‘Rapid disbursement of stimulus vital to revitalise CMSME’

Speakers at a dialogue on Tuesday said that rapid implementation of Stimulus Package is vital to ensure the revitalization of CMSME.  They opined that the gap, which exists between supply side and demand side, is hindering the flow on loan disbursement in CMSME.

The observations were made at a virtual dialogue on “Access of MSMEs and Women Entrepreneurs to Stimulus Package”. Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) in collaboration with the International Trade Centre (ITC) organized the virtual dialogue.

Executive Director of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) Abu Farah MdNaser joined the dialogue as a guest of honor while Additional Secretary of the Commerce Ministry Sharifa Khan chaired the panel discussion session.

Abu Farah MdNaser informed that in order to reduce the process time  Bangladesh Bank has initiated a pilot program with The City Bank Limited to disburse loan through mobile banking system.

Welcoming the participant, BUILD Chairperson AbulKasem Khan said that the Stimulus Package is a timely and praiseworthy initiative of the Government to combat the negative impact of COVID-19 on economy of Bangladesh. However, the execution of this package is important to bring stability in the CMSME sector as this sector is the worst sufferer of pandemic.

BelalurRahman, Research Associate, BUILD delivered the keynote presentation. He illustrated the hurdles faced by CMSMEs as well as women entrepreneurs during COVID-19 and put the importance on alternative financing options for women entrepreneurs and underprivileged CMSMEs. 

While moderating the open session Sharifa Khan said that government has taken initiatives to support the affected sectors of the economy through various stimulus packages. The implementation of SP is vital to ensure the revitalization of CMSME. M. A. BaquiKhalily, Professor, University of Dhaka addressed the definition issue of CMSME. 

He opined that there should not be a separate category as cottage industry and can be included in the micro category,  thus, the definition of MSME will match with international standard. Syed Almas Kabir, President, BASIS suggested a database for WE can be performed as a formal register for WE which can treat as an alternative for trade license as is the case of ICT. 

Syed Abdul Momen, Head of SME Banking, BRAC Bank Ltd. stated that according to the instruction of Bangladesh Bank, commercial banks are relaxing different terms and conditions to facilitate cottage, micro and small industries. 

Md. Safiqul Islam, Managing Director, SME Foundation stressed that the loan disbursements flow of CMSME  and said it is  necessary to strengthen the capacity of supply side so that they can provide their designated service effectively. On another note, he proposed that collaboration among Ministry of industries, BSCIC, SME Foundation and Bangladesh Bank is essential to ensure the revival of CMSME amid this pandemic.  

Abu Farah Md. Naser, Executive Director, SME & Special Programs Department, Bangladesh Bank informed that in order to reduce the process time Bangladesh Bank has initiated a pilot program with The City Bank Ltd. to disburse loan through mobile banking system.  

He has informed that not only the BDT 20, 000 crore package, there are a number of other packages dedicated for the CMSME. Although Bangladesh Bank has issued several circulars for WE, due to lack of access to information these circulars cannot able to reach potential female borrowers. 

Tanvir Ahmad, Country Coordinator, SheTrades Initiatives of ITC stated that cottage would need to give importance as medium, he further suggested for a dedicated number for the SME Help Line as has been used by the government. 

FerdausAra Begum, CEO, BUILD in summing up the discussion highlighted the need for dissemination information for WE, she thanked all the participants for their enthusiastic participation. She said that in order to encourage WE to obtain trade license, the fee of trade license should be reduced. She added that alternative financing opinions should be assessed properly to formulate tailor-made package for WE.