SME Competitiveness Strategy for Balochistan underway

Quetta: Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan account for 35% in value addition, contribute 30% to the national GDP, and 25% to the exports. While their importance to the Eco no  is undisputed, in terms of social development, SMEs also account for 78% of the non-agricultural employment in the country. that SMEs contribute significantly to the province’s economic and social progress. With a view to further strengthen the role of SMEs in the development of the province, the Government of Balochistan is elaborating a provincial level SME Competitiveness Strategy to advance support services for SMEs in all three – agriculture, manufacturing, and services – sectors.
The SME Competitiveness Strategy will yield an action-oriented and precise framework, which does not stop at simply identifying broad objectives, but go into detailed activities, targets, and impact measures, indicating what exactly needs to be done and by whom, within what time frame and with what resources. Tailored to meet the specific needs of Balochistan, the strategy will also address challenges raised by the private and public sectors and will be instrumental in empowering the identification of opportunities to enhance SME competitiveness. The objective is to develop a set of conducive policies and programmes to strengthen and modernize Balochistan’s SMEs, build up the entrepreneurship and innovation of the enterprises, and enable public services to reach SMEs across the province.
The strategy was discussed at the SME Working Group meeting, where the Chief Secretary Balochistan, Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili, appreciated the Industries and  Commerce Department and the European Union-funded and International Trade Centre implemented GRASP project for making progress in developing the SME Competitiveness Strategy for Balochistaion, and said that Government of Balochistan is keen, progressive and forthcoming to adopt and implement the strategy. He said formalization of economy, access to finance and technology are the key challenges confronting the private sector generally and the SMEs particularly of the province. He said that the technical paper was an exhaustive and comprehensive document which covers the key challenges which SMEs face in the province and proposes pragmatic solutions for the development of SMEs in Balochistan. Government will fully support the ongoing process of SME strategy development and will provide resources for its proper implementation.
Secretary Industries and Commerce, Mr. Abid Saleem Qureshi, said that the department was developing SME strategy as envisioned in SME policy of the federal government and hoped that once approved and implemented the strategy would contribute to help develop SMEs and the private sector in the province.

Mr. Jahanzeb Khan, Provincial Lead ITC GRASP Balochistan stated that adopting the cluster approach would help in efficiently allocating the already scarce resources for the targeted sectors.

The representative of QCCI Mr. Ahad Agha stated that access to finance is a key challenge and banking sector should have a prominent role in resolving this issue.

Having a realistic and implementable SME Competitiveness Strategy will provide Balochistan with an actionable roadmap to boost SME’s performance for economic and social prosperity. It will contribute to building a conducive business environment for SMEs that can increase the trade performance of the province and make it more attractive for investment. 

Technical support for the elaboration of the strategy is supported by the “Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP)” project, funded by the European Union, and implemented by the International Trade Centre. The project is working to uplift the business environment around SMEs and assisting the government in updating and formulating relevant policies in Pakistan.