By Sarmad Mahmud
SIALKOT, May 12 (APP): It is an undeniable fact that without the active participation of women in business no country can attain the economic stability and prosperity.
In Pakistan, women who constitute half of the population of the country are taking active part in the economic activities with zeal and commitment. One should recognize open hardheartedly that women entrepreneurs are confronting with critical issues
and certain barriers which are creating problems in doing business.
Undoubtedly, women entrepreneurship is a key factor in economic development and there is a great need of formulating polices to empower women folk to involve them in business activities. In current era it is high time that women entrepreneurship should be promoted in the larger national interest and in this regard, the government should announce special incentives for women entrepreneurship by introducing financing facilities etc in the country.
Provincial and Federal governments should announce special incentives and concessions for encouraging the women entrepreneurship enabling them to establish their independent business.
Sialkot is the hub of largest cluster of export oriented cottage industry in Pakistan that is contributing handsome foreign exchange to national economy despite certain odds. Women are coming up as emerging economic force in main industrial hubs, of the country, including Sialkot and the ratio of entrepreneurship is increasing, day by day, in industrial activity especially in this export-oriented city and hub of cottage industry of the country.
It is encouraging that Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) is making adequate efforts to encourage women entrepreneurship to enter into business line and extending all possible support and cooperation to them for doing business. In order to promote women entrepreneurship the SCCI had established Women Resource Centre (WRC) for resolving their problems on priority basis.
Talking to APP the Vice Chairperson Departmental Committee on Women Entrepreneur Nadia Qaiser said that basic objective of setting up Women Resource Centre was to recognize the role of women folk in economic growth and bringing them on equal footings with men. Special attention had been focused on enhancing entrepreneurial skills among the women entrepreneurs enabling them to do business conveniently, she said. She suggested that Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) should formulate a separate plan for sending business women delegation to abroad.
Sialkot Chamber, she said was making strenuous efforts for bridging the gap between urban and rural populations with the concept of opening channel of communication and involved them in small business programmes.
Nadia disclosed that Agriculture Committee and Women Resource Centre of SCCI in collaboration of USAID and PEEP (Punjab Enabling Environment Project) had established a women led network of milk collection and provision of hygienic, wholesome, fresh and affordable milk to the consumers of Sialkot city.
The milk supply sector of Sialkot has tremendous potential for growth through ensuring supply of good quality of milk to the consumers and through ensuring good returns to the dairy farmers she said. The initiative was increasing rural women’s involvement by establishing the women led network of milk collection for provision of hygienic milk, she added..
Nadia disclosed that “Khud Kafalat Rozgaar programme of SCCI would provide three wheelers, chillers and animals to people interested in earning income in dairy value chain adding that the chiller mounted rickshaw would replace the current milk collection system on motorcycles with chemical drums on both sides.
She said the women farmers would get increased income from improved productivity of their dairy animals and from milk sales to the people, adding that they will be introduced to entrepreneurship in dairy through access to finance and non-financial advisory services.
While expressing her views Women Resource Centre (WRC) Coordinator Mehmooda Nadeem Butt said that the mission of WRC was to enhance entrepreneurial skills among women entrepreneurs of Sialkot by providing them easy access to resources for initiating and growing their business. “We believe that together we can make huge strides towards making women of Sialkot as successful as their male counterparts in trade and commerce sector not only for enhancing the export volume but also strengthening the national economy she said.