Economic Affairs Adviser to the Honorable Prime Minister Dr Mashiur Rahman on Monday said centralisation approach is a constraint for CMSMEs development in Bangladesh and emphasised the importance of regional connectivity towards an inclusive, efficient and balanced development of the country.
Speaking at a webinar, he mentioned the necessity of linkage for both large enterprises and CMSMEs and put focus on the huge pressure on the only port in Khulna – Mongla port. He said this will ease with the operation of Payra Port.
Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Center of University of Dhaka organised the webinar titled “Closing Ceremony of the Eight Divisional Webinars and CMSMEs in Bangladesh: Journey, Challenges and Future Direction-Khulna Division” as part of its REVIVE Project, a joint collaboration of ICE Center and UNDP Bangladesh.
It was the final of the eight webinars organised as part of discussing the stories, challenges and future direction of CMSMEs in different regions of Bangladesh, according to a press release.
Dr Rahman mentioned the possibilities in fishing and fisheries surplus because of reduced international demand.
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Certification and standardisation difficulties, unethical business practices, reduced viability in import because of rotten fish waste also came up in the discussion. He also pointed out problems such tax assessment related problems, lack of incubation centres in rural areas, limited opportunities, inefficient use of resources, tourism related problems.
Dr Rahman attended the webinar as the chief guest of the session while Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Md Sirazul Islam and Founder Director & Head of News at Channel i Shykh Seraj attended as special guests.
Dr Momtazuddin Ahmed, Honorary Professor of University of Dhaka attended as the keynote speaker for the programme. Other discussants include, Assistant Country Representatives of UNDP in Bangladesh Md Khurshid Alam; President of Khulna Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kazi Aminul Haque; and Chief Executive Officer of Khulna City Corporation (KCC) Palash Kanti Bala.
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The session was presided by Dr Khondokar Bazlul Haque, Vice-Chairman of ICE Center and moderated by Md Rashedur Rahman, Executive Director, ICE Center.
Alternative channels for stimulus distribution
BIDA Executive Chairman Islam emphasised the importance of industry-academia collaboration towards economic independence of Bangladesh and requested Dhaka University to play the leading role.
He also requested to develop database of rural and urban entrepreneurs; urged to ignite the inner potentials of students, and hope that a planned effort after completion of the Padma Bridge will significantly improve the business environment of Bangladesh, according to the press release.
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Shykh Seraj appreciated ICE Center for bringing “EMPATHY” and role of youth into the policy discussions, and shared the hardships of the rural entrepreneurs. While sharing his experience that the stimulus declared by the government didn’t reach the rural entrepreneurs who have suffered most, he urged to explore alternative channels of distributions.
Dr Momtazuddin Ahmed in his keynote speech mentioned that Khulna is going to be one of the major contributors in development after the completion of the Padma bridge. While emphasising the importance of focusing on “Bottom-Up” policy for CMSMEs, he urged to consider having an SME Bank, “SME Act” and its proper implementation.
Khurshid Alam of UNDP appreciated the government for the stimulus package efforts, and focused on the engagement of youth during crisis time, importance empathy, technological supports, mentorship and training of CMSMEs specially in vulnerable areas of the country.
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Palash Kanti Bala, Chief Executive Officer of Khulna City Corporation (KCC), while highlighting the ground breaking achievement from Padma bridge constructions, emphasised that this will connect and create a sustainable business economic environment of the region.
Executive Director of ICE Center Rashedur Rahman shared the virtual project REVIVE’s activities and outcome, and hoped that the outcomes of the project, if implemented, can uplift the CMSMEs in Bangladesh towards an Innovation Driven Entrepreneurial Bangladesh.
Vice-Chairman of ICE Center Dr Khondokar Bazlul Haque summarised the key points raised by the chief guests and other speakers, and concluded the closing ceremony of the Eight Divisional Webinars organised by ICE Center focusing on CMSMEs in Bangladesh.