Dhaka, Bangladesh
Package supports for SME entrepreneurs, startups

Cabinet okays comprehensive policy

Package supports for SME entrepreneurs, startups

Two panels to do 6 dos for investors

News Report Concomitant with a fast-changing global order is a shift in the economy-from behemoth macro-enterprises to microeconomic ventures. Investors these days are averse to putting capital in heavy industries on a long-term basis. They prefer ventures that can be set up in short time and reap rather quick returns. They are on the lookout for such investment opportunities across the planet. Even newly industrialized countries, including China, are undergoing such transition to small and medium enterprises, mostly based on newer technological innovations. However, mega-projects that are much needed in developing countries are drawing large-scale investment on the prospects of long-term returns. Bangladesh, as of now, is in need of both. Alongside bigger infrastructure schemes, the country has no choice but to build up industries on medium and micro scales across the country in order to generate much-needed jobs and attain economic development on a par with especially two globally designed goals: final graduation from LDC status by 2024 and SDGs by 2030. It's a daunting task that presupposes well-thought-out policies and a national synergy of all forces-political ones inclusive. "Jobless growth" is a common observation about the capital-intensive mega-projects being undertaken and under execution. Job-generating small and medium industries remain the best choice of the time. And a government policy package endorsed Monday is likely to be of great help in this direction-of course if executive capability is built up and irregularities of the dimensions cited by critics can be held in check. The cabinet Monday approved the draft SME Policy 2019 with a package of facilities to ensure access of SMEs to finance, technology and market. At present there are 78 lakh such industrial units in the country, the cabinet was informed in its weekly meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her office. "The SME Policy will be implemented from 2019 to June 2024," Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters at the Bangladesh Secretariat after the meeting. "There are 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. Six dos are envisaged in the policy for SME investors: access to finance, technology, innovation, market, education and training, business-support services, and information. Two panels will execute the policy options -- a 37-member committee headed by the Industries Minister and a 29-member committee led by the Industries Secretary, 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, providing 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 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. (Inputs taken from UNB, media reports)

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