The government should inject Tk 200 billion more funds for recovery of SMEs from setback of pandemic; Bangladesh Bank former governor Dr Atiur Rahman said comparing the stimulus initiatives in neighboring countries.
Addressing a meeting on Tuesday as a key discussant, the eminent economist suggested that a larger share for SMEs could have been ensured taking the macroeconomic significance of the sector into account.
Citing a report of Light Castle Partners, Dr Atiur said Bangladesh lags behind India, Thailand and Malaysia in terms SME share in national stimulus packages.
“SMEs share in stimulus packages is 38 percent in Thailand, 33 percent in Malaysia and 24 percent in India. However, the small businesses in Bangladesh get only 22 percent from total stimulus,” he said. SME sector contributes 25 percent to the national economy while 26 percent of small enterprises and 48 percent of medium enterprises are engaged in export business, according to BBS data.
In his presentation, Dr Atiur focused on couple of challenges for growth of SME including – lack of women participation, city-centric initiative, lack of access to government procurement and formal finance.
The revenue of SMEs declined to 66 percent as their 76 percent products remain unsold amid corona pandemic. The businesses manage wages for 42 percent workforces while 4 percent SME workers remain unpaid.
Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana was the chief guest while SME Foundation Chairperson Prof Masudur Rahman presided over the session.
Dhaka University Prof M Abu Yusuf, Prof Shahadat Hossain Siddique and UNDP country economist Dr Nazneen Ahmed took part in the discussion conducted by SME Foundation managing Director Mafizur Rahman. SME Foundation Chairperson Dr Masudur Rahman told the meeting that the authorities have disbursed the stimulus among 95,000 entities.
“According to the 2013 economic census, the number of SME is over 7.8 million. To ensure benefits for all, the sector need more support from the government,” he said.
The SME foundation is set to resume the stimulus disbursement from September while the body disbursed Tk 1 billion low-cost credit among the small entrepreneurs.