UNIDO Pakistan - Guidelines for MSMEs

Managing Businesses During and Post Pandemic

Logo Development and Promotion of Sustainable, Innovative and Cleaner Technologies in Pakistan

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is the specialized United Nations organization that supports its developing country member states to achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development, in accordance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular Sustainable Development Goal 9. In Pakistan, UNIDO supports government, businesses and other organisations to achieve: productive and resilient MSMEs; solutions for climate, resources and environment; inclusive and responsible value chains and business; and strategic policy for industrial transformation (www.unido.org).
The global COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide lock down brought manufacturing and much of the economy in Pakistan to a stand-still, leaving many businesses, particularly Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in crisis. MSMEs reported concerns to address the many challenges that have popped up to return to business in terms of employee safety, sales, supplies, manpower, operations and finances. To help MSMEs navigate their way to restart, recover and revitalize business, UNIDO with input from its partners, put together this knowledge and collaboration platform to bring MSMEs back to business

Support and empower your people to create a successful and versatile business. Previous working habits require overhaul to prevent COVID-19 contamination risks. You will need to get former staff and new entrants work together efficiently, by developing their skills, improving and optimizing their workplaces, and consolidating their operational procedures. Communication and trust are essential to get collaboration going.

An insight to the industry as how other resources such as machinery, raw material, supply chain, logistics, material stocks needs to be managed adequately which is essential for business continuity. It will provide checklists, guidelines, global best practices, informative videos, SOPs and other related resource materials and useful web links. The lack of business and sales during lock down period stopped your business income whilst some expenses continued. This caused a cash crunch in your business. Scrutinize and prioritize your ongoing and planned expenses and incomes to stabilize the cash flows of your business. Explore whether you need additional working capital and how you could mobilize such. Review your business model to make it more agile and profitable for the future.

Whilst managing business resources, operations and cash flows is necessary to reestablish your business, its growth and revitalization require more, particular in the current uncertain and rapidly evolving economic, societal and health scenario. To get ahead, engage your teams, to systematically explore business opportunities, proactively seek and obtain information, assess and take calculated risks, set goals with action plans, and monitor and review your progress.
The investment in science, technology and innovation (STI) activities, particularly research and development (R&D), is a key driver of economic growth. Such activities are helping to address the immediate challenges of the COVID-19 health crisis but they can also assist in the economic recovery once the virus has been contained. It would provide further information on how to develop new business models and implement organizational changes to absorb short-term shocks, and ensure long-term viability and growth. This section may include some relevant resource materials and global practices in relation to changing business models , bringing innovation in businesses and fostering research and development to cope with the current crises.

Pakistan 7th position

“Pakistan secured 7th position out of 109 countries at the UNIDO ITPO Global Italy Competition - "Global-call-innovative-ideas-and-technologies-vs-covid-19-and-beyond". Indeed a matter of great honour & depict resolve of people to deal with Covid-19”

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There is a need to pursue efficiency in every part of your business to earn more from losing less in your operations. Are your workflows efficient in the context of new COVID-19 workplace requirements? Can you do with less material, energy or water and generate less waste, effluents and air emissions? Do you use production data effectively? Practice lean manufacturing and resource efficiency, review your industrial monitoring and automation and instil continuous improvement as the norm for your business.

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It is imperative to make occupational health and safety a priority for your business as, after all, healthy and motivated people will be more productive and loyal to your business, helping you to succeed. Use the need for COVID-19 preventive measures as a starting point for systematically reviewing risks to worker health and safety, and manage and minimize these and their possible impacts through prevention, protection and preparedness.

UNIDO DIY Guidelines for medical protective clothes and masks

UNIDO released a publication “DIY Solutions for medical protective clothing and masks” that provides a detailed explanation regarding classification, application and production technologies for personal protective equipment (PPE), such as medical protective clothes and masks, as well as the quality requirements they should meet. This initiative entails dissemination of practical knowledge concerning the most recent technologies used in PPE manufacturing that is aligned with the quality requirements approved by the World Health Organization (WHO).
As the debate around the COVID-19 vaccination campaign unravels around the world putting into question its potency and durability, constantly ensuring access to high quality PPEs remains a major challenge in many low- and middle-income countries where demand is still outstripping supply availability. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent waves of export restrictions and lockdowns, many PPE producing companies and suppliers have been forced to shut down or significantly reduce their output. In this context, UNIDO provides step-by-step do-it-yourself solutions for small scale medical protective clothes and mask manufacturing. This publication was intended as a hands-on pocket guide that would be helpful in selecting durable, resistant and safe materials and efficient production techniques that comply with WHO regulations, thereby helping to control the spread of highly contagious viruses, including COVID-19.

Download the publication in English
For more information contact Farrukh Alimdjanov (F.Alimdjanov@unido.org)



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The usual demand for your products and services may not immediately pick up as your customers have also been put in crisis. Assist your customers to get back into business and show your relevance for their success. Explore options to create additional and new demand, including, as appropriate, by adapting your offer of products and services. Review your options to achieve timely payments to keep your cash flows going.

Focusing on ensuring communication and engagement of stakeholders that influences different industrial sectors and SMEs businesses in general during and post pandemic. This section will provide an information on how the stakeholders for different industrial sectors including the public and private sectors , chamber of commerce and industry , industrial associations are developing effective strategies to absorb the economic shocks affecting industrial sectors such as Textile , Auto Parts etc.
Our business can only survive with the essential inputs, at the right time, quality and price point. This may no longer be possible from your established suppliers as they may not yet be back in business or their supplies cannot reach you due to national or international movement restrictions. Assess and debottleneck your supply chains to locate alternative inputs and suppliers and review contracts to lessen the burden on your company's cash flows.
The section may highlight the information in relation to stakeholder consultations , key decisions and strategies to revive the businesses and information regarding the ongoing activities at different forums such as industrial associations, Chambers , Business council.

The section will be providing information on government policies and fiscal incentives such as SBP financing schemes to revive or continue businesses by ensuring cash flows and liquidity. The section may include the useful links to SBPs financing schemes for SMEs, Guidelines by MoIP , SOPs issued by Government for business continuity.

The global COVID-19 pandemic and the nation-wide lock down brought manufacturing and much of the economy in Pakistan to a stand-still, leaving many businesses, particularly Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in crisis. MSMEs reported concerns to address the many challenges that have popped up to return to business in terms of employee safety, sales, supplies, manpower, operations and finances. To help MSMEs navigate their way to restart, recover and revitalize business, UNIDO with input from its partners, put together this knowledge and collaboration platform to bring MSMEs back to business



UCR - Nadia Aftab

By: UCR - Pakistan, Ms. Nadia Aftab

The global COVID-19 outbreak is putting an immense strain on societies and economies around the globe. As the contagion is spreading globally and as the world is experiencing a tragic toll in terms of human suffering and casualties, major disruptions are being felt across the economic and social sectors, in an already fragile world economy. The global economy is expected to experience its worst recession since the Great Depression according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It has already contracted sharply by three percent, surpassing the deep economic slump following the global financial crisis a decade ago. The impact on economy and society are already weighing in heavily on many sectors, and particularly the industrial sector, which is struggling to meet the demands of consumers due to shortages of supplies for production. As a result of lockdowns, restricted movement of goods and people, key industries in many countries are closing and global supply chains are being disrupted. As in other countries, operating in the unknown creates substantial risk for the industrial sector in Pakistan, including manufacturing and services industries. The decline in economic activity is disproportionately impacting SMEs. The Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) has issued the results of its on-line survey to assess “the impact of Covid-19 on SMEs”. According to this survey 95% of businesses reported that COVID-19 and the subsequent lock down have caused a reduction in their operations, 92% complained about disruptions in their supply chain and 23% reported losses in their export orders. To make matters worse, the containment measures implemented in advanced economies have started impacting less developed countries including Pakistan, through decreased manufacturing production, trade volumes and investment flows. On the social side, COVID-19 has already exerted far reaching impact on Pakistan's labour markets, as unemployment keeps rising. The crisis also threatens to push back the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and exacerbate the feminization of poverty, vulnerability to violence, and women’s equal participation in the labour force.
As part of the United Nations System's response to COVID-19, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) with its mandate of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development is working with other UN agencies in developing a comprehensive COVID-19 Socio-Economic Impact Assessment and Response Plan for Pakistan. Moreover, UNIDO is conducting an industrial survey that will provide a rapid assessment of the impact of COVID-19 as well as possible remedies and policy recommendations for manufacturing firms to adjust to the ‘new normal’.
In addition, UNIDO under is global strategy to combat COVID-19 is assisting Member States in addressing the crisis through urgently needed support along three dimensions: Prepare & Contain, Respond & Adapt, and Recover & Transform.
Through the Prepare & Contain dimension, UNIDO is supporting Governments in mapping, designing and adopting quick and targeted measures to support those manufacturing sectors heavily affected by containment measures and shrinking demand to thus protect workers and jobs, particularly most vulnerable ones. Moreover, SMEs are supported in diversifying production and in accessing critical supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and life-saving equipment, necessary to maintain production and ensure safety of workers.
The Respond and Adapt dimension entails measures aimed at supporting governments, the business sector, and in particular MSMEs operating along the value chains to assess the possibility of re-purposing manufacturing capacities towards production of soft medical equipment, while promoting targeted solutions across a number of sectors to help respond to the crisis. In this process, UNIDO is contributing with integrated service packages to promote inclusive and environmentally sustainable solutions for MSME, supporting them through continuous learning, virtual outreach and innovative solutions. Taking advantage of its multifaceted expertise, UNIDO will also deploy its analytical capacities to help government identifying investment-conductive policies, successful finance recovery measures and resilient sectors to be prioritized in the aftermath of the crisis.
The Recovery and Transformation dimension focuses on supporting emerging sectors by prioritizing industrial revitalization and transformation through green, circular and low carbon solutions. At this stage, it is vital to reengineering supply chains and markets, emphasizing resilience and local/regional sourcing. This process involves revitalizing MSMEs, ensuring resilience in the face of the economic crisis and their capacity to generate jobs for women and youth, by helping them accessing finance and expertise. Similarly, re-skilling workers and leveraging investments into digital infrastructure and innovative industrial solutions will be crucial for Member States to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution and respond effectively to the economic shock. An effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic will not be possible unless affirmative policy actions, especially industrial policies, are put in place, to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the industrial sector, and to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic development during and after the crisis. Stimulus packages in the recovery phase offer a unique opportunity to transform the productive sector and foster long-term socioeconomic resilience by tackling health, climate and environmental challenges.
UNIDO is determined to continue to assisting the Government of Pakistan during this difficult period together with its many partners around the world. In the words of UNIDO's Director General: "In this time of crisis and as we work on the difficult recovery ahead, rest assured that we at UNIDO and the entire United Nations system stand with you today and tomorrow, and in the years to come. Together, we can build a global economy strong, resilient and flexible enough to counter future challenges, and strong enough to leave no one behind". The international community will only be able to weather the storm of this global health and economic crisis if everyone comes together. The call of the day is for more multilateralism and not less, and support to those that are worst affected.

The author is the Country Representative in Pakistan of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) www.unido.org



DG-Li Yong

By: DG - UNIDO, Mr. Li Yong

In September 2019, the international community committed to step up its drive toward the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a result, the year 2020 is supposed to usher in the beginning of a Decade for Action to enable the acceleration of sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, aligned to the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). With the onset of COVID-19, these challenges have been amplified. The world is tackling a global health crisis that is destabilising the global economy and posing a massive threat to humanity. Progress made on the SDGs is being reversed. The United Nations has estimated that 60 million more people are now living in extreme poverty than before the crisis. Up to half the global workforce, 1.6 billion people, are without livelihoods, with a loss of $8.5 trillion in global output.
These estimates come on the back of slow growth in key economic sectors before the crisis. In 2019, manufacturing output grew only 1.5 percent from 2018, the slowest year-on-year growth since 2012. There is also a declining trend in the share of manufacturing employment in total employment and industry needs to significantly reduce greenhouse gases to meet the goals of the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement. Small and medium-sized enterprises that at the end of 2019 accounted for 70 percent of employment and were seen as businesses that have the propensity to drive innovation are now particularly challenged. In the wake of the crisis, the concerns of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the specialised agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development, are focused on the three main pillars of the global economy: demand, supply and finance. UNIDO analyses show that many otherwise healthy companies are at serious risk of being unable to resume their business operations after the crisis and jobs and incomes could be permanently lost, making global recovery more difficult. The loss of companies and factories will have extensive direct and indirect impacts on people’s well-being.
Premised on this, and aligned to the UN framework for the immediate socioeconomic response to COVID-19, the UNIDO response to the pandemic is to prepare and contain, respond and adapt and recover and transform. Its approach is based on mutually inclusive pillars, namely strong partnerships with countries such as China to accelerate the global response, integrated service packages tailored to the particular situations and needs of member states, and capacity-building and knowledge exchange, based on lessons learned, best practices and best available technologies.
In responding to the pandemic, UNIDO is currently supporting the protection of health workers and workers in general through the repurposing of existing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to locally produce personal protective equipment and health equipment. And, by repurposing existing initiatives, it is providing capacity-building support, training for entrepreneurs and workers to produce personal protective equipment, for example, in Kenya, Tajikistan and Tunisia. We are also working with our sister agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund, International Organization for Migration and the United Nations Population Fund to strengthen the capacity of industries and services which are critical to the economic resilience of countries.
Emphasising the importance of protecting jobs, particularly those of informal sector workers, with a particular focus on youth and women working in SMEs, UNIDO is supporting member states such as Colombia, Egypt and Lebanon to develop health and safety guidelines around preventive measures to help local businesses cope with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, prevent the spread of the pandemic and reactivate production. We have also developed a step-by-step business-recovery guidance document for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in China and are scaling up the guidance to support MSMEs globally. Drawing on our longstanding experience with industrial upgrading and the modernisation of enterprises and institutions, we have launched the COVID-19 Industrial Recovery Programme (CIRP) to support governments in the restructuring of their industrial sector to transform and adapt to the post-COVID recovery phase.
An increased use of technologies and data applications can be seen in the current fight against COVID-19. And, during this crisis, we are supporting the establishment of technological startups in countries such as Armenia to provide employment and capacity-building opportunities for rural youth. We offer the use of 3D modelling and web design services on a commercial basis to ensure the sustainability and development of different products, including personal protective equipment. This month, we launched a global call to developing countries for “innovative ideas and technologies” to be used in the fight against COVID-19 and beyond, to further identify and promote innovative solutions to tackle this crisis.
We are also supporting the recovery of member states. The global recovery must be one that leads the world onto a safer, healthier, more sustainable and inclusive path. In this regard, UNIDO has repurposed its ongoing waste-management programmes and projects to manage and dispose of hazardous medical waste, to mitigate the immediate risk of contagion, in particular for healthcare personnel. In China, UNIDO procured a set of mobile medical waste disposal equipment for Wuhan, which greatly reduced the infection risk for local people. In Iran, we hope to deliver similar support with funding being pursued through the China-established South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund. Similarly, in the Philippines, also working with GEF, UNIDO is strengthening infectious waste management capacities in the country.
UNIDO will continue to stand in solidarity with our member states and alongside the UN system to address the impact of this devastating crisis. The call of the day is for more multilateralism not less.

The author is the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) www.unido.org