SMEs have $40b export potential: Iqbal

According to Ahsan Iqbal, the minister for planning, development, and special initiatives, Pakistan’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the potential to create almost $40 billion in yearly revenue through businesses focused on exports.

The federal minister emphasised the need to increase exports to sustainable levels on a war footing and improve the effectiveness of the tax collection system while speaking at the launch ceremony for a Karandaaz report via Zoom.

He added that the government was facing serious economic challenges that could be overcome with an efficient taxation system, an increase in exports, the productive use of workers’ remittances, and foreign investment. “We will have to promote export culture in the country,” he said.

Iqbal drew attention to the fact that the federal government’s tax and non-tax revenues totaled Rs. 5,200 billion while we inherited a liability of Rs. 5 billion for debt repayment. He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to raising the tax-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from 9.5% to 18% through prudent economic policies.

He believed that if the nation didn’t look into new resources, all of the wealth it did earn would go towards paying off its debt.

Given that the government was taking initiatives to encourage investment in business, the minister recommended that the remittances sent home by Pakistanis living abroad be invested in other enterprises rather than real estate.