Govt. to take action against responsible hampering SME growth: PM

152 to take action against responsible hampering

ISLAMABAD, (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the government had decided to take strict action against all those responsible for creating hurdles for any enterprise in the export, agriculture, industry, or service industry sector.

Addressing a launching ceremony of the National Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Policy, the prime minister regretted that in the past, no government ever cared for extending incentives and facilities for this sector.

The incumbent government was according to due importance to the SME sector as the biggest jobs giver sector and a huge source of wealth creation.

The prime minister noted that SME growth in the country should be accelerated as another vital driver for GDP growth in the country.

The prime minister noted that the banks were reluctant to extend credits to the SMEs and stressed upon removal of all impediments in the bank’s credits so that people associated with the SMEs could start their businesses.

He said naturally the youth was capable of innovative ideas and startups so they could be encouraged with incentives and facilities.

They had idealism and adventurism and with the passage of age, a person could not embark upon ventures.

He said Pakistan had a population of 220 million and ranked as second in the world due to the youngest population bulge.

In the US, the revolution started from the Silicon Valley where they backed their 25-26 years old people who later became billionaires, he added.

The prime minister also underlined the need for the private sector to come forward and support the SMEs.

He expressed optimism that about $500 million investment was witnessed in the country’s startups.

Enumerating the issues confronted by the SMEs, he said the land price was expensive for setting up businesses, so the government would extend support in the provision of land on lease.

Besides, the red tape was another big issue in the growth of SMEs, he added.

He said the regulations also hampered the growth of SMEs and expressed the resolve that the government would ease out all the regulations in the system and streamline it by taking advantage of information and technology.

During the 60s, the country was moving on the path of rapid progress and people from Malaysia came to study here. “Pakistan was regarded as a model of progress in the whole region. Country’s bureaucracy was acknowledged as the highly efficient,” he said, regretting that subsequently, ‘with wrong decisions, the country went down due to political interference, and unfortunately, they lost that path.’

The prime minister said Singapore with a population of five million had exports of about 40 billion dollars last year while Malaysia with a 33 million population had about 25 billion dollars export.

The prime minister maintained that the (PTI) government had faced huge challenges never been experienced by their predecessors.

First, they inherited a bankrupt economy with depleting reserves and if the three friendly countries UAE, Saudi Arabia, and China had not helped them out, they would have defaulted.

When the country was out of this issue, the global Covid pandemic created problems, he added.

The prime minister said the coronavirus was a crisis of the century from which Pakistan was steered out due to the government’s successful policies.

The world-renowned journal the Economist, the WHO, and WEF had also acknowledged Pakistan as the only country in the world that saved its economy and the lives of its people.

He further elaborated that with the Afghan situation and global supply chain interruptions, they were confronted with other challenges.

He mentioned that prices of commodities rose worldwide due to global pandemics affecting all the countries.

But despite all this, he said, Pakistan recorded high exports, remittances, and tax collection.

The prime minister said they had a target of 8000 billion rupees tax collection and in the last three years, succeeded in reaching to Rs6000 billion collection, and expressed the optimism that they would surpass the target.

He said that they were introducing automation, trace, and track systems to net those who were evading sales taxes.

He regretted that in the country of 220 million people, only 2 million had been paying taxes.

The prime minister said the private sector also registered record credit offtake worth Rs1400 billion.

Under the government’s farmers’ transformation plan, the country achieved record yield in four major crops of wheat, sugarcane, rice, and maze, besides a huge surge in motorcycle and mobile phones sales.

The prime minister also referred to the recent wave of Omicron variant in the country and hinted that they would not go to shut down the economy but advised the people to strictly observe SOPs.

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