As a small entrepreneur, it is very difficult for me to know what the whole budget contains. I would like to know whether entrepreneurs like me will get cash assistance or loans as incentives.
Entrepreneurs like us think about how fast the economic situation will improve and the purchasing power of the commoners will increase. Unfortunately, there was no announcement of any new incentives for small entrepreneurs in the budget.
The budget said nothing about easing borrowing by cottage, micro, and small entrepreneurs from the stimulus announced last year. I was very happy to hear the incentive announcement last year, but the reality is different. I struggled a lot and finally got a nominal loan. It is impossible to run a business with such a small amount of money.
We need a lot of cash to run business in our sector. The reality is that solvency was prioritised while disbursing incentive loans. The one who has more assets and can offer more collateral was given loans.
The incentive was actually announced for insolvent entrepreneurs. But those who did not need it received it first. They are counting profit by depositing the money in the bank.
The budget offered some tax exemptions to small entrepreneurs. But many such entrepreneurs are out of the tax net. Giving them a chance to grow may increase the size of the economy one day. The government's tax collection will also increase. The announcement of tax and VAT exemptions will not bring much benefit for small entrepreneurs in the informal sector.
Reducing VAT will cause product prices to fall slightly. The main buyers of the products of small entrepreneurs like us are the medium- and low-income people. These groups did not shop much last year.
The turnaround of small businesses depends much on the recovery of earnings of the poor. So, small businesses should be given benefits in the budget while assistance should be offered to buyers as well.
We now have to offer big discounts to sell products. But how long can we do this? We have to spend a large sum on showroom and factory rents as well as salaries of designers and workers.
Skilled workers having experience of 10-15 years are leaving as there is no work. If we cannot offer them assistance, the country will regress by 20 years.
Biplob Saha is a fashion designer and owner of Bishwo Rang