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Our Correspondent

The News International

Published Date: Jun 13, 2020

Better business regulatory environment sought for SMEs

Islamabad : The business regulatory environment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) needs to be improved through appropriate measures to enable them to cope with the unprecedented challenges posed by coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The notion was shared by stakeholders during an online dialogue organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here.

The participants said measures were required beyond the short-term relief, which could be announced in the 2020-21 Federal Budget and take a medium- to long-term view of difficulties faced by small enterprises.

Mukesh Kumar, head of SMEDA, Sindh, said as the ways of doing business are changing fast as a result of COVID-19, we need to come up with the responses that may meet the requirements of the diverse kinds of enterprises. He said some micro and small businesses may be in need of loans but for others we may need to give one-off grants to help them stand back on their feet.

Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI, while sharing the latest research conducted by his institute, said around 1.4 million SMEs may face 50% decline in their income and three million SMEs in Pakistan may need assistance in after COVID-19 scenario. He said almost 9.5 million of non-agricultural jobs were at risk due to pandemic.

According to another research, Dr Vaqar said, 58% SMEs had already laid off employees, whereas 47% had reduced employee salaries. Besides, women-led enterprises have also reported 61% reduction in their revenue forecast for April–June 2020.

” Dr Vaqar said the regulatory modernisation initiative could help reduce the number of regulatory steps and costs faced by businesses.

Amir Qureshi, representing Habib Bank Limited (HBL), highlighted that the banks will need to develop non-conventional ways of evaluating risks and improve delivery of refinance schemes.