First phase of the stimulus packages for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has covered the small entrepreneurs across 40 districts of the country during the last fiscal year 2020-21, officials related with the project said.
Some 2186 entrepreneurs including 524 women got the support worth of Tk 1.22 billion with low interest rate within one and half months in the last fiscal year, according to SME Foundation.
SME Foundation chairperson Masudur Rahman attended as the chief guest while managing director Mafizur Rahman joined the meeting held virtually as special guest.
In his welcome speech, DCCI president Rizwanur Rahman made a comparison of SME contribution in Bangladesh economy with some other regional economies.
“SME contribution in Bangladesh to the economy is only 25 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) while this is 35 to 60 percent for the economies like Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China,” he said.
Citing a study, DCCI chief said the overall income from the CMSME sector reduced to 66 percent while 76 percent of the CMSME products remained unsold in 2020 compared to 2019.
Besides, some 62 percent of the CMSMEs have to cut their manpower and 90 percent are continuing businesses with reduced capacity, according to the DCCI study.
SME Foundation chairperson Prof Masudur Rahman termed the SME as the lifeline of the economy while the stimulus packages help small businesses brave the pandemic.
He emphasized updating the data of SMEs of the country to formulate an impactful policy as the latest survey in 2013 tagged 7.8 million small businesses. Managing director Dr Mafizur Rahman said, "SME Foundation bridges banks and businesses while the return rate of small entrepreneurs is quite satisfactory."
SME Foundation assistant general manager Suman Chandra Saha presented the keynote paper while DCCI senior vice president NKA Mobin, directors Rashedul Karim Munna, Khairul Majid Mahmud, IDLC Finance SME Head Saifuddowla Shamim, among others, took part in the discussion.