwhile, the prime minister also presided over a review meeting of Ravi Urban Development Authority and Pakistan Island projects. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, Special Assistant Dr Shahbaz Gill, Chairman Pakistan Island Development Authority Imran Amin, Lieutenant General (R) Anwar Ali Haider, Chairman, and Major General (R) Amir Aslam Khan, Deputy Chairman New Pakistan Housing Authority. Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Dr Salman Shah, chief secretary Punjab, chairman RUDA Rashid Aziz and senior officers participated through video link.

The prime minister was informed in the meeting that a design and construction consultant has been appointed for the Ravi Urban City project and preparations are underway to launch a programme for investors.

In addition, the Punjab government has also approved the release of funds in principle. Referring to the Pakistan Island Development Authority, the prime minister was informed that the technical consultancy was being scrutinised while a memorandum of understanding was signed with Lead Pakistan for environmental protection. A memorandum of understanding has also been signed with the International Mangrove Alliance for the protection of mangroves on the islands. Instructing to complete the targets on time for both the projects, Imran Khan said that Ravi City and Island City are huge projects which will increase employment for the local people and improve their economic condition. He directed to hold an investment conference and work out a comprehensive strategy to take full advantage of the interest of foreign investors in these projects. Both projects will be role models for urban development, he noted.