Promotion of SMEs top on SBP agenda: Tariq Bajwa

SIALKOT: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa has said that adequate efforts were being made for the promotion of SME sector in the country.

Addressing a seminar on “SME Banking Products and Projects”, jointly arranged by Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the Institute of Bankers Pakistan
(IBP) held here Thursday evening at SCCI, he said that SME sector was not only playing an instrumental role in strengthening the economy, but also providing employment opportunities to a large number of workers.

Tariq further said that three-point SBP initiatives would support SME financing including improving regulatory framework through revising prudential regulations, strengthening
secured transactions framework and the introduction of SME targets, market development through SME supportive subsidised refinance schemes, risk coverage scheme, Islamic SME financing, cluster survey and non-financial advisory service and improving capacity
building and awareness creation of bankers and SMEs.

The SBP Governor said that under National Financial Inclusion (NFIS) and strategic direction of SBP, SME sector had been identified as one of the key priority areas.
In line with the strategic direction of SBP, key benchmarks are expected to be achieved by 2020, like increased SME share from existing 8 per cent of private sector credit to 17 per cent and to increase the number of borrowers from existing 174,000 to 500,000, he said.
In order to achieve these objectives a policy had been prepared for the promotion of SME finance, he disclosed.

He added that there were nine pillars of the policy which included improving regulatory framework, up-scaling of microfinance banks, risk mitigation strategy, simplified procedures
for SMEs, programme base lending and value chain financing, capacity building and awareness creation, hand-holding of SMEs and leverage technology and simplification of taxation regime. Earlier, President SCCI Zahid Latif Malik presented the welcome address and highlighted the problems of the business community.

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