Published Date: May 19, 2019
Parliamentary Secretary, National History and Literary Heritage Division, Ghazala Saifi, has said that startups, creative social enterprises, businesses and the general public usually see the regulatory bodies including Federal Board of Revenue and Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan as threat and fear to approach for any guidance.
Ms Safia was speaking at a roundtable meeting on “Regulatory reform priorities for social enterprises” organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute in collaboration with British Council and UN Economic & Social Commission for Asia and Pacific.
Ms Safia urged the regulatory bodies to work on achieving confidence of startups, social enterprises and the businesses through removing the fear factor by providing facilitation and guidance. Moreover, awareness should be raised on the rules, regulations and laws of the regulatory authorities and provided easy access to general public, she continued.
Ghazala Saifi said though Creative Social Enterprises (CSE) sector has the potential to create employment and can help achieve inclusive growth, the sector is facing the issue of recognition in the legal regime due to lack of an agreeable and legit definition. She said in consultation with all stakeholders, a clear, short and agreeable definition should be defined at the earliest, which then should be debated for legit definition.
Joint Executive Director, SDPI, Dr Vaqar Ahmed, said that social enterprises are facing the issues of financing, taxation, lack of access to public procurement opportunities, legal and regulatory. He said a legal or agreed upon definition for social enterprises can help the sector to get access bank credit and public grants. A certification system may be devised by the government which will recognise credible enterprises doing social work, he added. Sadia Rehman, Director Society, British Council, said that her organisation through programmes like Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies (DICE) is promoting skills and employability and supports the development of creative and social enterprises for inclusive economic growth in developing countries like Pakistan. She said our focus is on skill development and supporting the young people who are vulnerable and lack the opportunities to grow and thrive.
Dr Ashfaq Ahmed, Director General, FBR, while acknowledging the issues and challenges faced by the social enterprises and other businesses said that social enterprise sector need to be differentiated from the Non-Profit Organisation (NPOs), as the sector generates the taxable income. He said in order to get tax incentive, government subsidies and other related benefits there is a need of legal framework available for social enterprises to help recognise the sector. We need to have a social enterprise law to give a status and structure to social enterprise sector, he concluded.
Khalida Perveen, Joint Director, SECP, stressed the need of exploring the existing benefits provided under the law, which should be made available across the board. She said that social enterprise sector can only be provided with tax benefits if there is legal structure available.
A participant from Procurement Regulatory Authority said that there are no such rules or procedures available under PPRA law which may provide any favour to any enterprise sector including the non-profit organisation and it needs amendments in the PPRA law, rules and procedures.