LAHORE - The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) facilitated an investment of over Rs29.73 billion during last decade through handholding of the upcoming SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and up-gradation of 27 existing SME clusters by providing them common facility centres of worth Rs 2.772 billion as PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme) projects.

Smeda Chief Executive Officer Sher Ayub Khan disclosed this in meeting held in Smeda head office on Wednesday to celebrate World SME Day.

He appreciated the United Nations General Assembly for designating June 27 as the International Day of SMEs.

He observed that 95 per cent of the enterprises in the world belonged to micro, small and medium-sized businesses, which accounted for about 60 per cent of the private sector employment, adding that these enterprises could in fact become the engines that sustain growth for long-term development in developing countries.

He expressed gratitude to International Council for Small Business (ICSB), who declared 27th of June as a World SME Day last year during its 61st Annual World Conference held at United Nations.

The Smeda CEO said that like rest of the world, SMEs were playing pivotal role in creating job opportunities in Pakistan as well. Smeda was pursuing the SME development cause as a key economic reform agenda of the country like many governments around the world, he said and asserted that there existed a number of SME development organizations around the world which had played a major role in supporting, steering and coordinating SME development in their countries.

Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA), Republic of Korea, Kosgeb, Republic of Turkey, Small Business Administration (SBA), USA were spending heavy budget on the SME Development agenda.

But, the resources given to Smeda had no comparison with them, he commented and informed that Smeda, due to scarcity of funds, had covered the development side through Public Sector Development Programme and a set of over two dozen Common Facility Centers had been completed through PSDP funds.

Giving reasons for Smeda's entrance into Public Sector Development Programme, Sher Ayub said that Smeda, through interaction with stakeholders of SME sectors, had identified certain potential clusters of SMEs, which were unable to tap export market despite surplus production, just due to unavailability of the modern technology.

For instance the Mango growing cluster of Multan was wasting tons of the mangoes every year for having no pulp plant; football production of Sialkot was loosing world market due to unavailability of the mechanized football manufacturing technology and Kunri's abundant production of chilies were being contaminated for having no mechanical dehydration facility, he maintained. In fact, he mentioned, such technologies were not affordable to the SMEs due to heavy cost, therefore, SMEDA with the support of federal Ministry of Industries and Production, came forward and accomplished the hard task by establishing common facility centers for over 20 export-oriented clusters of SMEs across the country.