ISLAMABAD: The Sindh government has approved the creation of a strategy management unit (SMU) for the Sindh small and medium enterprises (SME) competitiveness strategy being designed by the Industries and Commerce Department and technically supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Small and medium sized enterprises hold a key place in the economy of Sindh. They create employment, connect Sindh to other markets across Pakistan and in the region, and create new products and services for consumers and other businesses in the province, a press release of ITC said.

SMEs in Sindh account for 99 percent of all enterprises, employ nearly 80 percent of the labor force outside of agriculture, and contribute over 30 percent in the GDP.

It is in recognition of the vital role the SMEs play that the Sindh government is developing the Provincial SME Strategy for ‘’Prosperous Sindh powered by progressive and globally competitive SMEs’’.

Six thematic areas have been identified by stakeholders during consultations held in Karachi and Hyderabad, along with 200 public sector representatives. They identified digitalization of SMEs; access to finance; entrepreneurial and business skills; technology and innovation; institutional and business development support services; and inclusive and responsible business as key areas of focus for the Strategy.

During the final round for the design of the Strategy with the thematic working groups, Secretary Industries and Commerce Department committed to fully support the implementation of the SME Strategy through three core actions.

Firstly, it will move to get the Strategy approved by the cabinet. Secondly, an SMU will be established to support and monitor the implementation progress. Finally, support will be provided to implement agencies for budget proposals and fund allocation.

The strategy is technically supported by the Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress project, funded by the European Union, and implemented by the ITC.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2023

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