LAHORE: Pakistan is spending the lowest budget on SME development as compared to other nations of the world. It was stated by Mr. Yousuf Naseem Khokhar, Chief Executive Officer of SMEDA while delivering address of welcome at a reception hosted by SMEDA in honour of the Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA). Mr. Jawad Rizvi President LEJA also addressed the reception.
CEO SMEDA, referring to a recent report of World Bank, informed that the country like Brazil was spending $ 7.24 per capita on its SME agency compared to Pakistan’s one cent per capita spent on SMEDA. Despite a severe scarcity of budget, SMEDA has been striving hard to provide SME development services throughout the country, he said adding that unlike past the focus of SMEDA has now been to the PSDP projects, which are meant to operate as common facility centers for SMEs. He told that about 19 projects with the investment of Rs.2.176 billion were passing through various phases of completion.
Mr. Khokhar said that SMEDA had a full cognizance on significance of the SME financing, for which a close liaison had been maintained with State Bank of Pakistan. But, he admitted that banks were still reluctant in extending loans to SMEs. We, therefore, are trying to set up a Venture Capital Fund with the support of International Donor agencies, he added. However, he informed that SMEDA had evolved a five year business plan to cater to the current needs of SME development, which would be implemented immediately after approval from the Board of Directors. He was confident that implementation of the said plan would also facilitate access to finance for SMEs.
He further informed that a special project with the financial assistance of World Bank and Multi Donors Trust Fund was under implementation to revive SMEs in the flood affected areas of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. Similar projects were also being undertaken for revival of SMEs in southern Punjab, he added.
Mr. Jawad Rizvi, President LEJA, while expressing his views on this occasion, assured the fullest support of his organization in all of the projects to be undertaken for wider economic prosperity of the nation.