Lahore - Chairman of the United International Group Mian Shahid on Sunday said rapid national growth is tied to development of small and medium enterprise (SME) sector therefore it should be given importance.

Ninety-six percent businesses fall under the category of SMEs therefore government should consider setting up a separate ministry for this sector, he said.

SME sector is the backbone of the economy providing jobs to majority of the labour which has turnaround fate of many economies including China, Japan, Malaysia, Korea and Thailand, he said.

Mian Shahid said that SMEs are facing problems like energy crisis, lack of regulatory support, incoherent laws, deficiency of market information and skilled labour. The SMEs has the potential to become the engine for growth and propel the national economy into the world’s top 25 economic powers which require sustained and long-term political support to unleash its economic potential and bring prosperity to a wider section of the population.

The government should introduce incentives to pair smaller SMEs with medium and large enterprises to increase their chances for sustainability which include helping them to manage their growth according to global best practices.

The success of this sector depend on strong linkages with academia for research and global competitiveness as well as on collaborations with both domestic and international markets.

To harness the potential of the SME sector government must lock in a comprehensive and holistic SME strategy with long-term commitments from current and future stakeholders. The pillars behind such a strategy must include financial inclusion, research and development, and training programmes to become globally competitive.