Stimuli aim to cover every class of people: Tajul

Published : 07 Nov 2021 09:38 PM | Updated : 08 Nov 2021 03:31 PM

LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam on Sunday said that  the stimulus packages, rolled out for offsetting the shock of Covid-19, aim  to cover each class of people inculcating the advantages both in urban and rural lives. 

"Bangladesh's long-established history is rooted in the goal to achieve  betterment of the poor. In line with that goal, the stimulus packages aim to  cover each class of people inculcating the advantages both in urban and rural  lives," he said.

Tajul was addressing a policy workshop titled "COVID-induced Stimulus  Packages for SMEs & Women-led Enterprises: Exploring Research-Policy  Interlinkages" organised by CPD in partnership with The Asia Foundation (the  Foundation) - Bangladesh under the Women's Economic Empowerment through  Strengthening Market Systems (WEESMS) programme funded by the Embassy of  Sweden and implemented through a partnership with iDE and the Foundation. 

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The policy workshop underscored the importance to examine the linkage between public policies and research during the pandemic and to define how  the challenges of the marginalised businesses have been addressed, said a  press release here.

Tajul also stated that the recommendations placed on the table today would  definitely be taken into necessary cognizance. Alexandra BergVon Linde, Ambassador of Embassy of Sweden, was present as  the guest of honour. 

She said the overarching objectives of the project include the increase of  female participation in the labour force and overcoming policy-related  challenges in light of COVID's impacts on the marginalised group.

Kazi Nabil Ahmed, parliamentary standing committee member on Ministry of  Foreign Affairs, spoke at the workshop as special guest. Emphasizing and  recognising the fact that women in Bangladesh do face a number of impediments  on their way towards progress and empowerment, he opined that a lot of  measures have taken so far even though many more things are yet to be done.

"Women-led enterprises are facing various difficulties including problems related to loans borrowing from banks," he said ensuring that more effective  policy actions will be made in view of this emerging situation.

The keynote presentation at the workshop was made by Dr Khondaker Golam  Moazzem, research director of CPD. The study has been carried out based on  the primary and secondary data and the key informant interviews (KIIs) have  been carried out in following categories of respondents: (a) Government  officials (b) Bank officials and (c) Beneficiaries (SMEs and women-led  enterprises). 

The study pointed out that, during the pandemic, a total of 27 stimulus  packages have been announced with a combined fiscal and financial support of  Taka 1.29 trillion. However, the support for the small and medium enterprises  (SMEs) and women entrepreneurs are insignificant. 

Shedding light on the research-policy linkage aspect, a study revealed at  the workshop showed that the relevant policy-making was influenced by the  urgent need of assistance of businesses raised by business associations and  pressure from large borrowers. 

   There has been lack of sufficient guidance from the policymakers in case  of selecting borrowers. Moreover, stringent regulatory challenges, lack of  coordination between the government agencies, misinformation from the supply- side actors and lack of awareness among the demand-side actors, lack in  market support and linkages-these have adverse effect on borrowing by SMEs. 

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