Karachi: The Union of Small and Medium Enterprises (UNISAME) has urged the government to come out of its comfort zone and prepare itself to meet the challenges it is facing due to global slowdown, resulting in decline in exports and Chinese currency devaluation.
President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver said the Ministry of Commerce (MINCOM) must not remain in a state of denial and must roll up its sleeves to meet the challenges strategically.
He said MINCOM needs to carry out industry specific studies in commodities, textiles, engineering, foodstuffs and general merchandise items and plan for the next few crucial years.
Thaver said the forthcoming Trade Policy would remain meaningless unless it promotes the value addition SME sector profusely.
The union chief said more than 1000 rice factories, thousands of textile units and hundreds of food processing industries have closed down due to insufficient demand from overseas markets.
Exporters to Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Egypt and other countries have lost business due to unfavorable conditions and political risk and many are stuck with their receivables blocked in banks due to non remittance of bills.
UNISAME experts have urged MINCOM to wake up and face ground realities and co-ordinate with the ministries of agriculture, finance and industries and revitalize the SME sector and ensure the inclusion of SME promotion and development in the forthcoming Trade Policy.
UNISAME reiterated the need for SME export house, value addition education and banking facilities for export to third world countries. The promotion of nontraditional goods to nontraditional markets is the need of the hour and this could be best done by the SME sector if facilitated by access to finance and discounting of bills.
It is pertinent to note that unless steps are taken to overcome decline in exports of major items of textiles, rice and commodities the economy will face serious trade deficit.
The government needs to cut down its own expenses, sharpen the commercial attaches in foreign markets. strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), awaken the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) it will not be able to overcome the declining exports.
The import bill is soaring with the heavy imports of luxury goods, foodstuffs, textiles causing the local industry to suffer. There is no tariff protection for the domestic industry. All types of goods are being dumped in our markets.
The importers are importing ship loads of goods with undeclared money and dispatching them to neighboring countries but it is a burden on our foreign exchange as they import through banks.
The government needs to promote import substitution industries and also facilitate the investors to set up innovative industries.
It is very important to subsidize the solar energy sector and lessen the burden on the national grid without loss of time. The Trade Policy needs to promote the import of solar devices and systems under subsidy to resolve the energy crisis.