SME Foundation urges banks and NBFIs
The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation on Thursday urged banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), with whom the foundation has loan disbursement agreements, to cooperate with entrepreneurs across the country.
They made the request during an agreement signing ceremony between SME Foundation and 18 banks and NBFIs, to disburse of Tk 200 crore for the cottage, micro, small and medium enterprise (CMSME) sector from the government incentive packages to offset the losses incurred by the pandemic on Thursday at Agargaon SME Foundation building of the capital.
According to the foundation, the interest rate on the loans will be 4%.
An entrepreneur will get a loan starting from Tk1 lakh to a maximum of Tk50 lakh.
The signatory banks and NBFIs are: Brac Bank, Bank Asia, Basic Bank, The City Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, Dhaka Bank, NRB Commercial Bank, Premier Bank, Social Islami Bank, One Bank, Prime Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank, United Commercial Bank, Eastern Bank, Southeast Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, IPDC Finance, IDLC Finance and LankaBangla Finance.
In his welcome speech, Md Mafizur Rahman, managing director of SME Foundation, said that in the last fiscal year, the foundation and BSIC have proved their capability by disbursing 100% of the loans from the government's stimulus package.
He thanked the banks and NBFIs for making this possible.
Rahman also hoped that the distribution of another Tk200 crore in the current fiscal would be completed by the end of this year.
He also called upon bank and NBFI officials to give priority to affected and actual entrepreneurs from remote areas, as well as women entrepreneurs.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said that if the incentive package is implemented properly, the SME sector will be strengthened to recover the losses incurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The SME Foundation already has proved their capacity by properly disbursing Tk100 crore in the first phase. For development of the SME sector, it is necessary to give more responsibilities to this organization including allocating more funds and increasing the economic capacity of the SME Foundation,” he added.
State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder said that the proper disbursement of incentive packages will create new entrepreneurs which will create the new employment as per the government's election target.
In order to truly develop the SME sector, it is necessary to increase the number of separate SME villages for SME entrepreneurs and sales outlets for their products, he added.
State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has announced an incentive package for CMSME entrepreneurs to create employment and revive the economy by cutting the losses of millions of SME entrepreneurs.
The benefits of huge improvements in the ICT sector under the leadership of Sajib Wazed Joy, the promoter of Digital Bangladesh, should be extended among the rural entrepreneurs. The SME Foundation and the ICT Department will work together to create new entrepreneurs, he added.
Industry Secretary Zakia Sultana said bank and NBFI officials needed to ensure that the right entrepreneurs get loans for incentive packages.
SME Foundation Chairperson Md Masudur Rahman said that it will be difficult to build a developed Bangladesh by 2041 without developing the SME sector.
Therefore, it is necessary to increase the capacity of the SME Foundation, especially its financial capacity, he also said.
Rahman also requested the banks and NBFIs to distribute incentive package loans among genuine entrepreneurs.
As per the terms of the agreement, these banks and financial institutions will disburse loans to about 100 SME clusters, chambers, associations of entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and SME foundations across the country, SME sub-sectors, trade bodies and groups of SMEs and groups recommended by various governmental NGOs and associations.
Loans will be provided to the marginal entrepreneurs who have not received loans from the first phase. The target is to distribute 25-30% of the total loan to the women entrepreneurs.
According to the SME Foundation, rural and marginal entrepreneurs who did not take out loans under the last package will be prioritized this year, along with new entrepreneurs and third gender entrepreneurs.
The loans can be repaid in a maximum of 24 equated monthly installments based on banker-customer relationship. The loans will generally be disbursed in favour of single and joint ventures.