SMEDA presents ECDF’s recommendations to govt
PESHAWAR: The Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Development Authority (SMEDA) here on Wednesday presented final recommendations to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government, suggesting different business development plans and viable proposals for economic revitalization of the merged tribal districts. The final recommendations prepared by Economic Cooperation and Development Forum (ECDF) under FATA Economic Revitalization Program (FERP), was implemented by Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme. The booklet of recommendations was presented by Chief Executive Officer SMEDA Hashim Raza to Chief Minister Mahmood Khan at Chief Minister House and later to Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Industries Abdul Karim Khan and Special Assistant to CM for Excise and Taxation, Ghazan Jamal at the concluding ceremony here at a hotel. Speaking on the occasion, Abdul Karim Khan said merged areas have a great potential for development of business, trade and these recommendations would immensely help Government to promote business in tribal districts. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had recently made a successful visit to Afghanistan that would help strengthen bilateral relations, accelerate trade flow between the two countries besides make positive effects on merged areas. Karim Khan said youth of merged areas has great potential to excel in careers of their choices and could do wonders if provided modern technical education as per market needs. He said consultants were being hired for establishment of state-of-art economic zones at Bajaur, Norung Lakki Marwat and Dara Adamkhel Kohat districts to bolster trade and business in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Abdul Karim said there was a great scope of extension in Bara industrial zone in Khyber district and all departments were directed to bring schemes in this regard. He appreciated SMEDA, UNDP and USAID for their assistance in development projects in KP especially in merged areas. Ghazan Jamal said these recommendations were important document and the government would take necessary steps for its implementations on ground. He said economic revitalization in merged areas was the top most priorities of the Government and support of donor agencies and Non-Government Organizations in this regard would be highly welcomed. Hashim Raza said final recommendations prepared by ECDF had proposed various viable initiatives for revival of trade and business activities in merged areas. It identified six thematic areas including regulatory reforms, marketing and communication, entrepreneurship, investment and innovation, banking and finance, skills development and job placement, economic infrastructure and five key prioritized sectors including women entrepreneurship, mines and minerals, agri-businesses, transport, trade and services and light engineering. The CEO SMEDA said a National SME Action Plan has been approved on October 8, 2020 and provincial working groups were being set up in all provinces to promote SME sector in the country including KP and merged tribal districts. Member National Assembly, Muhammad Shafiq said tribal people had suffered a lot and loans on easy terms and conditions may be given to them for revival of their business. He said development funds should be properly utilized with special focus on technical education and infrastructure development in merged areas. Rashid Aman, Provincial Chief SMEDA said that 4,000 business plans were reviewed by SMEDA and over 40 million investments were generated in merged areas. He said these recommendations were developed by over 50 experts from different public and private sectors and were presented on Wednesday to the Chief Minister. Regarding ECDP achievements, he said 18 border markets were established besides opening of four new routes on Pak-Afghan border including Torkhum in Khyber, Kharlachi in Kurram, Angoor Adda in South Waziristan and Ghulam Khan at North Waziristan for Pak-Afghan Transit Trade. - APP