ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed authorities concerned to initiate inspection-less regime to facilitate the growth and promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Presiding over a meeting of his economic team, the premier noted promotion of construction and agriculture sectors along with protection of rights of workers and labourers was essential for the growth of the economy.
The prime minister also agreed to the suggestion for introducing a fixed tax regime in construction sector and grant it the status of an ‘industry’.
He said registration of industrial units was necessary and the relevant provincial departments should facilitate the industrial units to get registered as it was equally important to avoid any interruption in the industrial growth.
The meeting was briefed about problems being faced by industrial units in Punjab from various government departments in the name of inspection, and it was principally agreed on inspector less regime and a third-party inspection process concerning essential procedures.
Khan directed preparation of a strategy in this regard and emphasised on provision of all possible facilitation to industry for economic development and to expedite the economic process and create job opportunities.
Briefing the meeting, State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir highlighted that construction, agriculture and the SME sector were the priority areas for the central bank.
A detailed briefing was also given on the procedure to protect industrial workers’ rights and measures to further improve the provision of health, education, and other facilities to labourers.
The meeting was informed that there are 226,600 industrial units in Punjab and electricity connections of 55,435 units have been disconnected. However, 22,475 units are registered with Punjab Labour Department, 77,448 with Social Security Department, and around 63,500 units with Employees’ Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI).
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 24,415 industrial units are registered with the Labour Department.
The prime minister was told that non-registration of industrial units with relevant departments adversely affects rights of workers and labourers, while on the other hand, harassment of registered units by various government departments in the name of inspection, slows down the process of industrial development.
The meeting was informed that the SMEs contributed around 90 per cent share in trading activities in the country, and the limit of small loans has been enhanced up to Rs1 million.
The SBP governor also said that the banks have given loans worth Rs513 billion to the SMEs, whereas this figure was Rs288bn in 2014, and the total credit to SMEs is expected to reach Rs1.9 trillion by 2023.
The PM was also briefed about measures to promote garment sectors and various under-utilised segments related to textile industry, and if appropriate measures are taken the exports of garments sector could reach $40bn by 2030.
Briefings were made over Ehsas Programme, Poverty Poverty Alleviation Programme and Naya Pakistan Housing Authority in the meeting.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2019