PESHAWAR    -    Lack of the representation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan in the Board of Directors (BoD) of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) is likely to render the appointment of the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the authority controversial.

The post of the CEO is vacant since the resignation of the former CEO Sher Ayub Khan, which he had tendered in March 2019 and since then a senior general manager is managing the affairs as acting CEO.

However, interesting matter is the absence of private sector representatives on the board since last two years.

The board comprising of representatives from public and private sectors besides giving guideline to the authority for the development of SME sector also play crucial role in the selection of the CEO. 

The board has five private sector representatives with at least one member from each federating unit and till the last one, all previous boards were constituted with the same representation from the provinces.

The absence of the private sector representatives on the board of directors had now become a hurdle in the appointment of the favourite candidate that has been shortlisted by the ex-officio directors and the high ups of the Ministry of Industries and Production want to notify members of the board of directors in violation of rules framed by them.

The Ministry of Industries and Production have invited applications from the interested private sector candidates for their nomination as independent directors (private sector) in the board of directors of 16 companies/public sector entities including SMEDA.  

The ministry had finalised the list of the independent directors six months back and sent them to Advisor to PM on Industries and Production for approval, but it never happened. In wake of the hue and cry of the private sector, particularly, trade bodies, the ministry prepared a priority list of nominees for appointment as independent directors on their own.

The priority list according to reliable sources lack representation from small federating units of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, while business community particularly trade bodies from the small provinces are expressing concern over the lack of their representation on such important industrial sector.

Talking to this scribe, vice president, Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Iftikhar Ahmad said that the representation of all provinces is essential on the board of SMEDA.

He called for strict adherence to merit and transparency in the selection of representatives from the provinces.