Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has said that development of SME sector is the top priority of present government for creating employments and curbing poverty in the country. He was speaking at the inaugural session of the 3rd SME Conference organized by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) in collaboration with University of Management and Technology (UMT) here on Tuesday.
SMEDA Chief Executive Officer Sher Ayub, UMT Rector Dr Muhammad Aslam, Senior Private Sector Specialist, International Finance Corporation (IMF) Charles Schneider, World Bank Group and Dr Sean K. S. Shin, Dean Global Education Institute, NAMSEOUL University, South Korea also spoke on the occasion.
Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar acknowledged significance of SMEs and vowed to make Pakistan a "business friendly country" by devising conducive policies based upon solid research.
The government has planned to give a boost to the economy by making interventions in key areas of economic importance with a special focus on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The SMEs which have a pervasive presence across various economic sectors, and are an integral part of the present government's economic development strategy, he added.
Pakistan is seeking to strengthen its economic position at the global level, he said and added that implementation of research-based policy making across SME sector has become a fundamental necessity. "We have taken a first step towards developing this research culture in Pakistan, through this conference," he said. He hoped that the conference would bring SMEs, business development organizations and researchers at one platform in an effort to bridge the industry-academia gap - to determine the true value of research and to translate it into tangible action. He termed the thematic areas of this conference quite realistic and logical.
The SME Policy, Entrepreneurship & startup ecosystem in Pakistan, sustainable development, China Pakistan Economic Corridor and opportunities for SMEs and China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Regional Integration are the important areas which need immediate attention in forging ahead, he said and hoped that panel discussions and research papers presentation on the aforementioned themes and recommendations emerging would be equally beneficial for all stakeholders including researchers and the policy makers.
Earlier, SMEDA chief said that following success of the first & second National SME Conference held in 2016 and 2017, this 3rd SME Conference is a significant event with researchers and representatives from other countries including TJPU University China and NamSeoul University South Korea to share their experiences.
Today's conference, he said, is an important step to provide the necessary impetus to create an environment where an extensive research base can be developed, and which will subsequently help and encourage policy makers and professionals to take development initiatives with a broad vision and result oriented mission. It would also help us to ensure that the small and medium enterprises are facilitated though evidence based policies, he added.
Sher Ayub asserted that SMEDA, as part of Ministry of Industries & Production, Government of Pakistan had played an important role in facilitating economic growth through promotion of the SME sector by introducing SME Policy formulation, sector development strategies, firm level assistance to SMEs, useful feasibility studies and potential district profiles for cluster development.