A whopping 96% of MSMEs in Bangladesh reported a decrease in income, with a median loss in business of 82% during the 'national holidays'.
Besides, customer footfall decreased by 67% on average among the respondents.
The findings were unveiled at a workshop titled "Assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs in Asia and Africa".
Swiss Capacity Building Facility (SCBF) and MSC (MicroSave Consulting) patronised the workshop conducted through a webinar on Thursday.
In the workshop, MSC launched the findings of a multi-country assessment study on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on MSMEs and women in Asia and Africa.
The research examined the needs, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours of micro and small enterprises, farmers, and CICO agents in several countries including Kenya, Uganda, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Senegal, and the Philippines. The research involved an assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on key segments of the economy in these countries and the response of the governments and the private sector to deal with the pandemic.
According to the study, Covid-19 massively disrupted the supply chain in Bangladesh. MSMEs in the rural areas must travel to collect supplies from the central depot. Furthermore, a third of the suppliers do not offer credit due to the fear of not being paid by their end customers during the pandemic. 36% of MSMEs have reported that they are suffering from a decline in the availability of supplier credit. Combined with pending receivables, this has hurt cash flows of MSMEs as 58% of them have reported a reduction in household expenses. Due to inflated cost of living in urban areas, 68% urban MSMEs have seen a fall in their household expenses compared to 33% of rural MSMEs.
Measures to support MSMEs
The MSME sector in Africa and Asia will need a three-pronged approach to kick start the road to recovery. The support will need to come from governments, regulators and financial service providers as well as private sector players.
In Bangladesh, the government has extended the moratorium period to one year for disbursement of the stimulus loan. Recently, the Bangladesh Bank also set up a refinancing fund worth USD 590 million (BDT 5,000 crore) for three years to provide a credit facility to owners of cottage, micro, and small enterprises (CSMEs).
The esteemed panel members who were present in the workshop included Mike McCaffrey, East and Southern Africa Regional Manager of UNCDF; Payal Dalal, Senior Vice President, Social Impact, International Markets of Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth; Evelyn Stark, Financial Health Strategy Lead of MetLife Foundation; and Mark Napier, CEO of FSD Africa. Graham AN Wright, Group Managing Director of MSC, moderated the workshop.