UKaid gives £22.5mn credit for poor rural entrepreneurs
UKaid yesterday launched a £22.5 million “Business Finance for Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B)” project to help banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) easily reach micro and small enterprises in rural areas.
The credit fund is equivalent to about Tk 266.77 crore which will be allocated to banks and NBFIs as grants to promote new business by lending money to poor rural entrepreneurs.
Launching the project at a function in the capital's Westin hotel, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said the project will play a pivotal role in nourishing the micro and small enterprises to raise their productivity and enabling them to contribute to the economy.
The central bank boss hoped that the project will also be helpful for making a policy and regulatory environment towards development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
The function was also addressed, among others, by Banking Division Secretary Dr M Aslam Alam, Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury, DFID Bangladesh Country Representative Sarah Cooke, and Nathan Associates Team Leader David Munro.
Appreciating the British government's initiative, Dr Atiur said Bangladesh has already secured the second position among South Asian countries in the global financial inclusion index of the World Bank.
The Bangladesh Bank governor thanked the participating institutions for their driving thrust for mainstreaming the poor and the women in the financial inclusion initiatives.
Referring to his achievement of “Central Banker of the Year, Asia Pacific-2015” award, given by the Financial Times-owned magazine “The Banker”, Dr Atiur said the award is the recognition of the collective efforts to promote financial inclusion and socially responsible financing for sustainable growth.
Till November 2014, a total 14.72 million of 10 taka accounts have been opened while farmers' 10 taka accounts stands at 9.72 million. As of December 2014, around 8.5 lakh school banking accounts have been opened with an outstanding savings of Tk 717.49 crore, he added.
The Bangladesh Bank governor said it is inspiring that 834 street children have already opened bank accounts by September 2014 and their outstanding balance is Tk 7.4 lakh.
About mobile financial services, he said the BB has permitted 28 banks by December 2014 and already 25.18 million mobile banking accounts have been opened, creating employment of about 5,41,000 agents across the country.
Dr Atiur said Bangladesh's financial institutions are continuously surpassing its self-determined annual target for MSME lending since its inception in 2010.
During the last five years, all banks and NBFIs had financed Tk 3,344 billion in 2.2 million MSMEs. Of them Tk 121 billion was given to 109,933 female-led SMEs. More than 300,000 new entrepreneurs were financed over the last five years.
Dr Atiur said the MSME sector has successfully created employment for more than 1.5 million people in the last five years.