PESHAWAR, June 3: Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority chief executive Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sokaihra has said that small and medium enterprise sector would be strengthened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the authority’s business development plan.

Addressing members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday, he said that a set of special recommendations had been made part of the authority’s plan to promote energy, logistics, construction, light engineering, mineral development and tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, aiming to expand SME base in the province.

Sharing details of Smeda’s five-year business plan, Mr Sokaihra said Smeda aimed at creating employment opportunities for 25 million people during the five-year plan, commencing this year.

The plan, he added, would help increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from $73.95 billion this year to $93.50 billion in 2018.

“Exports would grow to $54.20 billion and the number of small and medium enterprises would rise to two million through successful implementation of the five-year business plan,” Mr Sokairhra said. Responding to Smeda chief executive’s speech, KPCCI chief Dr Mohammd Yousuf Sarwar asked for giving greater representation to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the authority and said that practical measures should be taken to ensure successful implementation of the five-year plan.

Apart from KPCCI officer-bearers and members, senior bureaucrats, bankers, Smeda’s senior executives and members of its board of directors, Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Nuzhar Rauf and vice president Shumaama Arbab attended the meeting.

KPCCI president said that little attention had so far been paid to developing and promoting small and medium enterprises in the country to the disadvantage of the nation economy.

He said that the USA, China, Japan, India, Malaysia, Turkey and Bangladesh should be taken as examples of success as those countries achieved higher economic growth rate by flourishing small and medium enterprises.

He, however, said that SME sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was suffering from official apathy. The successive provincial governments, he added, did not pay attention to provide congenial business environment to small and medium enterprises as a result of which small entrepreneurs could flourish in the province.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s SMEs have not been extended those incentives and facilities that prove helpful in promoting small enterprises,” complained the KPCCI president.

Apart from a number of issues confronting SMEs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the biggest problem, added the KPCCI leader, was that of lack of equity as commercial banks were reluctant to grant loans to small businesses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Taking part in the discussion, KPCCI members asked the Smeda chief executive to take on board KPCCI and local businesses in the Carpet Nagar Project.

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