Governments fail to tap into global SME potential

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A new research paper calls for governments across the globe, especially GCC nations, to lay the foundation for success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so that they may take advantage of global trade opportunities.

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Published by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the paper titled; Tapping into SME international potential points out that too often, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) fail to tap the available international trade opportunities. Responsibility for this lapse is placed by the report on governments which do not take essential steps for SME success, thereby causing businesses to ‘miss out’ on lucrative economic opportunities by not providing these businesses a platform to go global.

The paper suggests that governments adopt policies to encourage the presence of SMEs in international trade. The SMEs may leverage trade potential in the form of export and import, foreign direct investment, international sub-contracting and technical co-operation. By developing policies and business support networks, governments can show their commitment to achieve this objective. At the same time, governments, international institutions and business associations should deeply understand the part played by SMEs in global supply chains and strive to remove barriers to cross-border trade.

The SMEs in GCC countries have the potential to accelerate economic growth by contributing significantly to the overall economy. These private businesses employ several thousands of citizens and actively pay taxes to the governments. Authorities must focus on providing stimuli to the rapidly growing small and medium-sized ventures to enhance their skills and capacity to become more competitive, both locally and regionally.

Small and Medium sized Enterprises are likely to benefit from heavy investment by GCC governments in building modern infrastructure and promoting an environment conducive to business growth. However, attention must be paid to the issues of intellectual property rights and dispute resolution to encourage the participation of SME’s in global trade. Further, the process of disbursing bank loans to SME’s should be made simpler so that these enterprises may have the capital necessary to make a mark on the global stage.

Photo: ITUPictures/Flickr

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