Abu Sazzad: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are playing vital role in promoting country’s economy but the sector is facing multifarious challenges including inadequate access to formal source of funds, poor management, and inadequate training facilities for workers and entrepreneurs, poor quality of products and inability to market products. There are over 6 million SMEs in the country and SMEs account for about 45 percent of manufacturing value addition. SMEs are contributing 80 percent of industrial employment, 90 percent of total industrial units and about 25 percent of the GDP.
Moreover, SMEs contribution to export earnings varies from 75 percent to 80 percent. SMEs can reduce rural-urban migration and increase cash flow in rural areas. Moreover, SMEs have a significant role to improve standard of living in rural areas, according to a data of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM).
Not only the SME sector but the medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs) are getting high priority from policymakers due to their contribution to the socioeconomic development of the country.
Experts underscored the need for ensuring easy access to finance, easier access to imported inputs, hassle- free tax system, cluster based development programme, women entrepreneurship development programme and human resource development programme. If the authorities concerned remove such obstacles, SMEs will contribute more in mainstream economy.
“If it is possible to give all kinds of support, the contribution may increase significantly,” said Dr. Mohammad Saleh Jahur, professor of finance department of Chittagong University (CU).
A study conducted by the professor has revealed that the proportion of SMEs to all enterprises is 80 per cent in Bangladesh, while it is 97.60 per cent in India, 99 per cent in China, 99.70 per cent in Japan and 60 per cent in Pakistan.
There are some orgnisations working for the SMEs in field-level for the development of the sector. It is needed to enhance the activities of the organisations to help the entrepreneurs in the sector, he added.
Sukumol Sinha, former adviser of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) said that the developments of SMEs are important to attain sustainable development goal.
Now, women entrepreneurs are availing financial facility under SME loan but they need more attention from the financial organizations.
SMEs have reduced the economic disparity in the country. Apart from this, the sector is contributing a crucial role to generate employment and empower women in the society.
Considering all the factors, Bangladesh Bank, SME Foundation and other organizations will have to play more proactive role to promote SME sector across the country.
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