Set up dedicated bank for SMEs

Stakeholders urge govt

FE Report | Tuesday, 8 May 2018

The government should establish a dedicated bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide hassle-free financial services for the entrepreneurs, speakers at a discussion said on Monday.
Also, easy access to low-cost funds, more budgetary allocations for research and development, a long-term roadmap and tax exemption facility for the startups are needed to boost the SME sector, they said.
The SME Foundation organised the discussion on 'SME-friendly budget proposals' at its headquarters in the city to brief reporters on the 43-point budget proposal it submitted to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on Sunday.
Md Safiqul Islam, Managing Director of the Foundation, presided over the event. Members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation Md Rashedul Karim Munna, Ismat Jerin Khan and AFM Fakhrul Islam Munshi, president of Bangladesh Agro Processors Association, also spoke.
Fakhrul Islam Munshi said that despite all-out efforts made by various organisations, including SME Foundation, the SME sector has not reached the desired level of development due to some factors, including unavailability of a dedicated bank.
"We should have a SME bank to provide dedicated services to the entrepreneurs," he said, adding that an entrepreneur has to go through complicated procedures to avail credit facility from a commercial bank even after getting recommendation from the Foundation.
Underscoring the need for more policy support for the small and micro entrepreneurs, he said the rate of bank interest for them is still high.
Echoing the same views, Rashedul Karim said the government should draw a roadmap for five to ten years on a particular SME sector to ensure the desired growth.
Earlier, Foundation adviser Md Shahabuddin briefed newsmen on its 43-point SME-friendly budget proposals submitted to the NBR.
He said the Foundation has proposed lowering taxes for 12 categories of products, including polycarbonate used for electronic goods, polymer for plastic goods, decalcomania transfer paper for melamine utensils and machinery for agro-processing, to help the entrepreneurs.

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