LAHORE, Mar 01 (APP): Participants of a three-day pre-budget consultative session conducted by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) have demanded simplification and relaxation in taxes with an added access to finance for SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) sector.

The session conducted online was presided over by Hashim Raza, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) SMEDA and was attended by a large number of participants from chambers of commerce & industry, and trade associations of Lahore, Sialkot, Karachi, Dadu, Peshawar, Chakwal, Jehlum, Sahiwal, Mirpurkhas, Mardan, and Kohat, SMEDA spokesman disclosed this to media here on Monday.

In his opening address, Hashim Raza said that SMEDA had started a move to facilitate creation of a conducive business environment for SMEs in the country. He invited the participants to share their views, proposals and recommendations for consideration of the government while formulating the Federal Budget 2021-22.

He also apprised the participants of developments being made in the SME sector through the recently approved National SME Policy Action Plan 2020.

The SMEDA CEO said, the private sector had an important role to play in sustainable development of the country. Input received from the private sector would form the basis of formulating recommendations for the Federal Government’s consideration for the upcoming federal budget to provide necessary support to SMEs in such critical times, he added.

During the three-day session, participants proposed to introduce measures for simplification of taxation procedures, relaxation of custom duties and tariffs, facilitation for improving SMEs’ access to finance, infrastructure development, removing tax anomalies and double taxation at provincial level, reduction of corporate tax on SMEs from 25 per cent to 20 per cent, financial support to mining sector for acquisition of modern technology,

provision of testing facilities to footwear sector, reduction in sales tax for marble and granite sector, inclusion of leasing companies and modaraba in concessional schemes of SBP, removal of tax anomalies faced by tea manufacturing sector, developing gems cities in Lahore, Karachi and Hyderabad and provision of R&D grant for sector development.

They also stressed the need for providing testing facilities and research and development support for improving product quality.

Women entrepreneurs called for the special package for women owned businesses aiming to enhance women participation in economic activity.

Besides the chambers of commerce and industry, the participants of the trade associations representing various sectors including; textile, footwear, printing & text book board, gems and jewelry, furniture, mining, pharmaceutical, light engineering, tea, and PVC pipe manufacturers also participated in the second day session, while representatives of women chambers located in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Bahawalpur, participated in the third day session and shared their recommendations to support women owned businesses.