UNISAME demands tariff protection for domestic industries

KARACHI: Union of Small and Medium Enterprises UNISAME demanded tariff protection for domestic industries to survive in the face of under invoiced imported goods.

President UNISAME Zulfikar Thaver speaking at a talk show on local television channel told viewers that the domestic SME units are finding it very difficult as goods are imported in bulk and dumped in the markets. The importers under invoice the goods and the local industries are unable to complete them.

He said the definition committee is revisiting the SME definition to make it broader to include those SMEs who have grown during the last decade. Besides SMEs need to join the mainstream and change the firms into joint stock companies for inclusion of all family members under joint ownership and secure their future generation and encourage them towards corporate Style governance.

He enumerated the requirements of the sector and said the entrepreneurs need land at concession, finance under pay as you earn scheme, reduction in import duties on raw material and demanded 0% duty on all alternate energy systems. As member board of directors he said is main focus is on modernization of agriculture and value addition in agro based industries. There is vast scope in agro based industries, green house farming and dehydration of fruits, vegetables and extraction of juices and pulps from fruits.

It is very important that the government gives incentives for innovative industries and import substitution industries to reduce the burden of imports. Import of goods manufactured in Pakistan needs to be discouraged and all made in Pakistan goods must be encouraged and supported by mass campaign.

He urged the government to improve banking and leasing, insurance facilities for the sector and emphasized the need for trade policy, industrial and monetary policies to be SME friendly. Thaver demanded priority for SME sector and housing. The SME sector is the majority sector and the housing sectors engulfs 39 different industries.

The union has urged the government to enhance the tax exemption limit up to Rs 600000 per annum but income tax return must be filed by all entrepreneurs. The income tax for those earning more than Rs 600000 must not be more than 20% as otherwise the entrepreneurs feel they are earning for the government and not themselves.

The government needs to focus on the export of engineering goods, food items, textiles, leather and chemicals as there is decline in the exports of these goods due to increase in cost of production.

He advised the SMEs to set up industries and assured them that the new government is SME friendly and very keen to ensure that the SMEs get good environment, have access to finance, get incentives to grow and tax benefits for new entrants. On behalf of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority SMEDA, he assured the viewers and the home based and cottage industries to utilize SMEDA help desk and form proper entities and organize their businesses.

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