ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday directed the commerce ministry to ensure better coordination among the federal and provincial departments and further activate the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority for uplift of the SMEs sector.
The prime minister was chairing a meeting of his economic team which discussed the measures for uplift of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), construction sector, poverty alleviation, progress on the anti-poverty program Ehsaas and steps by different ministries to accelerate the economic growth, a PM Office statement said.
During the meeting, a progress report on the implementation of the decisions taken during the previous meeting was presented to the prime minister.
While briefing on the measures taken to boost the SMEs sector, the governor State Bank of Pakistan told the prime minister that uplift of SMEs, agriculture and the construction sectors were among their priorities.
The prime minister was told that the SMEs’ contribution in the business was around 90 percent and 40 percent in the total production. Besides agriculture, around 80 percent of the country’s workforce was linked with the SMEs sector.
It was told that the regulatory framework and loan disbursement methods had been eased to facilitate the SMEs.
The loan limit had been extended to Rs. 1 million besides reducing the small loan processing duration from one month to 15 days and 25 days for medium loans.
The SBP governor said the SMEs were also being facilitated to complete the business documentation besides using information technology for their uplift and easing their taxation system.
It was told that the volume of bank loans to SMEs had enhanced from Rs. 288 billion in 2014, to Rs. 513 billion now that had been targeted at Rs. 1.3 trillion till 2023.
This would create around two million jobs and increase the exports by $5 billion, the SBP governor added.
The finance secretary presented a detailed report on the measures and their time lines identified by the ministries of trade, industries, poverty alleviation, privatization, national food security, petroleum, FBR, and Board of Investment for the national economic growth.
Chairman Ehsaas Program Dr Sania Nishtar apprised the prime minister of various schemes including students scholarship, health facilities, legal aid, ration scheme, Kafalat program, nutrition program, financial assistance for education and Sehat Insaf Card.
She told the meeting that under Ehsaas Program, an online “one window Ehsaas” program would be launched by mid-October that would enable any deserving individual to submit his documents online to become the beneficiary of the Ehsaas Programme.
The prime minister lauded the efforts of Dr Sania Nishtar for social development and the poverty alleviation.
Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing Authority identified the impediments in the growth of the construction sector.
The prime minister said the promotion of SMEs, uplift of agriculture and facilitation of the construction sectors were among the government’s priorities that would accelerate the economic growth besides creating immense employment opportunities.
While principally agreeing to the proposal of a fixed tax on the construction sector and giving it an industrial status, the prime minister directed different departments to consider the proposal and come up with a report on it.