PM’s adviser stresses need to unlock SME potential

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said on Thursday that the ‘Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP)’ programme had come at the most appropriate time when Pakistan was geared toward the finalisation of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Policy.

Speaking to the participants of the first stakeholders’ consultation on GRASP, the adviser said that the small and medium enterprises make up the bulk of businesses in Pakistan, hence in order to achieve coherent, broad-based and sustainable economic growth, there was a need to focus on SMEs and unlock the potential in livestock and horticulture besides other sectors in the country.

He also appreciated the European Union’s support for Pakistan’s development, especially through GSP-plus and various other development programmes.

The adviser underlined that GRASP would strengthen SMEs in the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan which are associated with livestock, dairy and horticulture.

He also emphasised that livestock, dairy and horticulture, which account for 70pc of value-added agriculture, have particularly strong potential for growth, climate adaptation and increased participation of women.

“SMEs in these sectors face major challenges,” he noted.

Milko Van Gool, Head of Development Cooperation of EU in Pakistan said, “GRASP aligns with the rural development and economic cooperation initiatives of the EU in Pakistan as it would help SMEs in horticulture, livestock and dairy sectors become more competitive by making improvements at all levels of the value chains.

“These consultations would help in adapting to the federal and provincial context in Pakistan for maximum impact on the lives of people in Sindh and Baluchistan.”

International Trade Centre’s Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness Chief Robert Skidmore highlighted that the contributions of development partners would help Pakistan achieve a measurable reduction in poverty and increase in economic growth, besides creation of more job opportunities.

ITC officials Olivier Marty and Owais Khan were also present. The nine-month inception phase of the project began in June 2019. This project is funded by EU in Pakistan and is implemented by ITC.

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