21 September 2019

78 lakh SMEs to get access to finance, market; policy okayed

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at the Cabinet meeting at her office on Monday, Sep 9, 2019. Photo: PID -

The Cabinet on Monday approved the draft of SME Policy 2019, aiming to ensure access to finance, technology and market for some 78 lakh SMEs in the country.

The approval came at the Cabinet meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her office.

“The SME Policy will be implemented from 2019 to June 2024,” said Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam while briefing reporters at the Bangladesh Secretariat after the meeting.

“There’re some 78 lakh micro, small and medium industrial entities in the SME sector. And the sector’s contribution to the GDP is 25 percent,” he said.

The policy will ensure six matters for SME investors, which are access to finance, technology, innovation, market, education and training, business support services, and information, said the Cabinet Secretary.

There will be two committees -- a 37-member committee headed by the Industries Minister and a 29-member committee led by the Industries Secretary—to implement the policy, the Cabinet Secretary said.

The strategic objectives of the policy include introducing guarantee fund, providing loan on soft conditions to SMEs, assisting the start-ups, making the startup process easier, provide training, loan and other facilities for women entrepreneurs, preparing data server over SMEs, promoting SMEs to set up environment-friendly industrial enterprises.

Besides, the Cabinet in principle approved the draft of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Bill 2019 bringing some minor changes to the existing Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Order 1972.

“There’s no major change in the new bill,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

As per the bill, the amount of paidup capital for BIWTC is Tk 500 crore and that of the authorised capital also is Tk 500 crore, he said.

There will be a six-member board of directors instead of the existing five-member board for the corporation as a joint secretary of the Shipping Ministry will be appointed as a part-time director for it, said Shafiul Alam.

The Cabinet also cleared a proposal to announce the 4th December as the National Textile Day and observe it every year.

The Cabinet expressed deep shock at the death of chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority Prof Dr Naiyyum Chowdhury.

The Cabinet meeting greeted the Bangladesh women cricket team for clinching the title of the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers beating Thailand in the final held at Dundee, Scotland on Saturday.


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