Speaking at seminar, SDPI Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmad suggested that the government’s support to social enterprises could be started by giving a legal definition to social enterprise entities. The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Planning Commission, he said, could work with provincial planning departments and support social enterprises (SEs) through provincial development plans. He said the forthcoming budget could provide for support to start-ups towards the capacity building and organizational development needs of such entities.
Realizing the need for greater reforms, Chairman of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue Qaiser Ahmad Sheikh said,”We have social enterprise on the agenda of the committee’s forthcoming meeting and the committee will welcome and consider the recommendations from SDPI to formulate or amend laws for the sector.” He said the committee had been discussing the simplification of SECP laws, which would also help the sector.
Further, he said, the government should give more attention to the sector for greater society benefits. Zeenia Faraz, Head of Programmes-Society British Council, stressed the need for greater awareness raising at the grass-rosts level for social enterprise to create the culture of social entrepreneurship in the society. She said a lot of young people were taking interest in the social entrepreneurship, which needed to be encouraged. She said such inspiring young leaders need to be listened for the strengthening of the sector.
Social entrepreneurship has the potential of resolve the big issues, such as unemployment in the country, she added. Faraz Khan CEO Social Entrepreneurship & Equity Development (SEED) said that in near future, social enterprise is going to contribute significantly to the economy of the country. However, the sector needed more structure policy and regulation and a policy platform, where challenges and hurdles can be discussed to help improve the sector.
Omar J Ghani South Asia Regional Director ENCLUDE said that social entrepreneurship is a self-sustainable sector, but unfortunately, the sector lacks legal structure and regulatory framework while Rabia Shoaib Ahmad Director Corporate Advisory Council NUST said by integrating technology in social entrepreneurship, societal issues can be tackled innovatively. Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed Qadir, Director General International Affairs Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) said the consumers and society want better options for the services provided to them.
So, there is demand in the market and social enterprises have the potential to innovative and better solutions to local need. Social enterprise should be seen as enhancing economic activity, helping the community and promoter of innovation and technology, he said. Earlier, an in-depth research on the prevalent social enterprise policy landscape in Pakistan was shared with the participants, the research conducted by SDPI, in collaboration with various knowledge partners suggested that urgent policy interventions are required to provide an enabling environment and a level playing field for social entrepreneurs in the country. The research further explained that the fiscal policy measures were also required to bring down the cost of doing social business for the welfare of the poorest of the poor.