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National seminar on “A Pathway towards Women Entrepreneurs’ Development in Bangladesh National Budget 2012-13

Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) organized a national seminar on “A Pathway towards Women Entrepreneurs’ Development in Bangladesh: National Budget 2012-13 today at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka in cooperation with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).  The Seminar was held with the presence of Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Finance as the chief guest while Ms. Selima Ahmad, Founder President of Bangladesh Women chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) chaired over the program. BWCCI President Ms. Sangita Ahmed and board directors were also in the program along with various stakeholders including members of Parliament, representatives from donor organizations, media, NGO’s, women activists and women entrepreneurs.

In her speech BWCCI President Ms. Selima Ahmad said that for the last couple of years, for the last couple of years women entrepreneurs have been making significant contribution in the national economy but there is no specific business policy for women entrepreneurs which hinder women entrepreneurs’ progress. She thanked honorable Finance minister for allocating 100 crore taka in this year’s national budget.

BWCCI’s founder president Ms. Selima Ahmad said that, the allocation of 100 crore taka made for women entrepreneurs in the national budget 2012-13 has broke a new ground for women entrepreneurs’ development and it will be an example for others to emulate in future. She added that JAICA, ADB and Bangladesh Bank has given a fund of total 1700 crore taka that is being used as loan under refinancing scheme and out of that 1700 crore taka, 255 crore taka is given for only women entrepreneurs. She firmly demanded that the 100 crore taka allocated in the national budget 2012-12 should be used only for capacity building of women entrepreneurs but not for any credit. She then presented a sector wise proposal which could be followed in terms of using the allotted 100 crore taka which is: expansion of existing markets in 6 divisional cities and the expanded area should provide space for women entrepreneurs only-20 Crore Taka nationwide Comprehensive Survey for women entrepreneurs-5 Crore Taka, establishment of Women Entrepreneurs resource/information centers in 6 divisional cities-15 Crore Taka, establishment and operation of Training Institute for women entrepreneurs’ development-15 Crore Taka, inclusion of more educated rural women into ICT based business -10 Crore Taka, capacity building and community mobilization of women entrepreneurs and their institutions- 20 Crore Taka, implementing a Gender Sensitization Training Program for officials of bank and non banking financial institutions - 5 Crore Taka, promotional activities on services available for women entrepreneurs- 5 Crore Taka, contingency fund for women entrepreneurs-5 Crore Taka. She also proposed that this fund should be managed through one Advisory Board and a Divisional Women Enterprise Fund Committee (DWEFC).

Appreciating BWCCI’s sector wise proposal honorable finance minister Mr. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith stated that present Govt. has always been very positive is taking progressive steps for development of the country. He ensured that allocated 100 crore taka for women entrepreneurs will not be lapsed. He also mentioned that this allotted money will be used through different ministries but Ministry of Women and Childrens’ affairs will be especially responsible for this. He said that BWCCI’s proposal emphasizes on capacity building of women entrepreneurs which is an apt demand. He also stated that Govt. will think about special allocation in existing markets for women entrepreneurs.

An open discussion was also held where both participating guests and women entrepreneurs expressed their strong conformity in line with BWCCI’s proposal.

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