ISLAMABAD: The Bank Alfalah and International Finance Corporation in collaboration with Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized an awareness session on SMEs Toolkit launched by Bank Alfalah to provide online business management solutions to SMEs in the country.
Speaking at the occasion, Sikandar Karim, Bank Alflah, Head, Non-Financial Advisory, said that the role of SMEs has become more important in economic development, especially in privatization and deregulation scenario. He said Bank Alfalah in conjunction with IFC has introduced Non-Financial Advisory Services to SMEs in Pakistan, which will add significant value to small and medium businesses. He said SME Toolkit provided vital managerial tools and global learning resources to SMEs and will empower the entrepreneurial community to play more effective role in economic progress of the country.
He said Bank Alfalah was serving about 200,000 SMEs by catering to their cash flow, working capital, business expansion and investment requirements. He said Bank Alfalah was the only bank that has launched two unique services “Alfalah Milkiat Finance” and “Merchant Line” to meet the needs of small businesses for growth and expansion. The SME Toolkit, available for free at www.pakistan.smetoolkit.org, offers tools and expert advice on how to start, run and grow a business and covers a wide range of business management areas including accounting, finance, human resources, legal issues, and marketing etc.
Muzammil Hussain Sabri, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that SMEs were the backbone of the economy as they were contributing more than 35 percent to GDP and generating more than 70 employment in non-agriculture sector, but 90 percent of the SMEs were facing financing problems. He said SMEs lending in Pakistan was just 16 percent of the total lending and stressed upon the banks to come up with innovative products to meet the financing needs of SMEs so that they could grow fast and play better role in the economic development of the country.
Mian Ayyaz Afzal, Managing Director, Islamabad Stock Exchange said that ISE was actively working on facilitating SMEs to grow through stock market. He said ISE was the only stock exchange that has launched a separate counter for listing of SMEs to enable them to raise money from ISE to meet their business needs. He said ISE has also signed an MoU with SMEDA for the development of SMEs.
Alamgir Chaudhry, Chief Executive Officer, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority highlighted the role of his organization for SMEs development. He said SMEs were growing but lack of access to finance and bankable documentation were their serious issues. He urged that banks should make lenient the documentation requirement for lending to SMEs which will help and facilitate them to growth fast and play bigger role in strengthening the economy.