SBP, SCI-Pak move to cater financial needs of SMEs


The central bank, commercial banks and SCI-Pak may jointly develop an Energy and Resource Efficient (E&RE) network to address the financial needs of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
This consensus was arrived at a roundtable meeting jointly organized here by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and European Commission-funded SCI-Pak Project.
The roundtable also decided that awareness campaigns for SMEs should be launched at the grass root level to educate the masses regarding different financial instruments developed by the SBP for modernization of SMEs. The purpose of this roundtable was to identify strategies to foster the communication and interaction between SBP, financial institutions and SMEs in facilitating the latter’s access to finance to undertake the E&RE production.
The roundtable, chaired by Director Infrastructure Housing and SME Finance Department of SBP Mohammad Mansoor Ali was attended by representatives of commercial banks, International Finance Corporation (IFC), SCI-Pak Project Consultants and Business Associations of textile processing and leather sector. Speaking on the occasion, Ali said that although SMEs were typically vulnerable to economic downturns, yet given their importance to the country’s growth and employment prospects “we have to ensure and encourage continued access to finance for SMEs”.
Therefore SBP, he added, on its part, has unveiled a number of initiatives to encourage lending to the sector that includes: establishment of Credit Guarantee Scheme for SMEs and concessionary refinance scheme for modernization of SMEs, revision of regulatory framework for SME financing, conducting SME cluster surveys and financial awareness programs for SMEs.
Ali stressed that for sustainability of any initiative focused towards fulfilling financing needs of SMEs; there should be a strong commitment on part of both the financial institutions and business associations. Representative of SCI-Pak Project Omar Malik informed the participants that E&RE is a measure to reduce the consumption of energy and resources and to minimize the creation of waste and Greenhouse Gas emissions while at the same time strengthening the SME’s economic performance and competitiveness through cost reductions.