Social Enterprises have great potential to uplift the economy of the country. In order to encourage social entrepreneurs, the government is all set to bring this sector into mainstream by making efficient policies. This was said by the Chairman of National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue, Qaisar Ahmed Shaikh at a seminar “Recommendations for Social Enterprise Sector”.
This seminar was conducted by Sustainable Development Policy institute (SDPI) in Islamabad. The core objective would be to simplify SECP rules for social enterprises.
During the seminar, SDPI presented a thorough research which has been prepared in conjunction with other knowledge partners. The research shed some light on the policy structure of social enterprises in Pakistan. The research also proposed that the government should provide a fair policy structure and a common ground to all the social entrepreneurs of the country. In addition, fiscal policy measures are also needed to reduce the cost of doing business in this sector.
Upcoming National Budget to Ease Out Laws For Social Entrepreneurs
Qaisar Ahmed stated during the seminar that in the light of upcoming national budget, the government has established a federal government social enterprise. He said that the standing committee on finance and revenue has started planning for this sector. The core agenda would be to work on simplifying SECP laws to assist these entrepreneurs.
Deputy Director SDPI, Dr. Vaqar Ahmad, said that the government should begin by giving a legal definition to social enterprises. This will be a good starting point to support the sector. He suggested that the planning commission for social entrepreneurship could work in collaboration with provincial planning departments and share plans to develop these social enterprises.
In addition, he also recommended that national budget could include capacity building and organization development plans for social start-ups. Moreover, Federal Board of Revenue should devise a separate tax regime to facilitate these social entities. He also added that State Bank and Ministry of Finance should investigate why social enterprises do not have access to formal modes of lending. While closing his speech, he said government should uplift these ventures through public procurement of goods and services.
Ways to Promote Social Entrepreneurs
According to the Head of Programmes-Society, British Council, Zeenia Faraz, owing to a greater interest of youth in this social sector, strong measures should be taken to promote these ventures.
Faraz Khan, CEO of Social Entrepreneurship & Equity Development (SEED) said social enterprises will contribute substantially in the development of the overall economy of Pakistan. Nonetheless, the sector requires a formal structure, efficient policy framework and regulation which can deal with the challenges and issues of this industry.
Efficient Legal Structure is Required
Another participant at the event, Omar J Ghani South Asia Regional Director ENCLUDE, stated that although the sector is self-sustainable yet efficient, legal and regulatory structure is necessarily required. He reiterated that a level playing field is required and the concerned regulators need to take few steps to encourage the players.
Director Corporate Advisory Council NUST, Rabia Shoaib, contributed by saying technology should be integrated with social entrepreneurship so that social issues could be dealt with in an innovative manner. Director General International Affairs Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP), Ahmed Qadir, said it should be looked at as an opportunity to promote economic activity while helping the community at large.