Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Friday said the Grameen Bank had caused a revolution in the country in overcoming the barriers that were usually associated with the microfinance business.
“Creating domestic demand is very important for microenterprises to have the desired impact. It is customary for microenterprises to face problems in marketing their products or services due to a lack of demands in the market. But the Grameen policy to divide and diversify its clients helped surpass the barrier,” he said.
The finance minister made the remarks amid the ongoing uncertainty over Grameen Bank’s future as the government is preparing to split the microfinance institution into 19 entities.
Muhith was speaking at the inaugural programme of the two-day-long National Entrepreneur Summit 2013 organised by Team Engine, a campaign and communications hub, at the Osmani Memorial auditorium in the city.
He said the increased production by Grameen affiliates did not cause a market saturation as it had divided its clients into different groups.
“Those who graze the herd of goats do not have to milk them, for instance. Again, there are other people who make sweetmeats from the milk and others who sell them in the market. People do not have to multitask and therefore depend upon others, which generates employment opportunity.”
The minister emphasised the need to attain technological competence and skills as it contributes much to expedite development.
“There has been a three-fold increase in the production of food in Bangladesh since independence. We used to produce 11m tonnes of food in 1972 and the production has increased to about 36m tonnes per annum now. Adoption of new technologies by farmers is among the reasons for this success,” he said.
Information Secretary Nazrul Islam Khan said some 4.2m children enrol into primary schools across the country each year, which meant at least 4m jobs would be needed by the year’s end, but only 1m jobs were being created each year at present in both public and private sectors.
He said three key qualities would be required for future entrepreneurs – the ability to communicate in English, tactics to develop a business and specific skills required in the areas they want to engage.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Senior Vice-President Nessar Maksud Khan reiterated his association’s promise to promote 2,000 young entrepreneurs in the country each year.
“We know our country needs more entrepreneurs to ensure economic development. Therefore, we aim to give the new a chance, a platform and guideline alongside providing them with much-needed financing to implement their innovative projects,” he said.
The managing director of Team Engine Limited, Samira Zuberi Himika, said increasing the number of entrepreneurs would lead to the decrease in unemployment, and would contribute to increasing the GDP.
“This is why we thought of arranging this summit in the first place – to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and promote local genius so that they can expose their talent and innovations to the country,” she said.