Economic stability associated with growth of SME Sector: Khusroo Bakhtiar

 

Lahore: Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusroo Bukhtiar has said that economic stability of the country is associated with the growth of SME Sector. According to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan SMEs are the prime area of focus for the government.

He was addressing the joint meeting of Chambers of Commerce & Industry and trade associations. PM Advisor on Commerce & Investment Abdul Razak Dawood, Federal Secretary Industries Jawad Rafiq Malik also addressed the different sessions while Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry was represented by its Vice President Haris Ateeq.

Khusroo Bakhtiar said that the government is currently focusing on the growth of SME sector, which would increase business and employment opportunities in the country. He added that the government has also taken Micro Finance Banks on board to solve the financial problems of the SME sector and for easy loans.

He said that according to the new policy, the banks will lend to SMEs keeping in view their risk factors, collateral damage and other factors. He clarified that the Government is going to launch the new small and medium enterprises policy, which aimed at to facilitate the small businesses through various incentives particularly extending the easy loans and relaxation in taxation. He said that a special card will be issued to the small and medium entrepreneurs to provide tax relief easy loans quick registration and NOCs from Government Regulatory Authorities.

He also said that a special fund has been set up for the promotion and development of small and medium enterprises. Moreover, he also explained that special zones have been set up wherein plots will be allocated to SMEs on long term lease basis.

Advisor to PM on Commerce & Investment Abdul Razaq Dawood also briefly addressed the participants that the government is trying hard to facilitate the business community particularly in manufacturing and export sectors. In this regard, he pointed out that the government has declared all the raw materials for export sectors zero rated in the previous two budgets and the remaining iron and steel, auto and pharmaceutical sector will be made zero rated in the coming budget. He also pointed out that government is also taking all necessary measures to discourage the import of various finished products whereas all the raw materials not manufactured locally are going to be made zero rated.

LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq said that the Lahore Chamber fully supports the said SME policy and appreciates the Government to launch such important policy, which is need of the hour. He emphasized that while government is issuing the special Card to SME sector, which should be linked with the other government regulatory bodies especially FBRso that they could be facilitated automatically in all respects.

He also proposed that in these special economic zones, Trade Bodies like Lahore Chamber should be taken on board and empowered to look after the administrative role especially selling of industrial plots to the potential entrepreneurs. He also proposed that the public procurement at provincial and federal level should also be made from mandatory SMEs for their promotion and growth.

He apprised the house that the cost of land in the existing industrial estates is very high, which should not be happened in SME special economic zones so that the SME sector could be flourished.

He said that the raw industrial material particularly of auto and steel sector should be made duty free. He said that those items which are not manufactured locally be zero rated so that the local industry could be made competitive in international market. Moreover, he stressed upon that the import of finished products should be discouraged by imposing duty maximum. He also pointed out that the smuggling, which is damaging the local industry severely, slopped with all strict measures.

The other Chambers particularly Sialkot Chamber, Gujranwala Chamber and Gujrat Chambers endorsed the suggestions recommended by the Lahore Chamber with the addition that the “Refunds” should be released at the earliest so that the issue of shortage of working capital could be resolved. LCCI Executive Committee Member Mian Attiq ur Rehman former EC member Sajjad Afzal Sheikh also spoke on the occasion.

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