LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the government to provide Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with better access to finances in the next meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) of the Cabinet, adding that the same issue had been discussed with the heads of various banks, including State Bank of Pakistan in recent meetings.
The request was made during a meeting with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hashim Raza at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday.
In this regard, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan’s private sector credit to the GDP ratio was at 17 per cent, which was the lowest in the region. “SMEs only get 6.4pc of private sector financing, while the number of SME borrowers was just around 189,000,” he said.
He recommended that commercial banks, in collaboration with the relevant government institutions, should facilitate SMEs through innovative financing schemes at low mark-up rates with the minimal collateral requirement.
Misbah also demanded the provision of technical and professional training to individuals associated with the sector. “LCCI and SMEDA should collaborate in holding various training programmes and workshops,” he suggested.
During the meeting, the SMEDA CEO informed that has said that the new SME policy is ready but needs suggestions from the private sector.
He said that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan desires to facilitate SMEs for the growth of businesses in the country, while SMEDA was also ready to conduct business plan competitions in collaboration with the LCCI.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that approval of a National SME Policy Action Plan by the prime minister was a welcome sign, which would help resolve the issues being faced by SMEs. “The plan is a composition of a comprehensive roadmap and recommendations for the development of this important sector,” he said expressing his satisfaction.
He also appreciated the initiative of seeking input from all the stakeholders in order to improve existing laws and regulations that are affecting businesses at small and medium levels.