ISLAMABAD: Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas has said that opportunities for channelling the potential and talent of the country’s female youth are pertinent to improve participation of women in the future of Pakistan’s economic stability.
She was speaking during the Public-Private Dialogue on Gender-Focused Economic Reforms, organised by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) here on Wednesday.
She said that the economic empowerment of women requires legislation for ease of doing business and to providing them with a conducive economic environment which is vital for the future of the country’s economic future.
“While it is encouraging to see the female chambers endeavouring to voice the female entrepreneurs’ concerns, it is important to have more women representation in the male chambers as a matter of equality,” she added.
“If 48 per cent of the country’s overall population is not economically productive, how can we expect a country to develop,” she underlined while referring to the economic alienation of women and added that it is important to understand that more difficult than starting a business, it is to scale-up, sustain and grow a business for aspiring entrepreneurs.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, it is important to understand that more difficult than starting a business, it is to scale-up, sustain and grow a business.
Speaking on the occasion, MNA Sajida Zulfiqar highlighted the need to provide more platforms for the progress of self-owned businesses. “Given the increasing desire of the people to start their own businesses, we need to set-up more chambers to give them a platform to voice their concerns and create critical linkages between the chambers and the government to ensure inclusive policy making,” he said.
The major chambers should also represent the small businesses and help them promote their business activities and generate traction beyond boundaries.
MNA Ghazala Saifi said that export-oriented approach demands the capacity building of exporters before they can compete in the international market and participate in the mainstream exports industry. “A campaign to disseminate to the services on offer for the women entrepreneurs is extremely critical to enhancing their economic participation,” she added.
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) former Vice President Masooma Sibtain shared the priority intervention areas identified in the women national business agenda (WNBA) – a policy proposal on gender-focused economic reforms presented from the platform of FPCCI.
She called for the robust feedback of private sector on the potential avenues for enhanced economic participation of women given the impending SME policy and Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) and their importance to reduce the alarming gender gap and add to Pakistan’s GDP by about 30 per cent.
The participating private sector leaders were of the view that the financing opportunities offered to the women entrepreneurs by the banks should be linked to their rating and in case of non-compliance, the banks’ ratings shall drop.
This means a key role to be played by the central bank which should introduce regulations for mandatory financing opportunities for the women entrepreneurs. Successful female business leaders should be promoted as role models to inspire the aspiring the businesswomen to undertake the business activities. The private sector needs resources and research for innovation and growth in collaboration with the universities and with the funding of the state. The indigenous businesswomen should be connected to the business portals to bypass the middlemen and make more profits.
They were appreciative of the overwhelming turn up of parliamentarians for dialogue on gender inclusive economic reforms and hoped for a meaningful response by the legislature on the issues conveyed, hence called for follow-up dialogues on the same.
The event witnessed overwhelming participation of the members of parliament; especially female parliamentarians and private sector representatives along with the representatives of the State Bank and SMEDA.