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Sharing Meeting with SME Heads of Banks and PFIs held

Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) organized a sharing meeting entitled ‘Women’s Entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh’ in cooperation with Asian Development Bank (ADB) on 19 Sep, 2012 at Hotel Purbani There were  Mr. Sukamal Sinha Choudhury, General Manager, SME & Special Programmes Department, Bangladesh Bank as the Key Discussant. Mr. M.M. Zillur Rahman, Senior Financial Sector Officer and Focal Point for Private Sector Development and Ms. Ferdousi Sultana Begum, Senior Social Development Officer (Gender), from Asian Development Bank (ADB) were presented at the meeting. Ms. Sangita Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Women chamber of Commerce and Industry (BWCCI) chaired the program. Ms. Selima Ahmad Founder President of BWCCI, facilitated the meeting and presented the Key note paper. Members of BWCCI Board were also present in the meeting.

Ms. Sangita Ahmad thanked all for coming and making a valuable effort for women entrepreneurship development in Bangladesh. She said that BWCCI is strongly providing support to women entrepreneurs to help them grow in business.

Mr. Zillur Rahman Spoke on ADB charter and their development initiatives. He stressed for cooperation of the bankers for more access to finance under SMEDP project which is implemented by BB.  Ms. Ferdousi Sultana spoke on greater women participation and cooperation of BWCCI, bankers and Bangladesh Bank.

In her key note paper Ms. Selima Ahmad, highlighted on the barriers of women entrepreneurs development in Bangladesh. She emphasized on access to finance of women entrepreneurs. She told that Bangladesh Bank’s has taken different steps and policies for the development of women entrepreneurs. But still there have lots of barriers for women entrepreneurs especially in the SME sector. She recommended all bankers to take initiatives as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to develop women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh. She proposed all to make a consortium to carry out some Prompt action like road show, counseling and advocacy work for the development of women entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.

General Manager of SME and Special Programmes Department, Bangladesh Bank Mr. Sukamal Sinha Choudhury while delivering his speech mentioned that after establishment of the SMESPD approximately 140 thousand crores taka has been disbursed to SME sector during 2010-June 2012. He also mentioned that only 6000 crores taka has been disbursed to women entrepreneurs which is only 4 % of the total SME credit disbursement which should be increased. While mentioning about refinancing scheme of Bangladesh Bank he told that from all the refinance scheme of Bangladesh Bank 3000 enterprises has been disbursed about 2500 crores taka as refinances to the SME sector of which ADB portion to women is not so much significant. From the ADB fund 6500 enterprises has been disbursed 352 crores of taka as refinance of which only 60 women enterprises got 6.51 crores taka refinance from Bangladesh Bank. He requested the bankers to inform why they are not going to take more refinances from ADB fund for women led enterprises.
The issue of interest rate to women entrepreneurs lending also came into discussion and it was informed that now there is no bar in lending to Women entrepreneurs at 10% as being followed in BB fund.

In open discussion, Some SME heads shared that mainly 100% refinance can induce them to apply for refinance for women led enterprises under ADB fund. Some SME heads also mentioned that latest loan classification circular of BB has created problems for many banks who have large SME portfolio.

Some women entrepreneurs also raised their specific problems in getting finances form the banks. They emphasized on the positive mentality and attitude of all the bankers.

The meeting was successful in bringing relevant stakeholders (ADB, BB, bankers and Women Entrepreneurs) together and discusses important issues and problems hampering development of Women Entrepreneurship in Bangladesh.

Lastly, Ms. Selima Ahmad and Mr. Sukamal Sinha Choudhury call together everyone work for  the proper implementation of Bangladesh Bank’s and ADB’s  refinancing scheme and the recommendations taken in today’s meeting for the development of women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.

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