Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said today the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman took multifaceted plans for the development of the country's small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
"Under the instruction of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Industrial Investment Policy, 1973 was formulated on 7 January, 1973 for sustaining and strengthening the country's economy through industrial development," he said.
The minister said this while speaking as the chief guest at a seminar titled "Bangabandhu's thought on SME development and Present Perspective" organised by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in the city, said a press release.
In his speech, Humayun expressed dissatisfaction regarding bank financing to SMEs. "Generating profit by selling dollars is not the job of the banks - this is not ethical," he mentioned.
Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Research Director Dr Khandakar Golam Moazzem presented the keynote paper at the seminar.
He said that commercial banks distribute 18% of their total disbursed loan to SMEs. "Only 9% SMEs have access to bank finance and the rest 91% remains unbanked," he added.
Moreover, he said, the proportion of SME loans has declined in recent years, which puts the development sustainability at a risk.
He informed that Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman aimed at reducing disparity through SME development.
The unnourished SME is one of the major causes behind the alarm in discrimination, he added.
Citing the World Bank report, the prominent economist noted that the country's SMEs have a potential loan demand worth 26 thousand six hundred crore taka.
As the SMEs are neglected in the Bank's loan structure, bankers are reluctant to concentrate on these huge untapped potentials, he added.
FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin said SMEs are the backbone of the economy. However, banks are reluctant to finance them as they feel comfortable with large companies, he added.
Terming access to finance as the biggest challenge for SMEs, the president said, Prime Minister's loan incentive package for large industries had been distributed in three months, in contrast incentives for SMEs have not been disbursed in two years.
Among others, FBCCI Senior Vice President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, SME Foundation Chairman Dr Md Masudur Rahman, SME Foundation Managing Director Dr Md Mofizur Rahman and FBCCI Vice Presidents Md Amin Helaly and Md Habib Ullah Dawn, among others, spoke on the occasion.