Microentrepreneurs will get loans through non-government organisations in the same way farmers have been getting them, said Fazle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, on Wednesday.
All commercial banks will soon get a directive to this effect, he added.
They will place the matter of providing loans to microentrepreneurs on the table at the next meeting with the chief executive officers of banks, the governor said.
Fazle Kabir was addressing a seminar, "Promoting Microenterprise in Bangladesh: Current Status and Future Prospects," at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital. The seminar was organised by Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation (PKSF).
PKSF Chairman Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad presided over the programme while Minister of State for Information Murad Hasan was present as chief guest.
Fazlul Kader, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF, presented the keynote paper.
The central bank governor noted that microenterprises have been contributing significantly to the economic development of the country.
According to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, Bangladesh is one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
"And it has been possible owing to massive employment in small and medium industries. But one or two research organisations have said our GDP growth is not inclusive. Employment is not being generated despite growth," he said.
In reality, however, the PKSF through its associate organisations [NGOs] created 31 lakh jobs.
The aim of the government is to create employment opportunities. Toward this end, the central bank has brought about changes in loan disbursement in different sectors, Fazle Kabir said.
Earlier, the government used to provide 35 percent of loans for manufacturing and 55 percent for trading.
The loan disbursement target has now been raised to 40 percent in the SME sector while in trading it has been reduced to 35 percent. The target in the services sector has been set at 25 percent.
In the last fiscal year, the government disbursed 36 percent loans in the manufacturing sector and 23 percent in the services sector.
Analyses of loan distribution by Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank have found that the loan recovery rate from small loan receivers is very good, but when it comes to big borrowers the repayment rate is not satisfactory, the governor said.
Qazi Kholiquzzaman said the PKSF is working towards achieving the sustainable development goals by increasing productivity and production through changing the path of poverty alleviation.
In his keynote speech, Deputy Managing Director of PKSF Fazlul Kader said,"Developing countries like Bangladesh largely depend on micro and small enterprises. The contribution of microenterprises to the GDP in Bangladesh is around 25 percent while microenterprises represent 57 percent of the country's total employment."
To proceed towards the status of a developed country, Bangladesh needs to focus on promoting microenterprises to retain the current economic growth, which is close to 7 percent, he added.
"Currently, microenterprises are engaged in producing low skilled labour intensive sectors like light engineering, small manufacturing, food processing, agribusiness, etc," Fazlul Kader said. He added, "Product diversification is another key area we should focus on."
Considering the effectiveness of microenterprises in expediting the poverty reduction process by creating self and wage employment, the PKSF has been promoting this sector since 2001.