Published Date: Oct 23, 2018
Creative, Social Enterprises create jobs, experts
Pakistan has a thriving startup and entrepreneurship culture, wherein creative and social enterprises (CSEs) are contributing significantly to national income, employment and poverty reduction. However, many such enterprises are unable to grow due to excessive regulatory burden, high cost of doing business, distortive tax regime, and lack of credit. For CSEs to thrive there is a dire need of reducing regulatory burden on the sector.
These were the views of the experts at policy component launch of ‘Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) Pakistan’, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with British Council and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific here on Tuesday. DICE is a multinational program that supports the development of creative and social enterprises in the UK and five key emerging economies which include Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, and South Africa.
Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, Joint Executive Director, SDPI said despite significant and growing contribution of Creative and Social Enterprises (CSEs) sector to the overall economy of the country, the sector is facing many challenges on regulatory and tax regime fronts. CSEs can be incentivized by allowing a quota in public procurement. He suggested that the SME policy of State Bank of Pakistan can also demand the commercial banks to take a risk on social entrepreneurs and facilitate credit. The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Planning Commission can also seek inputs from social entrepreneurs and ask them regarding their issues related to intellectual property, labour, environment, and several municipal laws, he added.
Dr Vaqar said the planning and development departments at the provincial governments should recognize the social and creative enterprise sector and how this can contribute to sustainable development goals (SDGs). The growth strategies of provincial governments can facilitate social start-ups through their development budgets. SECP laws may also encourage impact funding and crowdsourcing of funds towards social enterprises, he added.
Tristan Ace, head of the British Council’s Social Enterprise programme across Asia, said that given the potential to grow, there is a need of building an enabling environment for SCEs to flourish in emerging economies such as Pakistan. He said that policy development for SECs sector is very hard, but the impact on the ground is larger and significant. He said that ‘Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) Pakistan’ program aim to foster inclusive growth and progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). DICE program takes an innovative, cross-sectoral approach which draws on UK expertise in the creative and social economies, he added.
Towards the end of the launch event, different working groups suggested measures to develop a comprehensive policy for CSEs sector. On regulation and certification component of the proposed policy, different stakeholders suggested that the regulatory regime should be simplified to ensure ease in doing businesses. On tax, incentives and procurement component stakeholders suggested that the new start-ups and CSEs should be given special tax rebates for at least 5 years to thrive. On funding and finance component of policy, they suggested that for the ease of international investors, there should be a toolkit containing guidelines for targeted investments. And on culture, understanding and awareness component of the policy, they suggested consolidation of data at one platform and effective use of social and digital media for dissemination of requisite information regarding CSEs