ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Science and Technology has launched a “Certification Incentive Program” (CIP) for SMEs under Productivity, Quality and Invention (PQI) Initiative 2025 to support SMEs in improving certification framework that would lead to better quality products, improved industrial productivity, high levels of competitiveness and wider penetration of Pakistani products into the international market.
To brief the business community about the key features of the program, Ministry of Science and Technology organised an introductory seminar on “Certification Incentive Program” at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Ministry of S and T Project Manager Shaheen Raja said that SME’s or firms which achieve certifications such as the ISO 9001, 14001, 18001 and others would be eligible to apply for this program.
He said the program would be for three years out of which one year has already passed and it would cost Rs745,81 million. 75 per cent of this cost would be spent on giving grants to SMEs for achieved certifications while the rest would be spent on capacity building and training. The program would guide and support the SMEs to adopt new trends of international competitiveness, improved industrial productivity and quality.
He said the SMEs were not bound by law to obtain certifications, however, for promoting exports in the international market, they have to achieve these certifications as the international clients preferred to buy from certified firms.
The SMEs of food, non-food and services sectors would be eligible to apply. The program shall provide only one-time reimbursement against a valid certification and the incentive would be provided to applicant SMEs for only one scheme of their choice.
The scheme envisages one-time reimbursement of partial expenditure for acquiring a certification, so applicable. An amount of Rs0.1 to 0.4 million per certification for each SME is earmarked under the project.
Intensive nation vide training program for related certification schemes would be organised and the permanent registered SMEs/units would be eligible to avail the Incentive Scheme.
Addressing the seminar, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICC) President Sheikh Amir Waheed said that SMEs were the backbone of the economy and government should take strong initiatives to improve their competitiveness and productivity.
He said there were about 3.2 million SMEs in the country, but due to a lack of financial and other resources, only a nominal number of them had achieved certifications.
He hoped that the CIP would help SMEs in adopting new business trends, attaining new technologies, improving competitiveness, and increasing the country’s exports.
ICCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Naveed and ICCI Vice President Nisar Mirza thanked the Ministry of Science and Technology for organising the seminar on CIP at ICCI and assured that the chamber would fully cooperate with the ministry in introducing this program in local SMEs so that the maximum possible number of SMEs in the region could avail benefits.