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Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can provide great opportunity for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to develop and grow as the role of SMEs is critical in the processes of inclusive growth.

He said that Pakistan Vision 2025 envisions inclusive growth as the way forward for sustainable economic development. He expressed these views while addressing Round Table Conference (RTC) on prioritizing growth of Small and Medium Enterprises to achieve Sustainable Development here in ministry of Planning , Development and Reform . The RTC aimed to generate dialogue between the stakeholders (public sector, private sector and civil society) on steps to increase ease of access of SMEs to capital markets, improve the capacity of financial institutions to construct profitable SME lending programs while prioritizing the development of innovative solutions to collateral issues, such as the acceptance of more flexible forms of collateral, particularly for SMEs with few fixed assets; the use of group guarantees and loan guarantee schemes for SMEs; more emphasis on cash flow than balance sheets in assessment of borrowing capacity and easy and effective loan application assessment methodologies. The conference was attended by federal and provincial secretaries, representatives from development partners, financial institutions and academia .

Ahsan Iqbal suggested to make HEC partners in SMEs sector to train university students in entrepreneurship and added that academia should be linked with the markets for necessary research . He said that Pakistan is now ready for economic take off and country’s growth rate is on the rising trajectory. He said that we are on our way to fix our energy crisis and security situation has also  improved. He said  that economic development will not sustain itself if it is not inclusive so it has to be inclusive both socially and regionally. He emphasized to align SME sector with the export goals  to build foreign reserves. He also stressed on the need for harmony in the system and good economic policies and the need for political stability to create an environment of collaboration.