Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum “Export-led Value Chain Development for Employment and Growth”

The speakers at Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum organized by the Federal Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP) have recommended to explore Dairy, Horticulture, Fisheries and Light Engineering sectors to expedite the export-led value chain development for employments and growth in the country. The two-day Consultative forum was opened today at The Marriott (Islamabad) with assistance of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) to compile recommendations on “Export-led development for employment and growth”. The forum was conducted under auspices of European Union funded Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA-II) Programme, implemented by UNIDO in association with ITC and WIPO.

The Federal Secretary for Industries & Production Mr. Muhammad Arif Azim inaugurated the Dialogue. He said that it is very important to discuss the gaps and issues faced within these sectors so necessary steps can be taken to overcome them and this will take Pakistan’s trade further at a global level. He also thanked all partners and stakeholders for their invaluable efforts; specially EU, UNIDO and SMEDA for supporting such initiatives. European Union Deligation to Pakistan’s representative Mr Johan Sorensen and Unido representative to Pakistan Mr. Esam Alqararah also participated in the Inaugural Ceremony. Mr Sorensen appriciated all the partners’ efforts and highlighted the impact it would have if the issues were effectivley resolved on overall economy of the country. Mr Alqararah shared UNIDO’s vision on Export-led development and the efforts UNIDO is making to promote employment and growth in Pakistan. Mr. Steffen Kaeser from Unido also participated in the forum discussions.

The main focus of the forum was to highlight key achievements made by the TRTA programs since 2004 and as it approaches closure in May 2016, what areas related to employment generation and pro-poor and rural development may be addressed as next steps to build on TRTA successes. These interventions would be in line with the government’s Vision 2025 agenda.

This Forum was attended by more than 25 participants from public and private sectors, including the representatives from Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Port and Shipping, Economic Affairs Division, Planning Commission, Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Trade Development Authority Pakistan (TDAP), Pakistan Institute of Trade and Development (PITAD) and “Aik Hunar Aik Nagar” (AHAN). From the private sector, representatives from the Fisheries Development Board, Fan manufacturers, light engineering goods-automotive parts, dairy and horticulture sectors. Mr Noman Wazir from KPK and Eng. Jabbar provided keen insight on the needs and development of the industrial sectors.

As an introduction to the debate, SMEDA CEO Mr. Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry gave a ppresentation on SMEDA sector studies, which was followed by overviews on Vision 2025 and TRTA achievements.

The speakers were of the unanimous view that export oriented sectors of the small and medium industries should be provided with the necessary support to fill in the gaps in production and marketing so as compete export market. They acknowledged that the 13 sectors identified by SMEDA for generating new space for exports and employment generation could play pivotal role in raising national exports and job opportunities in the country.

The speakers in this regard, recommended to apply SMEDA’s SME Development strategy, targeted to generate 10 million new jobs with an addition to the exports worth US$ 36 million within five years. Majority of the speakers agreed on a cluster based development approach of SMEDA to promote economic development of the country by improving the competitiveness of designated business sectors; Logistics, ICT & Allied Services, Gems & Jewellery, Horticulture, Construction, Fisheries, Energy, Dairy & Livestock and Engineering .

The forum has also recommended to make SME sector more competitive through common facilities, training centers, and benefits of the clusters’ scale by resolving the issues to be faced in financing and marketing.

It is notable that the Ministry of Industries and Production (MoIP), through SMEDA is assisting in employment generation and value addition to the national income by helping increase the number, scale and competitiveness of SMEs and providing an enabling environment and business development services to small and medium enterprises. Further SMEDA, being a subsidiary body of MOIP is not only an SME policy-advisory agency for the Government of Pakistan, but also facilitates other stakeholders in addressing their SME development agendas.

The key output of this 2-day forum is a concept note, strategic paper on key areas of intervention in specific sectors, that may be used as a template for development of project documents that the government can then use mobilize both national and international funds.