Citi honours micro-entrepreneurs

Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, centre seated, agriculture minister; Rokia A Rahman, second from left, chairperson of the Arlinks Group of Companies, and N Rajashekaran, second from right, managing director at Citi Bangladesh, pose with the winners of the 14th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards at the InterContinental Dhaka yesterday. Photo: Star

When Imdadul Haque was in a fix after incurring a huge loss in his fishing farm in 2015 for a heavy flood, he opted to change his business immediately.

But his love for fish farming held him back. He got to know about recirculating aquaculture system, which does away with flood risks through the use of tanks and circulation of a fixed amount of water through biofiltration.

Haque set up a system in his Katakhali house in Rajshahi investing Tk 3,700 and started rearing colourful freshwater fish meant for aquariums.

A huge profit followed suit within a few months, prompting him to invest around Tk 6.5 lakh more with the help of ASA Bangladesh, a microcredit lender.

This investment turned out to be a game changer as he is now making around Tk 1 lakh every month. “Such a huge profit comes from the business as there is huge demand for the colourful fish,” he said.

Haque has included tilapia and two types of catfish in his farm and is thinking of going for export.

He is one of 12 micro-entrepreneurs who were recognised for their contribution to the economy and employment creation at the 14th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) jointly organised by Shakti Foundation and Citi Foundation in the capital’s InterContinental Dhaka yesterday.

Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said microfinance institutions were helping countries by creating entrepreneurs among youths as well as giving them financial assistance.

A large number of youths are looking up to the government for jobs but question remains on how such employment will be created, he said.

Youths should come forward with innovative ideas to become entrepreneurs and help the country creates jobs, he added.

Abdul Awal, executive director of the Credit & Development Forum, said the banking sector has been suffering from a liquidity crunch which has impacted microfinance institutions. 

The institutions are unable to provide loans as per demand, he said, adding that such a situation would affect the government’s poverty reduction plan.

Rokia Afzal Rahman, acting chairperson of the 14th CMA advisory committee and chairperson of Arlinks Ltd, said the country’s micro entrepreneurs need skills alongside policy support from the government.  “So, bring technology from abroad for them so that they can go up to the next level,” she said.

The event awarded three micro-entrepreneurs each in four categories and three microfinance institutions, presenting Tk 1 lakh to Tk 4.5 lakh to each.

The three institutions are National Development Program, Gram Bikash Kendra and the Coastal Association for Social Transformation Trust.

Humaira Islam, executive director of Shakti Foundation, and N Rajashekaran, managing director and country officer of Citi Bangladesh, also spoke at the event. Channel i and The Daily Star were the event’s media partners.




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