Pakistan ranks third in terms of support provided by the government to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to mitigate the impact of Covid-19, revealed the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (Smeda) on Tuesday.

According to a survey titled “Impact of Covid-19 on SMEs”, which was conducted online by Smeda, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), a majority of the enterprises in Pakistan were facing cash flow (82%) and raw material (65%) shortage.

However, 11.44% of SMEs expect their sales revenue to increase as compared to 2019, while 12.29% of respondent enterprises expect their sales revenue to remain the same.

The survey was also conducted by the ADBI and APO in other countries of the region including Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Vietnam, Mongolia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The online survey commenced in August 2020 and lasted till September 2020, in which 236 SMEs from Pakistan participated.

Among the changes reported in business environment during the period February to April 2020, Pakistan was the best performer in the region (in terms of percentage) with only 36.44% of respondents reporting a significant decline in domestic demand.

In comparison, 72.29% of enterprises in Bangladesh, 50% in India, 42.52% in Indonesia and 63.5% in Malaysia reported a significant drop in domestic demand.

Moreover, in terms of support provided by the government, the government of Pakistan’s electricity support package played an important role in supporting SMEs directly during these difficult times with 27% of respondents reporting that they received support through the payment of utility bills.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2021.

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