Digitalizing and revolutionizing small industries should be new SME policy of Pakistani government: Wang Zihai

By Shafqat Ali | Gwadar Pro Feb 1, 2022

LAHORE, February 1 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistan-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) President Wang Zihai said on Monday afternoon that digitalizing and revolutionizing small industries should be new Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) policy of the Pakistani government.

During an online think-tank session here at PCJCCI premises, he stressed that it was in domestic markets and small industries that all sorts of innovation and entrepreneurship could take place which later would move out and lead to higher exports and foreign exchange earnings.

Wang Zihai added: “The small shopkeeper, venders and unskilled labourer contain the largest number of small and medium enterprises and if we make this sector boom we will have a more egalitarian development.”

Ehsan Chaudhry, Senior Vice President PCJCCI also suggested that trade policy should not only be for promoting exports but for promoting all trade both at home and abroad. “We have to redesign our trade policy, create opportunities and provide an enabling environment for domestic markets to flourish in an innovative and exciting new approach,” he maintained.

He also said that the domestic markets and small industries in Pakistan primarily included retail and wholesale traders, restaurants and hotels, construction, transport storage and communication, financial and real estate and personal services. This was sector where the poor and middle-class were hidden.

He added: “We do not need to reinvent the wheel, it is only through competition with foreign markets and services that our domestic markets will improve and benefit through knowledge spillovers, learning by doing and exposure to new technologies and management systems.” Sarfaraz Butt, Vice President PCJCCI advised the public and private sector to follow a vibrant vision of transforming Pakistani cities into a dynamic commercial hub of the region - a tourist destination, a shopping centre, regional headquarters for multinational corporation etc.

He stressed that Pakistan must encourage fresh thinking and allow technical people into government to make good things happen. “When we look at the success stories of international brands and innovative individuals behind them, we see that many have started off from humble beginnings,” he pointed out.

He said that in several East Asian countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and China, spaces were allocated for temporary stalls to be set up resulting in the now famous night markets, and these vibrant markets were one of the biggest tourist attractions in their cities.

According to Wang Zihai, entrepreneurs and innovators needed neighbourhood markets to perfect their products, brands and recipes, which they would then export.

Wang Zihai being an expert economist, emphasized on in-depth analysis before formulating any policy.

Salahuddin Hanif, Secretary General PCJCCI highlighted that before policy making, it should be investigated that why locally successful brands had been unable to become well-recognised brands globally.

He appreciated Wang Zihai’s idea of more small markets and bazaars for local vendors and traders and said that bazaars not only provided new opportunities and space to set up business for entrepreneurs but also promote local arts and crafts and attracted tourists, which generated valuable foreign exchange for the economy.

They agreed that the proposed strategy should be focused on improving the quality and quantity of wholesale and retail outlets, ultimately linked to urban management and land use.

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