SME vital for job generation: Atiur
The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector that generates bulk of the employment in a developing country like Bangladesh plays a major part in alleviation of poverty, and the success story of the country will be authored by its small and medium entrepreneurs, said Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Dr Atiur Rahman on Tuesday. “This sector alone can generate huge employment opportunities and contribute a handsome amount to the country’s GDP,” said Rahman while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the first-ever SME Financing Fair 2011, held at the Institute of Engineers’ Bangladesh in the port city.
Emphasizing the importance of the sector, the BB governor said it can play a significant role in establishing gender equality and bridge the widening the gap between rural and urban income.
“Realizing the importance of the sector, the apex bank is encouraging banks and non-bank financing organizations to put emphasis on SME,” he added.
He also said Tk. 53,454 crore in SME loans had been provided to entrepreneurs in 2010, while the amount was Tk. 51,148 crore in 2009. “The collection was incredible, with only a deficit of Tk. 18347 crore in two years,” he pointed out. Rahman further said the endeavour to encourage woman entrepreneurs proves successful as 19,194 woman entrepreneurs were provided with SME loans worth Tk. 2,103 crore last year.
“BB and SME Foundation are trying to provide integrated support to women entrepreneurs in pre-investment consultation, planning and implementation of projects,” he said and added that BB is also financing easy loans to agro-processing entrepreneurs.
He urged bankers to lend the SME a helping hand with expanding facilities in rural areas and give loan assistance to traditional industries like handicraft, weaving, pottery and boutique.
The chairman of SME foundation, Aftabul Islam, presided over the programme while media personnel Shaikh Siraj, Agrani Bank chairman Prof. Khondaker Bazlul Hoque, SME Foundation chief executive officer Sayeed Rezuanul Kabir, BRAC Bank managing director Sayeed Mahbubur Rahman, general manager of BB’s SME and special programmes department, Sukomal Singh Choudhury and general manager of BB in Chittagong, Mohammad Naushad Ali Chowdhury, among others, addressed the inaugural ceremony. Shaikh Siraj said introduction of SME to rural areas would result in a large-scale development that would put the country’s economy in a high growth trajectory. He urged BB to arrange SME fairs in rural areas and include poultry, fishing and flower farming under the SME category.
Later, the BB governor formally handed over sanction letters for loans worth Tk. 4.19 crore to 23 entrepreneurs from across the country. Nineteen banks provided the loans.
News: The Independent/Bangladesh/16 Feb 2011