ISLAMABAD, March 26 (APP):The National Assembly standing committee on Industries and Production Tuesday informed by the Advisor to Prime Minister/In-charge Ministry of Industries and Production Abdul Razak Dawood that currently National SME policy was under developing process and will be presented before the Minister in-charge on 11th April, 2019.

The committee which met here at Parliament House with Member National Assembly Sajid Hussain Turi in chair recommended that new SME policy may also be shared with the Committee on its finalization.

Abdul Razak Dawood further informed the Committee that due to immense economic significance, SMEs in Pakistan were first recognized as a distinct segment at policy level.
Since the approval of the SME policy in 2007, various initiatives have been taken to promote SME growth in the country. However, rapidly changing business environment calls for a need to revise SME policy to bring the said sector in line with the global changes by setting objectives, he added.

While talking about the issue of Utility Stores Corporation (USC) the Advisor informed the committee that neither any utility store will be closed nor the employees USC being sacked.
Earlier the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Small & Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) briefed the Committee about the vision and mission of the authority.

He informed that SMEDA was responsible for making policy and to provide over all planning relating to SMEs sector in Pakistan by protecting the interest of SMEs.

He added that SMEDA was also providing assistance for establishing association of persons, firm company, body or corporate concerning SMEs in Pakistan.

The Committee member has expressed their concern on the performance of the SMEDA and has shown its apprehension on the expenditures and outcome of the projects made by SMEDA.

The committee was also given a detail briefing by the Managing Director USC and informed that major functions of corporation were to protect the real income of the people by selling essential consumer items at prices lower than those prevailing in the open market.

USC also has to act as a price moderator in the market and deterrent to profiteering, hoarding and black marketing.
The committee at the outset briefed about the modern techniques proposed by the USC for its smooth and efficient working and informed that policy is under consideration that without effecting employees, the stores which are in close be shifted in those areas where they can earn profit.

The committee also informed that corporation is also introducing USC E-Loyalty card (e.g Master card) to extend buying power of low income customers and will integrate with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and Pakistan Bait-ul mall (PBM) via USC E-Loyalty card.

Managing Director also briefed the Committee about year wise sales, subsidy provided by the Government, net profit loss and taxes paid by the Corporation.

Briefing the committee about the existing infrastructure including strength of employees he informed that USC was comprised 9 Zones, 65 regions, 130 warehouses and 3942 stores including 92 Franchises.
He added that 5862, regular, 3835 contractual and 3403 daily wages employees were working in USC.

The Managing Director, USC informed that USC was working on a contract with some Saudi Arabia businessman for obtaining funds up to Rupees 5 Billion on two years deferred payments basis, for improving the performance of Utility Stores Corporation.

The MD, USC while briefing about the grievances of employees, informed that Establishment Division has informed that the said matter may be decided by the USC at its own level, which may be decided in the Board of the USC, shortly.

While, discussing the performance of USC, the Committee members were of the view that Government should provide subsidy for smooth working of the Corporation.

The Committee recommended that inquiry report regarding supply of substandard Ghee to USC, (earlier) and other utility items, which were stopped at that time, may be furnished to the Committee for its consideration.

The Committee unanimously recommended that Mushtaq Ahmed, Senior Joint Secretary, Ministry of Industries & Production, currently holding look after charge of the post of MD, Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan may be allowed to continue as Acting Chairman, USC till 30thJune, 2019.

Beside the members of the committee the meeting was also attended by the senior officers of Ministry of Industries & Production, USC, SMEDA, EDB and other related departments and ministries.