The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has identified five clusters of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as the high potential export-oriented sectors of the economy, which include information technology (IT), food processing, surgical instruments, leather, and pharmaceutical.
The sectors were discussed at an exclusive session on private sector-led growth at the recent Turn around Pakistan Conference.
SMEDA Chief Executive Officer Hashim Raza who gave a presentation on the significance of SMEs in enhancing export-led growth at the conference informed that one of the key areas of the conference for improving the competitiveness was to adopt a cluster-based development of high potential SME sectors from a trade augmentation perspective.
The cluster-based approach can lead to the integration of supply chain, ease in logistics, knowledge sharing, availability of skilled labor, and uniform evolution of the SME sector, he said adding that the cluster-based approach may also help improve value addition, which in turn will help the country get plugged into the global value chain and fetch higher export proceeds, thus leading to export-oriented growth of the economy.
He acknowledged that the conference’s module had especially focused to identify high potential export-oriented sectors of the economy along with the key issues and gaps in the cluster-based value chain. He informed that stakeholders of the SME sector have suggested a number of key interventions to address the issues faced by SMEs by identifying five sectors that include IT, food processing, surgical instruments, leather, and pharmaceutical by recommending a set of supportive policy measures to enhance export.
The suggestions given by the stakeholders demanded incentives for tax relief to the SMEs producing medium to high-tech value-added products including the establishment of IT-specific technology zones and FDIs in high-tech industries. The support for acquisition, diffusion, and transfer of technology has also been demanded by the stakeholders of SME sectors to enhance productivity and competitiveness of the aforementioned sectors, he said.
Moreover, facilitation to SMEs in areas of technological transformation, research and development, and financial assistance to grab emerging opportunities in the international market was also sought by the SME stakeholders at the conference, he added.