Cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises are facing difficulties in getting a loan from the Tk20,000 crore stimulus package announced for them.
Light engineering sector stakeholders informed this to the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Tuesday at an online conference.
The banks are not cooperating, they alleged. And the FBCCI assured them of facilitating special loans from the government's financial incentive package.
Leaders of the Light Engineering Associations said that the government needs to help increase their capacity to buy products by exempting VAT and other taxes.
"We have been hit the hardest. The government needs to announce a financial package for the next five or 10 years for us," they said.
FBCCI President Sheikh Fahim also said that the ongoing pandemic has hit the small enterprises and new entrepreneurs of different sectors the hardest.
"I asked the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh to support SMEs following the government circular. But the bank head offices did not set up any help desks for that. Nor did they provide any clear instructions to their branches on the issue."
He said their non-cooperation had been reported to senior government officials.
"Even after the finance minister announced the financial incentive package, things are not going as they should have. However, I think the banks will come up with a solution soon," Fahim added.
Abdul Matlub Ahmad, chairman of Nitol-Niloy Group and the former president of FBCCI, said, "The country's small traders are going to starve to death if they have to rely on the government's Tk20,000 crore incentive package only. So, the federation has to focus on delivering the package to them by May-June."
Among others, Abdur Razzak, president of the Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners Association; Zubair A Zaman, president of the Bangladesh Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association; Rafiqul Alam Khan, president of the Bangladesh Metal Wire and Wire Nail Merchants Association; Md Aslam Ali, president of the Bangladesh Sub-Contracting Industry Owners Association; and Ali Zaman, president of the SME Owners Association of Bangladesh were also present at the discussion.