Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said Bangladeshi women entrepreneurs have achieved a lot of success in business with the necessary government support in the domestic and international arenas.
"The current government has taken all possible steps to make women, who make up half of the country's manpower, productive. As a result, many of them have become successful in business," the minister was addressing a virtual discussion titled 'She Trades Outlook'.
Being connected with the International Trade Centre (ITC) Geneva office, Tipu Munshi took part in a virtual discussion of the political forum organised by the United Nations and the World Trade Organization (WTO) on July 7, reads a press release.
As a result of providing loans and necessary assistance through Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the advancement of women, especially in the cottage industry, is visible, he said.
The minister said 20 percent of the loans of around Tk20,000 crore in the industrial sector are being given to women entrepreneurs through SMEs.
Bangladesh, the world's second largest exporter of readymade garments, employs about 45 lakh workers, 80 percent of whom are women.
"The government has provided Tk5,000 crore loans at nominal interest for paying salaries to protect these women workers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The loan repayment instalments have also been temporarily suspended."
The government has already taken urgent, short-term and long-term plans to address the Covid-19 impacts which are being implemented in phases, the minister added.
Tipu Munshi said the number of women entrepreneurs and their participation in trade has increased in the country for giving them priority at international trade fairs. Women's Chambers of Commerce were set up in districts including Dhaka.
Baroness Sugg CBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Special Envoy of UK Prime Minister for Girl's Education, Paula Gopee-Scoon, Trinidad and Tobago Senator and Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dame Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women's Affairs and Social Development of Nigeria and Mary Ng, Minister of Small Trade, Export Promotion and International Trade of Canada also spoke at the virtual discussion.
Dorothy Tembo, Acting Executive Director of the International Trade Center, moderated the discussion.