DHAKA, April 4, 2018 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the government would establish SME advisory centers in all district and Upazillas, which will act as one-stop centers to provide service to the entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurs will be able to avail supports for starting a new business, expansion of existing ones, management and technical training, consultancy services from these centers,” she said.
Display and sale centers of SMES would be established in every divisional city for displaying and selling of the products of successful entrepreneurs, she added.
The Prime Minister said in her written speech inaugurating the National SME Fair-2018 at Bangabandhu International Conference Center here today.
The Prime Minister due to her illness could not deliver her oral speech. Instead, written copies of her speech were distributed among the audiences.
The Prime Minister said as a driving force of global economy, SMEs are very important for a developing country like Bangladesh for economic development, industrialization, generation of employment and poverty eradication.
In Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said, nearly 90% of the industries fall under the small and medium category. For this reason, SME sector is especially important to achieve the National Development Goals. The contribution of SMEs to Bangladesh’s GDP is almost 25%, she said.
SME Foundation and FBCCI jointly organized the fair aimed at promoting marketing and business expansion of the products of the SMEs.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu presided over the function while president of FBCCI Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, industries secretary Md. Abdullah and chairperson of the SME Foundation K M Habibullah also spoke on the occasion.
The Prime Minister also distributed awards among the best SME entrepreneurs of the year. She visited different stalls of the fair after the inaugural function.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has considered small and medium enterprises as one of the key factors for industrial development.
She said contribution of industrial sector to the national economy is increasing gradually. More women are starting their own business due to our entrepreneur-friendly policies.
As a result, Bangladesh has raced ahead of its neighboring countries in terms of poverty alleviation, employment generation, women empowerment, and many other socio-economic indicators, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is now exporting 750 products to 199 countries. The target has been set at 41 billion dollars for the current fiscal year.
She said export of Bangladeshi products has been increased. As a result the trade deficit with different countries is decreasing. At present, the income from export has increased to nearly 35 billion dollars, which will increase up to 60 billion dollars by 2021, she said.
Pointing out her government’s plan to establish 100 Economic Zones in the country the Prime Minister said the economic zones would attract local and foreign investment playing an important role in the socio-economic development of the country through industrialization and employment generation.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has long glorious tradition of cottage industries. Traditional ‘Jamdani Sharees’, embroidered Quilt (nakshi katha) and ‘Sheetal Pati’ of Bangladesh have achieved the honour as World cultural Heritage of UNESCO.
The Prime Minister urged the entrepreneurs to set up small and medium industries, regionally according to the geographical availability of raw materials saying the government will provide the necessary incentive and policy support to the entrepreneurs.
She said the government is giving collateral free loan with single digit interest rate for SME entrepreneurs and arranging demand-based training programs as well as other activities for promotion and marketing of products.
She laid importance on scaling up the skills of every person through the development of small and medium enterprises like Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and China.
SME Foundation of Bangladesh has started work in collaboration with different countries for development of the sector, she said hoping that the SME Foundation would take necessary steps so that SMEs can contribute to poverty alleviation and economic development.
“The policy of our government is that the government won’t do business by itself, but work as a facilitator. For this approach, the private sectors have flourished in our country rapidly,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina called for exploring markets of the SME products all around the world saying our products have to be in line with their demand.
“We need to reduce our export dependency on a few products, and diversify our export portfolio,” she said.
The Prime Minister hoped that the SME Fair would play an important role in promotion of products, alongside attracting buyers and expanding market.