Pakistan has a thriving startup and entrepreneurship culture, wherein creative and social enterprises (CSEs) are contributing significantly to national income, employment and poverty reduction. However, many such enterprises are unable to grow due to the excessive regulatory burden, the high cost of doing business, distortive tax regime, and lack of credit. According to experts, for CSEs to thrive there is a need to reduce regulatory burdens on the sector.
These were the views of experts at policy component launch of ‘Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) Pakistan,’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with British Council and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific in Islamabad on Tuesday. DICE is a multinational programme that supports the development of creative and social enterprises in the UK and five key emerging economies which include Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, and South Africa.
SDPI Joint Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed said despite significant and growing contribution of Creative and Social Enterprises (CSEs) sector to the overall economy of the country, the sector is facing many challenges on regulatory and tax regime fronts. CSEs can be incentivised by allowing a quota in public procurement. He suggested that the SME policy of State Bank of Pakistan can also demand that commercial banks take a risk on social entrepreneurs and facilitate credit. The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Planning Commission can also seek inputs from social entrepreneurs and ask them their views regarding their issues related to intellectual property, labour, environment, and several municipal laws, he added.
Dr Vaqar said the planning and development departments at the provincial governments should recognise the social and creative enterprise sector and how this can contribute to sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2018.