ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) organised an awareness session on the promotion of small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) banking.
SBP’s Banking Services Corporation assistant chief manager Rabia Yaqoob Khan gave a detailed presentation to the business community on SBP’s financing schemes for these enterprises.
Khan said that only 6% SMEs currently avail loans from banks despite 40% of them having a relationship with banks. She said that the SBP has set a target of increasing financial inclusion of SMEs from the current 6-8% to 17% by 2020, so that these businesses could achieve better growth and development.
The SBP has launched nine financing schemes for SMEs at 6% mark-up to facilitate them in expansion and growth, she said, adding that for this purpose, regulatory framework and taxation system would be simplified for SMEs.
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The assistant chief manager further said that the current government is taking a keen interest in promoting SMEs and hoped that maximum SMEs avail these schemes for fast growth and development.
In his welcome address, ICCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Naveed Malik said that SMEs are the backbone of our economy as they constitute over 90% of total business enterprises in Pakistan.
He said SMEs contribute 30% to GDP, 25% to exports and 78% to industrial employment that shows their important role in the economic development of the country.
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The tough collateral conditions of banks were a major hurdle for their growth, he said and urged that SBP should ask banks to offer soft-term credit facility to SMEs that would help them to grow fast and play effective role in strengthening the economy.
ICCI Vice President Nisar Mirza said that strengthening SMEs would yield multiple benefits for the economy as it would promote trade and industrial activities, enhance exports, encourage investment, create more jobs and increase tax revenue of the government. He emphasised that the government should pay special attention to promoting SMEs that would pave the way for sustainable development.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2018.
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