Organisations, who work for the small entrepreneurs' development, have urged the banks and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to make the regulations easy to enable small entrepreneurs to access their loan support, including incentive loan.
"We are facing various harassment in getting loans from banks. No loan has been granted without collateral and granter," female entrepreneurs said at a programme on "National Policy Dialogue: Access to Finance for Women Entrepreneurs" at Brac centre on Thursday.
Md Mafizur Rahman, managing director of Small & Medium Enterprise Foundation (SME) Foundation, said around 90 lakh Cottage, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (CMSME) are doing business across the country. Small entrepreneurs are afraid of availing loans with so many documents including Tax Identification Number, Business Identification Number.
"Our demand is to make it easy for women entrepreneurs to get the loans they need to start a business," he added.
National Association of Small and Cottage Industries of Bangladesh President Mirza Nurul Ghani Shovon said the Bangladesh Bank took many programmes to provide loans to women entrepreneurs. But they are only on paper.
Bangladesh Bank General Manager Jakir Hossain said "Many banks disbursed incentive loans in compliance with the policy. But there are some exceptions. We have seen SME loans being given to affluent people. We are looking after these irregularities."
Some 47.84% women entrepreneurs do not know about the incentives given by the government. And even though 42.47% knew, they did not understand how to apply for that.
Brac implemented a pilot project on "Economic Recovery for MSMEs in Bangladesh" from June 2021 to May 2022 for women entrepreneurs badly affected during Covid-19.
Under this, 1,040 women entrepreneurs from Dhaka, Gazipur, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Faridpur, Chattogram, Cumilla, Brahmanbaria received various training.
Moreover, a policy framework was prepared to help women entrepreneurs in effective financing.
Highlighting some recommendations received during the pilot project, Ishrat Binte Rouf, policy specialist at Advocacy for Social Change, Brac, said the people concerned have to set eligibility criteria for CMSME women entrepreneurs based-on their socio economic condition and nature of businesses.
Besides, loan and finance policies of banks and MFIs have to be reformed to enable women business owners to access their support and grace periods have to be increased for loan repayment, he added.