Dr Shahid Javed Burki, World renowned political economist and former finance minister, has emphasised enhancing the ratio of domestic savings, tax collection and investments in the SME sector for sustainable future development of Pakistan. He stated it at a seminar jointly organised by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and the Burk Institute of Public Policy (BIPP) today at SMEDA Head Office on “SME Sector Opportunities and Challenges in Pakistan. Mr Farhan Aziz Khawja, CEO of SMEDA, delivered the welcome address on this occasion. Other economists, including Mr Shahid Najam and Mr Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad, also addressed the seminar.
Secretary Industries, MD PSIC, Secretary P&D, Secretary Finance, Federal Ombudsman and several government and business community representatives also attended the seminar online through the internet.
Dr Shahid Javaid Burki, the key speaker at the seminar, advised following the Chinese economic development methodology for Pakistan. He said that when he first visited China in 1965, it was a far less developed country than Pakistan. But now it has become the world’s 2nd largest economy, he said and informed that China had made such a quantum leap in development by restricting its SMEs, workforce and technology as per requirements of the global markets. He said, “the rich opportunities available for SME development in Pakistan also need to be exploited in line with international standards. He termed it a great challenge for SMEDA and Pakistan’s government in Pakistan’s current macroeconomic situation. Still, without coming up with the world markets, SMEs cannot play their due role in the economic development of Pakistan. He pointed out that the huge population of Youth and the Agriculture sector were the major strengths of Pakistan, which can play a pivotal role in SMEs’ growth. The Youth should be provided with market-oriented education and training. In contrast, agriculture products should be converted into value-added products by international standards of processing and packaging that will enable us to tap some of the new global markets for Pakistan’s exports.
Replying to a Question, Dr Burki reiterated that no country could maintain sustainable economic development without enhancing domestic savings and tax rations, for which we need to revamp our financial system and support the mechanism of SME growth.
Mr Shahid Najam, Mr Babar Yaqoob Fateh Muhammad and the other speakers also highlighted the need for SME development by overcoming the existing challenges through a conducive policy framework. They said that SMEDA should be entrusted with a lead role in the economic development of Pakistan through political ownership, policy stability and a conducive business environment. In this regard, the case of Turkey’s SME development organisation KOSGAP was also quoted, considered one of the region’s best SME Development practices.
IN HIS ADDRESS, CEO SMEDA Mr Farhan Aziz Khawaja thanked the guest economists and acknowledged that BIPP is a world-class institution to answer the complex and wicked public policy questions by the “New Public Management” (NPM). He said that SMEDA was busy implementing a plan for capacity building of the educated Youth through higher education institutes of Pakistan that will help young graduates to start SME businesses through the Prime Minister’s Youth Loan Program.