SMEs in Bangladesh account for nearly 20.25% of the GDP rivaling RMG numbers. On 27th June, 2021 it was reported at a global webinar ‘Future Ready SMEs and SMPs’ that SME’s face hardship during the pandemic due to difficulties with adopting to digital operations, lack of technological skills, poor cashflow and over all liquidity crisis. This had compounded to existing barriers SME’s face in terms of lack of fiscal incentives and poor manpower, unpredictable policies and most importantly poor access to finance.

As a result, on Sunday 4th July, 2021 Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued a circular to facilitate loan services for the Cottage, Micro, and Small and Medium Enterprises (CSMEs) that were affected by COVID-19. The services will provide investment facility by term loans to CSMEs along side existing working capital loans with one-year interest or profit subsidy for cottage, micro and small enterprise, and working capital loan or investment facility for medium enterprise via incentive package. BB has set interest for these services at 8% where Bangladesh Government through Accounts & Budgeting Department will subsidize 4% interest while the enterprise bear only 4% interest.

It has been recorded few days ago that nearly 33% of this stimulus package went to women entrepreneurs. Of the BDT 200 billion set for the stimulus package, BDT 1 billion has been dispersed in less than 2 months while BB pushing for additional BDT 2 billion disbursement by FY 2021-22. Notable thanks to BRAC Bank and IDLC for facilitating these finances quickly and offering lifeline to CSMEs across Bangladesh as recognized by Md. Mofizur Rahman, Managing Director of SME Foundation.