‘SME sector plays a big part in our development’

The SME sector has to take part in the journey of the development of the country, said Planning Minister MA Mannan.

He also said that they are playing a big role in taking the country forward.

The Planning Minister said it while speaking as the chief guest at “IDLC-Prothom Alo SME Award 2021” at a hotel in the capital on Tuesday.

The Planning Minister also said that the SME sector is the domestic sector of the country. 

“It has to be brought under the mainstream.  SME is now the most promising sector in the country,” he added. 

Bangladesh is moving towards its goal. Digital Bangladesh is no longer a fantasy, it is a reality, he also said. 

“Everyone should take advantage of this. Every village now has electricity, Bangladesh now has its own satellite, a nuclear power plant, and tunnels. Padma bridge and metro rail are also visible. The reserves are also strong,” he added. 

The Prime Minister is firmly committed to reaching the desired goal. The country is moving forward under her charismatic leadership. And the big power here is the SME sector, he added. 

He also said that the government, private sector, SME sector should all be equally enterprising in building a better Bangladesh. 

He is alarmed that there are still many evil forces that can hold the country back and everyone needs to be conscious about that.  

“Everyone must refrain from self-destructive thoughts and actions and have to move towards the desired development through unity, discipline and trust,” he suggested. 

Jamal Uddin, managing director and CEO of IDLC, said that the SME sector is one of the driving forces of Bangladesh's economy.  

“In developed countries, the contribution of the SME sector to their total GDP is 50%-60%, but in our country, it is still 25%,” he added. 

Bangladesh is gradually becoming a developed country, being one of the fast-growing economies in the world.  

“The economy is growing. The infrastructure is growing, moving towards achieving all the development goals. And the contribution of the SME sector in this progress is remarkable,” he also said. 

The sector was most affected by the coronavirus but is gradually recovering. The SME sector is playing a role in achieving the Prime Minister's goal of becoming a developed country by 2041, he added.

“IDLC is one of the largest financial institutions in the country. We disburse various loans including SME loans. In 2006, IDLC launched its first SME loan. That year, we provided SME loans of Tk50 crore. And in 2021, 38% of total disbursed loans are SME loans,” he added. 

The IDLC CEO thinks that the SME sector needs to be further encouraged. 

The government has announced a stimulus package to deal with the effects of coronavirus and the financial institutions are distributing it smoothly, he added. 

“Both the public and the private sector need to work together for the development of this sector. And this award will inspire other entrepreneurs,” he added. 

Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman said that there are a total of 78 lakh SME entrepreneurs in the country, employing more than 2 crore people.  

“SMEs account for 80% of the total industry. To improve this sector, it is necessary to make it easier to get loans,” he added. 

Moreover, various government facilities have to be increased and a strong traders’ body has to be made like other heavy industries sector, he added. 

“The country is moving forward, everyone's participation is essential in this progress,” he added.

In the programme, 6 SME entrepreneurs were awarded for taking themselves to unique heights through their tireless work and dedication. 

Out of the 1,100 nominations received, the esteemed jury panel declared 6 best entrepreneurs from 6 categories – education, agriculture, health, manufacturing industry, best women entrepreneur and special award. 

For their outstanding contribution in the SME sector of Bangladesh, Founder and President of Bi-Beat Ltd Dr Khondkar Siddique E Rabbani received the award in the health category; Founder and CEO of Creative IT Institute Md Monir Hosen received the award in the education category. 

Managing Director of Rayyan Agro Link Razia Sultana received the award in the agriculture category; Managing Director of Nababi Footwear Limited Kamrunnahar Khanam received the award in the best woman entrepreneur category; Owner of Janata Engineering Ole Ullah received the award in the manufacturing category.

Meanwhile, Founder and Owner of Clay Image Rehana Akter received a special award.

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