SME sector is the great strength of Pakistan to generate employment & boost exports. Corona has halted the world in every sector & have shattered the life all over the world but again strong economies of the world are doing their best to survive due to their savings and pumping billions of dollars to save their nations and economic strength, but most of the economies of the world are shattering & down to knees. Pakistan is not different than other countries and much weaker to handle this extra ordinary situation, therefore we all must take suitable protective measures & do more to save our Industry, SMEs & Economy. About 15 days back I wrote an article: NEW WORLD ORDER- 2020 : and I indicated that world is not going to be the same but change even more than 9/11 permanently.
SMEs are always with limited resources in Pakistan & being ignored by policy makers & once a SME stop functioning it becomes very difficult to restart and function therefore it is the time for government and for all of us to take special measures to keep the wheel of industry moving & I suggest as under:
- Electric & Gas bills must be exempted for THREE clear months, all payment of electric & gas if paid must remain credit for adjustment on appropriate time.
- Bank interest on all type of loans must be stopped at once because factories are already closed and production is halted & not in a position to pay the bank interest on all type of loans, mortgages, shipment of goods against letter of credits & even on bank bonds and if the bank interest is charged during these times will be a strong factor to close SMEs. It may be clarified that SMEs may not maintain quality & prices to compete at home and & for exports.
- Installments of all loans such as running credit or any shape must be waived off for 6 months.
- Bank interest rate has been an issue of survival for SMEs form long times but central bank and policy makers have been ingnoring it but it is the time to to bring this down to a suitable single digit of 5/6% permanently.
- All banks must prepare the list of their SME clients and contact them through a team of young volunteers to access their need to remain alive and ready to perform as and when required, such teams may also contact the work force of these small units so that their problems of all sorts are solved at door steps including health requirement for which governments is fully alert and ready to address the health issues.
- SMEDA must establish a: NATIONAL SME PORTAL: operative 24 hours to receive problems & suggestions of SMEs and referred these on to concerned provincial departments, organizations, people and federal government for their timely support.
All we need is a close linkage with responsibility & maintain connectivity and most importantly to supplement the government efforts sincerely without fear to save our industry and country.
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Writer of this article is :
Amb: Rehmatullah Javed
Founder Secretary General SAARC Chamber
SME Expert of Pakistan