‘CMSMEs should get priority in industrial policy’

Speakers tell the DCCI webinar

“Cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) is the lifeline of Bangladesh’s economy and the sector should get special consideration and priority in the industrial policy for an inclusive, sustainable socio-economic development’ said speakers in a webinar on Sunday

Arranged by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) , the webinar was attended by Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun as the chief guest while Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF, Dr. Atiur Rahman, former Governor, Bangladesh Bank joined as special guests. 

Chairman of SME Foundation Dr. Md. Masudur Rahman joined as guest of honour. DCCI President Shams Mahmud chaired the webinar.

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, while addressing, said for an inclusive development of economy improvement of cottage, micro and small enterprises is important. 

He also said that 35% of stimulus package announced for the CMSMEs has been disbursed up to October 15th. We need to increase contribution of CMSMEs to GDP which is 25% now as well as strengthening backward linkage industries to reduce import dependency. Government is facilitating women entrepreneurs giving various incentives. 

We have a big local market and he urged to utilize our own skilled workforce in the BSCIC industrial units. He termed Bangladesh as one of the best competitive market having intelligent, young, confident and energetic workforce. 

DCCI President Shams Mahmud in his welcome remarks said in 2019-20 the contribution of industry to GDP was 35.36% that increased by 6.48%. During the last three decades Bangladesh’s industrial growth was mainly RMG centric. 

“But for the sake of diversification of industry as a whole Shams Mahmud urged for the development of leather, jute, agro-processing, ship-building, light engineering, pharmaceuticals and non-traditional items. One of the main constraints for SME’s development is easy access of low-cost financing even in the case of loans under government’s stimulus” , added.

The DCCI President also urged for two separate policies for cottage, micro and small enterprises and the other one for medium enterprises.

Dr. Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, PKSF urged to do a skill mapping to eradicate skill gaps. Industrial policy should focus on policy coordination and institutional coordination for better productivity. 

“New entrepreneurs should also get incentives from the stimulus package for inclusive and sustainable development, he added. Policies, that are environment friendly and socially accepted are sustainable”, he mentioned. 

Dr. Atiur Rahman, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank and Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka said Bangladesh’s economy was progressing inclusively at a faster pace but unexpectedly Covid 19-led pandemic came as a shock. In the time of framing a new industrial policy, he suggested the policy makers to be realistic. He also urged for export diversification, use of technology and skill development. 

Dr. Rahman also mentioned that as the demand has come down, employment generation will be challenging. Our industrial contribution to GDP is quite satisfactory but the employment generation in terms of GDP is still hovering to 18-20 percent. He also stressed on SME and agriculture sector to get priority in the industrial policy as one fourth of GDP comes from SMEs. 

Dr. Md. Masudur Rahman, Chairperson, SME Foundation said contribution of SME to our GDP is only 25% and that should be enhanced. Moreover, industrial productivity and diversification need to be increased, he mentioned. 

Md. Mostaaq Hasan, ndc, Chairman, BSCIC said BSCIC has 76 industrial area on 2000 acres of land where 8,50,000 people are now working. He also said that by the year 2041 BSCIC has a plan to establish 100 industrial areas across the country on 40,000 acres of land where about 2 crore workers will be employed.  In the BSCIC industrial area there will be bonded warehouse facility also, he added.

Abul Kasem Khan, Chairperson, BUILD & former President, DCCI said CMSMEs should get special priority in the Industrial Policy. Moreover most of CMSMEs do not have good transaction record with the banks, so to bring them under financing scheme, an alternative financing mechanism should be in place, he said