´╗┐Concerns over higher landed cost following rupee depreciation

Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has expressed serious concern on increase in cost of imported raw material due to depreciation of Pakistani rupee and corresponding increase in import duty, resulting in high landed cost.

Speaking in a meeting at the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver and members of the SME Council were deeply concerned about the turmoil the local industry is facing due to the high increase in the cost of import of raw material as well as packing material and secondly under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) the high probability and likelihood of China importing raw material from Pakistan and exporting finished goods to Pakistan. This will make our industry non-competitive and will give a serious setback to our industry they said.

Thaver and the participants urged Mukesh Kumar the Sindh provincial chief to advocate the cause of the SME units and propose to the ministry of commerce to take into serious consideration the apprehensions of the local industry.

The SME experts Dr Shehzad Amin, Muslim Abbasi, Haji Saeed, Asif Hayat, Athar Farooq Nizami and Mir Salman invited the attention of Imran Ahmad the Additional Director (AD) State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to the need for financing the farm sector to enable it to modernize itself and install solar and wind energy systems, modern farm machinery, build warehouses and cold storages and dehydration and paddy drying systems. The farmers are at the mercy of the money lenders who take a big share in the farm income. There is urgent need to increase agricultural productivity said Haji Saeed the chairman of SME Farmers Association (SMEFA).

The farmers need to be free from the clutches of these money lenders and this can only be achieved by micro and SME bank financing.

The participants also invited the attention of SMEDA, SBP and UNISAME to the requirement of increasing exports through the commercial attaches abroad by placing responsibility of introducing Pakistani goods in the countries where they are serving Pakistan as counsellors and trade representatives.

Dr Shehzad Amin offered help in marketing and image building of brands. Asif Hayat offered help in registration of patents, brands and intellectual property rights and all legal matters connected therewith.

Mir Salman highlighted the need to develop boat-building and promoting fishery business along the coast.

Athar Farooq Nizami offered his services for the increase in exports of agricultural produce namely rice, wheat, maize, sugar and commodities.

They demanded that if the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) is not in a position to look after the SME sector then the sector needs to have a separate SME export promotion bureau.

Mukesh Kumar, the Sindh provincial chief SMEDA, promised to take up the issues with the ministry of industries for inclusion of proposals and Imran Ahmad AD SBP said the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) is involved in capacity building and inclusion of all segments of society and advised the SMEs to benefit from the Sindh Entrepreneurs Development Fund (SEDF) which offers high incentives for agricultural produce value addition

Before the meeting a small ceremony was conducted and Imran Ahmad the AD of SBP presented the SME Life Time Achievement Award announced by Shamrock International Conferences (SIC) at their 11th Micro and SME Conference at Islamabad on 23rd November 2017 to Thaver who said he felt humbled and thanked SIC, SMEDA and SBP profusely for their institutional support to UNISAME.

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