SMEs need special policy

Business Desk :
Sustaining small and medium enterprises (SME) requires special policy support as a lack of close ties with banks is depriving these small-scale traders of benefits of the government’s stimulus packages, said FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin on Monday.
The focus is due because the SME sector is considered to be the economy’s backbone and forms the backward linkage of the export industry, one of the sources of the country’s foreign currency earnings, he said.
This also means that the sector has been one of the worst hit by the pandemic since March 2020, he told the inauguration of a 9th National SME Product Fair 2021 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital.
The fair comprises 325 stalls wholly showcasing local products, highly prioritising agriculture, food processing and agro machinery manufacturers, ICT, software, leather and leather products, light engineering, jute and jute products, plastics, handicrafts and imitation jewellery.
The event is open for all everyday from 10:00am to 8:00pm till December 12.
The entrepreneurs also face problems in obtaining bank loans for a lack of collateral alongside in traversing the complexities of loan applications, said the chief of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI).
The sector lacks product diversification and quality, adequate research and development, reliable statistics, attractive packaging, capital and knowledge of related information technology while being slapped with high customs duties and harassment in complex customs procedures, he added.
Coupled with these are limited raw material supplies and non-tariff constraints, he said, urging to lay emphasis on insurance coverage for the sector to counter any future disaster.
He said economic progress could be accelerated by addressing these issues in a coordinated manner utilising public-private partnerships with the FBCCI, SME Foundation, Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation and the Export Promotion Bureau.