Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) urged the government to pay special attention to cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) sector for a smooth transition from the least developed country (LDC) status.
“There are 7.8 million CMSMEs in Bangladesh that represent 90 percent of industries generating 25 percent of gross domestic product. However, the sector has a lack of access to finance,” said DCCI president Sameer Sattar.
The DCCI president was addressing a press conference at the DCCI office in Dhaka on Saturday.
He claimed that the CMSMEs are hardly seen in the process of financial inclusion as the medium enterprises dominate the smaller ones in achieving different financial facilities.
“From DCCI, we have a specific suggestion to redefine CMS enterprises excluding the medium ones so a special concentration can be given on new entrepreneurs in the sector,” Sattar said.
The DCCI president urged the commercial banks to set up special desks for small businesses, comply with central bank regulations and provide all support to the beginners.
Citing a newspaper, he said that the banks hardly finance early stage business despite Bangladesh Bank issuing a re-financing scheme for CMSMEs.
The DCCI president shared a plan of action making a call to the entrepreneurs to maintain minimum margin of profit to tackle upcoming recession and avoid any kind of layoff for betterment of the economy.
“We found that many global companies like Microsoft, Google have made lay-offs in different departments for adopting new technologies in the new normal. I think Bangladeshi entrepreneurs should focus on minimum profit for surviving with an existing workforce without any layoff,” he said.
Sameer Sattar president emphasised policy advocacy from the chamber to extend support for CMSME, skill development, export diversification, private investment and FDI, financial sector, tax management, LDC graduation, economic diplomacy, infrastructure and smart Bangladesh.
He urged the government to expand the tax-GDP ratio for relaxing burden from selected groups.
“At present the tax-GDP ratio is nearly 10 percent which is lower compared to other economies in the region. We should focus on expanding tax coverage without increasing burden to existing taxpayers. Around two-thirds of tax identity number holders didn’t pay tax,” he said.
In reply to a question, the DCCI chief said that the recent gas price hike is only for industries, not for households or the agriculture sector.
“Businessmen may be willing to pay a higher price but, in return, they want uninterrupted gas supply so that they can continue industrial production without any hindrance.”
He said, “It is true that gas price hike and electricity price hike will have an adverse impact on the small businesses as this will increase their production costs. This is common with any power price hike.”
The DCCI chief urged the Bangladesh Bank to consider LC margins especially during the upcoming Ramadan for essential commodities so that importers can import the same and keep supply stable.
“There is no overnight solution to foreign exchange reserves crisis. We have to incentivise more remittance inflow from abroad and enhance export earnings to increase the reserves,” he said.
DCCI senior vice-president Golam Faruk Alamgir Arman and vice-president Junaed Ibna Ali, among other board of directors, were present on the occasion.