Ministry of Commerce endorses trade project to uplift SMEs


Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress, a project funded by the European Union and implemented by the International Trade Centre held its first National Project Steering Committee meeting in Islamabad, chaired by Federal Secretary Ministry of Commerce, Mr. Sualeh Ahmed Farooqi. Representatives from the Ministry of Planning and Development, Ministry of National Food Security and Research, and Ministry of Science and Technology validated the project’s inception phase, and pledged support for ongoing interventions.

Representative of the European Union and head of development cooperation Mr. Ovidiu Mic, representatives from International Trade Centre, chairs from the GRASP Sindh and Balochistan Project Steering Committees, and private sector representatives from horticulture and livestock sector also attended the meeting.

The committee members appreciated GRASP efforts focused on developing the small and medium enterprises into drivers of sustainable economic development, while keeping in mind the priorities of the government of Pakistan. The Secretary stated that ‘’GRASP is a critical intervention as it is addressing key areas of rural poverty by targeting small businesses, nurturing them, and enabling them to grow in a holistic manner’’.

Project Coordinator Mr. Azher Ali Choudhry while giving an overview of the scope of work to the committee members emphasized that Pakistan is one of the top ten countries most affected by climate change, and GRASP is working to address trade policies and business environment for SMEs in a global market while promoting climate smart interventions.

GRASP has helped communities affected by the Covid-19 pandemic by providing technical assistance, capacity building, and trainings of policy implementing agencies along with direct inputs such as the vaccination of over 60,000 livestock animals. Implemented in 23 districts of Sindh and Balochistan, the project is ensuring that women are a part of its climate conscious interventions. GRASP is also supporting the provincial and federal government in improving policies and laws regarding SMEs.

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