The government of Pakistan ranked third in terms of its support for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) during the period of economic crises created by COVID Pandemic. The report came after the survey titled “impact of COVID 19 on SMEs”. The survey commenced in August 2020 and concluded in September was conducted online by SMEDA, Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) and Asian Productivity Organization (APO). 11.44% of the enterprises surveyed reported that their sale revenue is increased compared to 2019 while 12.29% of firms reported their revenue remained unchanged.
236 SMEs from Pakistan participated in the online survey. Such online surveys have also been conducted in different countries of the region i.e., India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Magnolia and Laos People’s Democratic Republic.
Pakistan remained best in the region in terms of changes reported in the business environment. Only 36.44% of enterprises reported a significant decline in domestic demand. In comparison to Pakistan, Bangladesh reported 74.29 % decline while India reported a 50% decline, also Indonesia and Malaysia reported 42.52% and 63.5% drop in demand respectively.
Regarding support provided by the government of Pakistan, the respondents reported that the government assistance in terms of electricity support remained a helpful and encouraging factor. 27% of respondents said that they received support in terms of payment of electricity bills.
It is pertinent to mention here that In April 2020 the federal minister for industries Hammad Azhar announced a relief package of Rs. 75 billion SMEs. The announcement was hailed by the president Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI). The minister also announced that power tariff relief will support 95% commercial connections and 80% of industrial connections. As per electricity relief scheme the government paid bills up to 5 kilowatt usage (commercial consumers) and 70 kilowatts (industrial consumers).
The relief benefits for SMEs were derived from Rs 200 billion COVID relief package announced by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.