Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced an incentive package of Tk20,000 crore along with policy assistance to offset the losses of the SME sector due to Covid-19.
Industries minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun said this at an international webinar "The Pandemic and SMEs: Shock-absorbing policy measure and future debates impacts in Bangladesh and Lessons from responses around the World" jointly organised by SME Foundation and German development agency FES Bangladesh on Thursday.
With the industries minister as the chief guest, the webinar aimed at overcoming the losses of Covid-19 in the SME sector.
Industries minister said the country's SME sector has been severely affected due to Covid-19, especially the rural entrepreneurs are in crisis as the supply of goods were disrupted. Compared to 2019, the revenue of the SME sector has decreased by 66% in 2020.
Elaborating on the information published in the media, the minister further said the government has taken initiative to help the SME sector to solve these problems.
SME Foundation chairperson Prof Md Masudur Rahman, who presided over the programme, said due to Covid-19, the two biggest sales seasons of the year – Bengali New Year and Eid-ul-Fitr – businesses were shut down and the supply of goods was disrupted. There are many unsold products in stock.
The SME Foundation is training entrepreneurs on e-commerce. In the context of Covid-19, e-commerce training has already been imparted to more than 500 entrepreneurs. The SME Foundation will research the impact of Covid-19 on SME entrepreneurs, he added.
Welcoming remarks were made by Md Shafiqul Islam, managing director, SME Foundation.
Dr Atiur Rahman, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank and a Professor of Development Studies at Dhaka University, and Michael Rozler, vice-chair of Craft Industry International, Germany was the chief negotiator were chief negotiators.