Published Date: Mar 6, 2019
12th Five Year Plan should provide a national strategy for social enterprise sector
The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) under Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms (MoPDR) will propose a national strategy for promotion of social enterprise sector in Pakistan. The strategy will be part of the 12th Five Year Plan of MoPDR.
Experts during the meeting titled “Pre-Budget Proposals for Social Enterprises,” jointly organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) and British Council in collaboration with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) and MoPDR, said the primary focus of the national strategy should be to offer a road map on ease of doing business and reduction in cost of doing business for social enterprises.
MNA Ghazala Saifi, Parliamentary Secretary, National History and Literary Heritage Division said government fully supports the idea of social entrepreneurship and will take measures to facilitate this sector to thrive and flourish. Our economy is not in a good situation and requires value addition from local entrepreneurs including social enterprises to stabilize the economy. There is a need to involve the large businesses and make them aware of the social enterprise sector, where large businesses can channelize their funds to help grow the social enterprises. Social Entrepreneurship should be taught at the school-level and there is a need to establish more social enterprise incubation centers at university level to generate awareness, building capacity and equipping the young generation with necessary entrepreneurship skills.
Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI during his presentation said it is encouraging to see the increased number of social enterprises in Pakistan. He said enterprises such as Akhuwat, Fori Mazdoori, Ghonsla, Rabtt, Rizq, Saibaan, Naya Jeevan, SEED Ventures and many others are aiming to bridge the service delivery gaps and contribute to community uplift through income generation, education, skill development, health, environmental protection, and renewable energy interventions. Overtime the work of such organisations will contribute to timely achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), he added. The sustainability of social enterprises in Pakistan still remains a challenge due to issues such as lack of awareness regarding business models of these enterprises, access to funding, difficult taxation regime, legal and regulatory issues which prevent scale-up, and difficulties in accessing public procurement opportunities, he remarked. Dr Vaqar suggested that timely support for these enterprises through 12th Five Year Plan, public sector development programme, providing them a recognized definition, availability of affordable credit, allowing tax treatment similar to charities and non-profit bodies, and respecting a quota in public procurement can help these enterprises to introduce greater innovation in their work.
James Hampson, Director Programs, British Council said that the newly launched issue paper on Social Enterprise Development in Pakistan would guide the policy makers at federal and provincial levels regarding facilitation required by Social Enterprises in Pakistan. He said British Council has a lot of success stories regarding UK based social enterprises and wanted to help Pakistani government for inclusive growth and development.
Khawar Mumtaz, Chairperson, National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) said we have a large number of educated women which lack knowledge and have limited opportunities to get into the social enterprise sector. She said when it comes to women entrepreneurship; social enterprise sector has to be looked from multi-perspective approach which includes skills and employment, and mobility and security. To overcome the constraints for women, there is a need to develop the capacity of women and create facilities for them, she added. Our society is very charity oriented and the transition from philanthropy to social enterprises would be a big challenge, she remarked.
Saram Bokhari, Project Director, Centre for Social Entrepreneurship (CSE) Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms said that the Centre’s vision is to empower young social entrepreneurs to tackle issues that prohibit the development of people and communities across Pakistan. He said the social enterprise sector should have a definition which should be relevant to Pakistani context in order to resolve the regulatory and legal regime issues of the sector. Faisal Khokhar, Director Research, Board of Investment (BOI) said BOI is undertaking ease of doing business reforms, especially in the sector of affordable housing and tourism sector. He said there is need of civil service reforms for better implementation of investment policies in the country.