Small entrepreneurs, particularly the young and women, deserve greater attention of the policymakers and regulators to help them grow and receive adequate financing, said a former central bank governor.
“Despite many successes, SME financing still remains inadequate,” said the governor, Atiur Rahman.
Assistance to small and medium enterprises should include budgetary support for a robust credit guarantee scheme and priority lending arrangement for improving supply chains for the SMEs, he said at a seminar on “Designing a framework for access to finance for SMEs” at the UNESCAP in Bangkok on Friday.
Mohammad Abu Eusuf, chairman of the Department of Development Studies at Dhaka University, took part in the discussion.
The event was also attended by experts from central banks, commercial banks, universities and ministries of finance from Asia and the Pacific region as well as the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the Credit Guarantee Schemes, and the UN Capital Development Fund.
Rahman said the government and the BB have worked hard in recent years in creating an enabling ecosystem for greater access to finance for micro, small and medium enterprises.
“Innovative developmental role of the central bank helped push financing SMEs by about three folds over the eight years,” he said in a statement.
Rahman said the motivational campaign of the central bank, coupled regulatory incentives for commercial banks which went for SME financing in terms of better supervision rating, faster approval of branches and refinancing facilities, helped create this positive ecosystem.
The collaborative arrangement of banks and microfinance institutions in providing agricultural and SME loans also expedited the process, he said.
The former governor called for encouraging business associations, chambers, credit bureaus and small capital market exchanges for facilitating greater flow of fund to the SMEs.
He said the linkage model developed between micro-finance institutions and commercial banks in financing agriculture and SMEs should be further developed and encouraged.
Rahman underscored the use of technology to facilitate greater financing for the SMEs.