EU Ambassador, SMEDA discuss SMEs

LAHORE, Feb 17 (APP): European Union’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara said on Wednesday that delegation of the European Union to Pakistan would help local SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises Development) to get maximum benefit from GSP Plus status.

She expressed these views in a meeting with Hashim Raza, Chief Executive Officer of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authroity (SMEDA) here at SMEDA head office.

The meeting was also attended by Nadia Jahangir Seth, GM Policy and Planning Division and Sheheryar Tahir, Director External Affairs Department of SMEDA. Whereas, the Ambassador, on this occasion was accompanied by her First Secretary Sven Ruesh and Consular Trade and Communication Mr. Daniel Clauss.

The Ambassador said that the EU had provided GSP Plus status under 27 conditions as many of these conditions had already been ratified by Pakistan. Since 2014, Pakistan’s exports to EU had increased to a substantial level and it had a bright scope for further enhancement through SMEs.

She said that Pakistan’s major exports to the EU were textiles and leather. There were many other areas that could be accessed under the GSP Plus status. She mentioned that Pakistani entrepreneurs could focus on the other sectors like Handicrafts and Gems and Jewelry.

She further said that there was great potential for women entrepreneurship through SMEs, which were central to value addition. She expressed serious intention to have a persistent consultation with SMEDA to lay down special initiatives to support SME development process in Pakistan.

Earlier, SMEDA CEO Hashim Raza gave a warm welcome to the Ambassador and apprised her about the services, projects and special initiatives developed by SMEDA for growth and sustainability of the SMEs in Pakistan.

He added that SMEDA was a group of about 120 professionals working across the country on SME development. SMEDA functions also included assistance in business pre-feasibility & planning, accounts & book-keeping and tax & regulatory affairs, besides developing and implementing a number of projects to fill in the missing links in value chain of the SMEs production and marketing. He specially referred to the Agro-food plant set up at Multan as a success story in this regard.

Regarding women entrepreneurship development in Pakistan, CEO SMEDA informed the Ambassador that an exclusive department under a senior manager was working since 2005, under which women business incubation center in major cities of Pakistan had graduated a number of new women entrepreneurs.

Such new centers were now being established in the less developed areas like Gilgit-Baltistan and Dera Ismail Khan, he added.