World Bank to collaborate with SMEDA for SMEs promotion

LAHORE: The World Bank has expressed interest to collaborate with Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) on promotion of SMEs in Pakistan.

Mr. Johan F. Speakman, Lead Private sector Development Specialist of the World Bank while leading a 7-member delegation at a meeting with SMEDA Chief Mr. Yousuf Naseem Khokhar said that the World Bank was towing a policy of strengthening SME development institutions in the South Asia region.

Mr. Speakman observed that the SME sector in Pakistan had a vast potential to grow. SMEDA, despite having very limited resources, was striving hard to explore this potential to the optimal level, he added.

He further said that the World Bank, like neighbouring countries of the region, was keen to promote working relations with SME development institutions in Pakistan as well. We are interested to strengthen the institutions like SMEDA, he said and urged SMEDA experts to identify the areas requiring Word Bank’s assistance in SME development. He assured that World Bank would extend all possible assistance also to facilitate access to finance for local SMEs.

Earlier, Mr. Yousuf Naseem Khokhar, CEO SMEDA welcomed the delegation and gave a detailed presentation on running projects, services and future planning of SMEDA. He disclosed that a five year business plan of SMEDA was being compiled to expedite SME development needs of the country. Besides, an organizational restructuring plan was also underway to enable SMEDA playing more effective role for development of SMEs in the country, he said adding that such initiatives were bring taken on a SMEDA evaluation report issued by World Bank last year, which identified that Pakistan was a country spending the lowest budget on SME development at world level.

CEO SMEDA said that government was fully aware of the SMEs importance in curbing poverty and enhancing employments. He hoped that government would soon make arrangements to allocate more resources for SME development.

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