The remarkable success of SME sector in China has opened new avenues for Chinese economy. The country has become an exemplary economic power largely relying on its SME sector, according to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sohail Lashari.
Speaking at a seminar on “Achieving Sustainable Economy by 2017 by fully benefitting from China in SME sector”, Lashari said that China and Pakistan are located in an area with great geographical importance and house almost half of the world’s population. Apart from human resource, the area is also blessed with natural resources.
“We must follow the systematic approach adopted by China to policies that played a major role in transforming their SME sector,” said Lashari. “SMEs contribute 60% of China’s industrial output and create 80% of China’s employment. The government has especially targeted this sector to achieve an average annual growth rate of 8%.”
Stressing the need to develop strong linkage between private sector representatives of both countries he said, “Pakistan may find a long-term economic solution by cultivating its own SME sector, as it provides low cost employment opportunities and helps economies to boost exports, and reduce poverty.
“More than 3.2 million SMEs are functioning in Pakistan. They contribute almost 30% to GDP, employ over 70% of the non-agricultural workforce and generate 25% in export earnings,” Lashari said.
Talking about the viability and survival of SMEs, Lashari said it is difficult keeping pace with the current energy crisis. Other challenges include difficulty in financing, inflationary pressures, little know-how of business practices, obsolete technology and shortage of skills and labour, added the official.
Provincial Ministers Chaudhry Shafiq Ahmad and Sher Ali Khan said that it was because of the untiring efforts of the Punjab government that Pak-China friendship has entered a new era. Various Chinese investment companies have shown interest in investing in different sectors. “It’s now the job of Punjab business community to avail this chance and benefit from Chinese expertise.
“China fully realises the problems faced by Pakistan and is ready to extend all possible cooperation for steering it out of problems,” they said.
They discussed the road map, execution mechanism and forming monitoring teams by inviting all stakeholders for creating a sustainable economy by 2017.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2014.