The government has cleared a draft policy to facilitate small and medium enterprises or SMEs to flourish with increased loan and other facilities.
The cabinet approved the draft ‘SME Policy 2019’ in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office on Monday.
The policy, which has been drafted in light of the National Industrial Policy, will cover 7.8 million SMEs that contribute around 25 percent to GDP, according to Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam.
Bangladesh had until now SME Policy Strategies formulated in 2005. The new policy will be effective until June 2024.
It enhances six scopes for the entrepreneurs – funds, technology and innovation, access to markets, education and training, trade support, and access to information.
It also includes the creation of a ‘Credit Guarantee Fund’, which will allow the entrepreneurs to get funds on easy conditions and little interests without any mortgage, according to the cabinet secretary.
A two-tier council would implement the policy, Shafiul said. The industries minister will head the 37-member group with the state minister as the vice-president, and the Bangladesh Bank Governor, secretaries to different ministries, SME Foundation chairman, and five representatives of the private sector as members.
The industries secretary will head the other group of 29 which will also include the SME foundation managing director.
An industries ministry official said small and medium entrepreneurs currently can apply for loans between Tk 50,000 and Tk 150,000 with interest below 10 percent.
The cabinet also approved in principle ‘Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Act 2019’ to increase the paid-up capital of the corporation to Tk 5 billion from Tk 50 million. The government will also increase its authorised capital to Tk 5 billion, Shafiul said.
The council of ministers cleared a proposal declaring Dec 4 ‘National Textile Day’ and take necessary measures to observe the day.
It mourned Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority Chairman Professor Dr Naiyyum Choudhury, who died while undergoing treatment at a Dhaka hospital last Friday.