Published:  01:14 AM, 24 June 2020

'Govt to update SME database to ensure stimulus package benefits'

'Govt to update SME database to ensure stimulus package benefits' Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun

Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun on Tuesday said the government will update SME database soon to ensure benefits of the stimulus package announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to protect the country's cottage, small and medium enterprises (CSMEs) amid COVID-19 crisis.

"SME Foundation and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) would update the database with the help of industry ministry," he said while addressing as a guest honor at a virtual discussion titled Covid-19 Economic Crisis and SMEs of Bangladesh, reports BSS.

Resurgent Dialogue, a joint initiative of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE), BUILD and Policy Exchange organized the discussion. BUILD Chairperson Abul Kashem Khan delivered the welcome speech in the discussion while Policy Exchange Chairman Dr Masrur Reaz moderated it.

BUILD CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum presented the keynote address at the event. Speakers at the discussion lauded the stimulus packages announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to protect SME sector amid COVID-19 crisis.

Humayun said monitoring activities have already been launched at the district level to ensure the benefits of the incentives announced by the Prime Minister. "A verification and selection committee led by deputy commissioner has been formed to identify the real victims and this committee has started its work," he added.

He said the biggest challenge in the COVID-19 crisis is to retain existing employment as well as create new employment. The SME sector can play an important role in this regard as it is the lifeblood of the economy, he added. Abul Kasem Khan said that in the private sector SMEs are the worst victims due to COVID-19 pandemic.

He apprehended that unemployment may rise and economic dynamism might be stymied unless SME's current situation improves.He said the government should come up with insights and guidance for small businesses. Ferdaus Ara Begum highlighted the ongoing global economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said that the CMSMEs in the country are facing severe crises such as shutting down of business units, problems in access to finance, cancellation of export orders, the massive downturn in sales, unemployment, etc. She emphasized for SME database to identify real sufferers and requested for clear policies for micro and cottage sector.

Among others, Managing Director of the SME Foundation Shafiqul Islam, Managing Director of the Creation Rashedul Karim Munna, Former Principal Secretary and Managing Director of PKSF Abdul Karim, Chairman of the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) Asif Ibrahim, MCCI President Barrister Nihad Kabir and General Secretary of the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) SM Rashidul Islam took part at the dialogue.

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