Women Entrepreneurship Development Pakistan

The Integrated Programme for Pakistan, entitled “Integrated Programme to Support Capacity-Building for Sustainable Industrial Development in Pakistan”, was drafted in the period from September 1999 and March 2000.  It was based on the premise of providing manufacturing SMEs in selected industrial sectors with a holistic range of services to enable them to increase their productivity and international competitiveness, and meet the growing challenges of an increasingly globalized economic and trading environment.  The proposed services to be offered under this programme were to be provided under five separate programme components, as follows:

1.           Cleaner Production and Environmental Management;
2.           Institutional Capacity-Building for SME Development;
3.           Metrology, Standardization, Testing, Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement;
4.           Regional Development; and
5.           Industrial Investment Promotion and Technology Transfer.

The Integrated programme was formally approved by UNIDO (through a decision of the Executive Board of April 2000) and the Government of Pakistan (through a verbal communication by the Secretary of Industry to the Team Leader during a mission to Pakistan in September 2000, subsequently confirmed in a letter from the Ministry of Industries and Production dated 18 December 2000).  Implementation commenced in September 2000 using funds provided by the UNDP under the SPPD/STS facilities and seed funding provided by UNIDO.  The level of implementation was unfortunately constrained due to difficulties in raising donor funds for reasons unrelated to the programme itself, which could only be partially offset by very generous contributions in kind received from various Pakistani counterparts.  By the middle of 2003, therefore, when a review of the programme was undertaken, the following successful outcomes could be reported:

  1. SPPD/STS funding received from the UNDP had permitted the implementation of two projects under Component 1 of the Integrated Programme, Cleaner Production and Environmental Management, to be completed, and a third project under Component 3 of the Programme to be commenced.  The two projects under Component 1 were entitled “Industrial Policy and the Environment” and “Establishment of a National Cleaner Production Centre for the Oil Sector in Pakistan”, and the project under Component 3, which has also been operationally completed in the meantime, was entitled “Strengthening the Standards, Metrology and Testing Infrastructure in Pakistan for SMEs”.

  2. In the context of Component 2 of the Integrated Programme, an initial tranche of seed money provided by UNIDO facilitated the launching of a project in January 2001 to establish an Industrial Information Network (IIN) in Pakistan in cooperation with a number of national stakeholders and counterparts.  The web-based network was officially inaugurated by the Direct-General of UNIDO during his mission to Pakistan in May 2002, and in April 2003 ownership of the project was handed over to the Government of Pakistan, after it had allocated national resources equivalent to some US$ 700,000 for the further development of the network to ensure its outreach and sustainability.

  3. Additional UNIDO seed money released in mid-2001 permitted the launching of another project proposed under Component 2 of the Integrated Programme, the SME cluster and network development project, in five selected pilot clusters.  With the financial participation of several national counterpart agencies a group of Pakistani trainees were sent to a training course organized in the context of the ongoing cluster and network development project in India to be trained as cluster development agents. Upon their return they undertook comprehensive diagnostic surveys of their respective clusters and prepared action plans to overcome the weaknesses and capitalize upon the strengths identified in the diagnostic studies.  The release of further UNIDO funds for this project in March 2003 permitted first steps to be taken to implement the sub-projects recommended in the action plans.

These favourable developments notwithstanding, the review of the Integrated Programme initiated in  mid-2003 also noted that its implementation had given some cause for disappointment due to the difficulty of mobilizing sufficient resources.   Components 4 and 5 of the Programme had remained wholly unfunded, with no activities having been undertaken in the context of these components since the launch of the Programme.  Similarly, it had not proved possible to mobilize the resources needed to undertake additional activities in the context of Component 1.  In overall terms, the Programme has only been able to attract some US$ 555,000 out of the total budget (including 13% support costs) of about US$ 9.5 mn.

Against this background, and following in-house discussions within UNIDO and consultations with the national counterparts, it was decided to restructure the Integrated Programme in a manner providing for a phased implementation of its various components and outputs depending upon the availability of the required resources.  Thus, while it was agreed that none of the components or outputs that had originally been proposed should be deleted from the Programme at that stage, a general consensus had emerged for the adoption of a pragmatic approach whereby only those components and outputs for which a realistic funding prospect existed were to be treated as active.  The others were to be placed in a reserve category for implementation at a later stage as and when funds became available.  While they were in this reserve category, their cost would not be included in the Programme budget, which would only refer to the active components and outputs covered by the current first implementation stage.

The resulting first revision of the Integrated Programme was submitted to the Executive Board of UNIDO in July 2003.  It was presented as a supplement to the original Integrated Programme document, and retained the basic structure of the original document with its five components providing specific services to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of Pakistan’s manufacturing SMEs, especially in the leather, textiles, food processing, marble and precious/semi-precious stones, and light engineering sectors, which are the leading contributors to manufacturing value added, industrial employment and export revenues in the country.  It did, however, examine the outputs proposed in the original document and separated them between those that might be included in the first implementation phase of the programme, and those that may be implemented at a later stage.  Finally, it also included references to potential new outputs not covered in the original document but still falling within the overall framework of the Programme, for which requests had been received and funding might become available.

In the meantime, several further developments have taken place which have strengthened some of the existing projects but have given cause for a reconsideration of some of the other projects proposed under the original document and retained in the dormant category of Revision 1.  A particularly important event in this context was the approval of EU funding of €2.5 million in June 2004 for a large-scale project on trade-related technical assistance (TRTA) covering a variety of MSTQ activities.  These include the upgrading of the standard setting capacities of the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA), the upgrading of laboratories towards the international accreditation of their testing services, the upgrading of national capacity for metrology, and the establishment of a national certification body for enterprise management systems such as ISO 9000, ISO 14000, HACCP, SA 8000, as well as the development of a national accreditation scheme.

Another important breakthrough was achieved in February 2005 when the Export Promotion Bureau of Pakistan signed a US$ 211,000 Trust Fund Agreement with UNIDO to finance the further development and expansion of the SME cluster development programme.  These funds, supplemented by a US$50,000 cost-sharing contribution from UNIDO, have ensured the continuity of this programme for the foreseeable future.

Thus, important activities continue to be undertaken in the context of Components 2 and 3 of the Integrated Programme, and important preparatory work has been undertaken in the context of Component 1, which could be built upon if additional funds become available.   Unfortunately, however, the inability to mobilize funds for Components 4 and 5 have prevented the implementation of any of the activities foreseen under their respective headings.