Cabinet approves draft SME policy
DHAKA, – The cabinet today approved in principle the draft of the small and medium enterprise policy to boost the industry and increase its contribution to the GDP up to 32 percent by 2024 from the existing 25 percent.
The approval in principle came from a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) here this morning.
“The cabinet, in principle, approved the draft of The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Policy, 2019, which is first of its kind, in line with The Industrial Policy, 2016,” Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told a news briefing at the Secretariat here in the afternoon.
Shafiul said, “SMEs are now being run under a strategy of 2005 as there is no SME policy.”
The draft policy was formulated to achieve six targets ensuring access to finance, access to technology and innovation, access to market, access to education and training, access to business support services, and access to information for the SME entrepreneurs.
“The policy will benefit 78 lakh SMEs as the government wants to give them a strong footing as they are currently contributing 25 percent to the GDP while micro and cottage industries will also be treated as SMEs,” he said.
The government, he said, has set a target to increase the SMEs’ contribution to the GDP to 32 percent from the existing 25 percent.
“Under the policy, a ‘SME Credit Guarantee Fund’ will be introduced to simplify the loan system for the entrepreneurs and no mortgage will be required for getting the loan,” Shafiul informed.
It also proposed a “Startup Fund” for attracting unemployed people to start their own business and giving forward and backward linkage support to give the industry a strong footing, he said, adding that the policy has attached priority to setting up friendly SMEs.
The policy has put emphasis on giving special attention to women entrepreneurs giving them proper training and necessary loan to run their SMEs, he said.
Shafiul said that the SME Policy will be implemented from 2019 to June 2024 while two separate committees — a 37-member committee headed by the Industries Minister and a 29-member committee headed by the Industries Secretary– will be formed to supervise the implementation of the policy.
The Cabinet also in principle approved the draft of “The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Act, 2019”.
“No major changes were brought to existing to the exiting ‘The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation Order, 1972’,” said the Cabinet Secretary. The order was amended twice in 1976 and 1979, he informed.
In accordance with the law, Taka 500 crore have been fixed as both the authorized and paid up capital for the BIWTC, he said, adding: “It also
proposed to include a part-time member (joint secretary of Shipping Ministry) for the corporation to its existing five-member board of directors.”
The Cabinet also cleared a proposal to announce the fourth December as the National Textile Day to attract people’s attention on textiles as it is the
highest export earning sector in Bangladesh.
Besides, the cabinet 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.
The cabinet expressed deep shock at the death of Chairman of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority Prof Dr Naiyyum Choudhury.
It was apprised of Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal’s participation in the fourth annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) from July 12 to 13.
The Chairman of the bank gave a commitment to give one billion US dollars to various sectors in Bangladesh from the meeting, the Cabinet Secretary
It was apprised of Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud’s participation in the four-day “16th Asia Media Summit, 2019” from June 11 to 14 in Cambodia and the minister’s visit to Belgium and the United Kingdom from July 4 to 8.
The cabinet was also apprised of the participation of a Bangladeshi delegation in the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum held from August 1 to 3 last in
Bangkok, Thailand from where an assurance came to help Bangladesh in quick repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland Myanmar.
It also informed the recent visit of South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak- yeon to Bangladesh.
During his visit, three memorandum of understandings (MOUs) were inked while the South Korean Prime Minister promised to help Bangladesh in its development endavour and import more Bangladeshi goods to reduce the discrimination of trade and business between the countries. The country also assured Bangladesh of giving assistance to send Rohingyas back to their country and taking more Bangladeshi workers in South Korea.