LAHORE - The recommendations emerged from research work of the second SME Conference-International would be utilised to constitute the new SME Policy.

It was stated by Federal Minister for Industries and Production Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi while addressing closing session of the two-day International SME Conference organised by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) in partnership with University of Management and Technology (UMT) at a local hotel. Closing session of the conference was also addressed by Sher Ayub, Chief Executive Officer of SMEDA, Dr Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Chairperson, Association of Management Development Institutions in Pakistan, Prof Awais Raoof, Chairman, University of Lahore and Prof Robert F Wheeler, Dean School of Business and Economics UMT.

On the occasion, the minister admitted that research is the first step for policy formulation. “We want to create an environment where there should be an extensive research base, which should subsequently aid policy makers for facilitating the small and medium enterprises though evidence based policies”, he said and acknowledged that SMEs had the potential to change economic fate of the country if supported with the pragmatic policies.

He appreciated SMEDA to bridge the wide gap existing in Pakistan industry-academia linkage by holding national and international SME conferences in collaboration with higher education institutions. He expressed confidence that such linkages would not only encourage SMEs-based research, but also help the government to develop a vibrant SME sector to catalyse economic growth in Pakistan.

He urged SMEDA to play an even more effective role in bringing stakeholders together and addressing the impediments to SME growth. He assured to stand committed for providing necessary support to SMEDA and other institutions for catalysing SME growth in Pakistan. “Our vision for the future of our country is anchored in working in close partnership with the academia and the private sector for building a resilient Pakistan,” he added.

Earlier, the SMEDA CEO said the conference has provided a platform to stakeholders including academia, researchers, SMEs, public & private sector representatives as well as international development agencies to share their experiences. Over 50 research papers from around 15 national and international universities were received for the conference, but only 12 of these were selected for presentation to reflect high standards of the conference, he said and informed that 8 best papers had been provided cash awards.