lahore - Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) has initiated an elaborate five-year SME Development Plan that would help create 10 million new jobs, jack-up SME sector’s GDP by $120 billion besides giving quantum jump of $48 billion to exports.

This was stated by Smeda CEO Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera while sharing SME Development Plan 2013-18 with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday.

Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera said that the new five year plan envisages protection of interests of SMEs through professional monitoring, evaluation and by identifying research parameters. Either the research initiatives would be outsourced or an in-house capacity would be built

He said that Smeda would be turned into a true Facilitation Centre for small and medium businesses to act as resource base for providing expertise, information and statistics. The growth of SME sector would be ensured through conducive environment and support services.

Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera said that energy efficiency, access to finance, cut in cost of doing business, creation of an enabling tax environment and availability of skilled labour would be the areas of prime focus.

He said that a well coordinated and tailor-made campaign would be launched for the promotion of entrepreneurship especially amongst fresh university graduates.

The CEO said that issuance of SME White Paper on annual basis to review the progress is very much part of the proposed plan. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the SMEDA  should play its role proactively to give boost to the economy.

He said that it needs to focus on three areas including Agriculture& Livestock, food and fruits processing and Pharmaceutical sectors that have huge growth potential.  The LCCI President said that unavailability of capital freely to the SME sector is hitting it hard as cash flow based lending is not available to the businesses and only collateral based lending is done by banks.

He said that the ongoing economic scenario calls for out-of-box solutions to overcome multiple challenges hindering the expansion of existing businesses.

The LCCI President said that the SMEDA should develop projects which are not heavily dependent on electricity and gas as improvement in energy situation will take a minimum of two to three years.

“Studies should be conducted for setting up solar plants. India is indigenously developing its solar panels and invertors. They are manufacturing their own dry batteries whereas Pakistan is lagging behind in this area despite much need. This is a high end solution and only because of the costs we are not catching up with this technology.”