Limited access to finance, technology and markets as well as poor policies and regulations are the major impediments hindering growth of SMEs in Pakistan, said Muhammad Alamgir Chaudhry, CEO Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (Smeda) on Wednesday.

Speaking at a workshop organised for the Lahore Economic Journalists Association, he said the SME sector was a proven engine of growth for employment in many countries including Japan, Singapore, Korea, China and Malaysia.

These countries are success stories of alleviating poverty through SME development, he added.

He said the SME sector was also back bone of economy in Pakistan with 3.2 million SMEs in the formal sector and the presence of innumerable SMEs in the informal sector.

Quoting the SECP record, he said, Ninety six per cent of the registered companies were of sole proprietorship category, which also showed that majority of the business concerns in Pakistan are SMEs.

As per available data, 65pc of the total SMEs in Pakistan were situated in Punjab, 18pc in Sindh, 14pc in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, 2pc in Balochistan and 0.6pc in Islamabad, he informed,

The SMEs have over 40pc share in our $240 billion GDP. Around 46.46pc of our exports surprisingly provide 80pc of the total employment, he added.

He said Smeda was currently operating with just 95 employees out of 195 approved head count.

The per capita investment by the government is $0. 01, which is perhaps the lowest in the world, he added.

Chauhdry claimed that he had chalked out a plan to generate 10 million new jobs by establishing 270,000 new SMEs which would increase the GDP by $ 120bn.