’Women entrepreneurs get less than 4% of MSME loans’

The country’s female entrepreneurs in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are getting less than 4% of the loan disbursed to the sector.

Dr Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, said this at a workshop on Bangladesh’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the capital on Sunday.

SME Foundation and Economic Reporters’ Forum jointly organised the program.

The women entrepreneurs in the MSMEs received 3.62% or Tk58.4 billion from banks as credit while men got 96.38% or Tk1555.6 billion in the fiscal year 2018-19, Nazneen said.

In the FY18, women businessmen received Tk50.4 billion as a loan – 3.30% of the total – while men got Tk1528.7 billion – 96.70%.

However, in the FY17, female entrepreneurs received only 2.75% of the total loan while their male colleagues got 97.25%.

Nazneen said banks still do not prefer female investors, in most cases, in providing loans and always show a negative attitude towards women entrepreneurship.

SME Foundation Managing Director Md Shafiqul Islam said they have been trying to persuade banks to support female entrepreneurs in their business ventures through loans. “But the mindset of bankers has been the biggest barrier.”

“There should be a strategic policy guideline from the government to ensure that female entrepreneurs get the needed financial support from banks. Else, things are unlikely to change soon.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh