The country's SMEs and women entrepreneurs need special incentives in the next budget to overcome the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic
SME Foundation needs to increase its financial capacity and provide opportunities to implement projects to accelerate the skills of small and medium enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs, said Planning Minister MA Mannan on Sunday.
Moreover, State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder called for the establishment of “SME Palli” for small entrepreneurs and special allocation for it in the upcoming budget of FY22.
They were speaking at a webinar on “Pre-Budget Discussion on Addressing the Challenges of CMSMEs and Informal Sector” jointly organized by the SME Foundation and Association of Fashion Designers of Bangladesh (AFDB).
Fahmida Khatun, executive director of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), presented the keynote in the webinar.
In the keynote, Fahmida Khatun said that the country's SMEs and women entrepreneurs need special incentives in the next budget to overcome the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
She cited information from a survey on the losses of cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSME) due to Covid-19 and told that most of the CMSME entrepreneurs in the country did not get the benefit of the incentive package announced by the government.
“The SME Foundation should take effective steps to expedite the disbursement of loans from the incentive package,” she also said.
Moreover, she suggested increasing the number of loans and disbursement of the loans using the SME Foundation, PKSF, and other government and private microfinance institutions.
Speaking as the special guest, Kamal Ahmed Majumder said that the government is continuously assisting the informal and SME sector to recover the losses incurred because of the pandemic.
“The government has introduced a credit guarantee scheme so that SME entrepreneurs do not have problems in getting loans due to lack of collateral,” he also said.
He demanded a special allocation for the SME entrepreneurs in the coming budget as they have to suffer a lot to get loans from banks and financial institutions due to lack of trade license.
Mantasha Ahmed, president of AFDB delivered the welcome address and Farzana Khan, general manager of SME Foundation, coordinated the webinar.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said that initiatives needed to be taken to enhance the skills of entrepreneurs in districts, upazilas, growth centers, and clusters for the development of SME sectors.
The SME Foundation and other government and non-government organizations should provide loans and grants to the SME sector, he also said.
He also advocated for providing more financial support and project implementation opportunities to the SME Foundation for credit flow and skill development for SME entrepreneurs.
Md Mofizur Rahman, managing director of the SME Foundation said that SME entrepreneurs need policy support and budget allocation for the development. He called upon all concerned to be kinder and more generous for the help of SME entrepreneurs.
Moreover, former Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith, Bangladesh Resident Representative of UNDP Sudipta Mukherjee along with other SMEs concerned were present in the webinar.