The Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation (SMEF) signed deals with 19 financial institutions on Thursday to disburse Tk 2.0 billion credit among entrepreneurs under the government's stimulus package.
As per the agreements, an entrepreneur may get credit between Tk 0.1-Tk 5.0 million at 4.0 per cent interest rate from different banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs).
SMEF Managing Director Mafizur Rahman and respective officials of the 19 banks and NBFIs signed the documents at a ceremony, held at the SMEF headquarters in the city's Agargaon area on Thursday noon.
Planning Minister M A Mannan attended the programme as the chief guest, while SMEF Chairperson Masudur Rahman presided over the occasion.
State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, and Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana attended the ceremony as special guests.
Managing Director and CEO of Eastern Bank Ali Reza Iftekhar, and President and Managing Director of Bank Asia Md. Arfan Ali spoke on the occasion, among others.
The planning minister, in his speech, said optimum use of fund under the stimulus package would help the SMEs strengthen their foothold, offsetting the loss due to Covid-19 pandemic.
"The SMEF proved its efficacy, as it successfully disbursed Tk 1.0 billion in the previous fiscal year."
He, however, opined that there is a need for enhancing its capacity and establishing regional offices.
In his speech, Kamal Ahmed Majumder emphasised selection of bonafide beneficiaries, who would make the best use of the disbursed fund and return money in time.
Terming the SME sector the country's key driving force, the SMEF chairperson said development of the sector is a must for achieving the country's economic goal to become a developed nation by 2041.
He also highlighted enhancing the SMEF's capacity, specially its financial strength. Mafizur Rahman said the SMEF eyes to accomplish the fund disbursement by this December.
He hailed the support of partner banks and NBFIs, as the foundation successfully disbursed Tk 1.0 billion under the stimulus package earlier. He also urged the financial institutions to select the genuine entrepreneurs.
The partner banks and NBFIs are - BRAC Bank, Bank Asia, BASIC Bank, The City Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, Dhaka Bank, NRB Commercial Bank, Premier Bank, Social Islami Bank, One Bank, Prime Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank, United Commercial Bank, Eastern Bank, Southeast Bank, and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, IPDC Finance, IDLC Finance, and LankaBangla Finance.