1.1 Origin of the Report:
In recent days the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Financing has become an important area for Commercial Banks in Bangladesh. To align its corporate policy with the regulation of Central Bank, banks have become more concerned about SME and opened windows to conduct business in this particular area. This study has been conducted to fulfill the requirements of sixth term MBM program and gain an insight about the present condition of small and medium enterprise in the economy of Bangladesh and their financing scenario in light of Bangladesh Bank regulation.
1.2 Background of the Study:
After Liberation of Bangladesh, intensive efforts were undertaken to accelerate the rate of industrialization in the country. At the beginning, import substitution and subsequently export-led economic growth strategy was pursued for industrialization. In order to attain this objective, large amount of industrial credit was funneled to the industrial sector. But the whole exercise of industrialization came to a halt with the massive diversion of resources to other non priority sectors. Policy makers, of late, have come to recognize the contribution of SME sector towards economic development in the country. Small and medium enterprises have been recognized as one of the most important means for providing better economic opportunities for the people of least developing countries like Bangladesh. A developing economy like that of ours suffers from many peculiar problems such as disproportionate pressure of population on agriculture due to lack of rural industrialization, unemployment and underemployment of human and materials resources, unbalanced regional development etc. The contribution of small and medium enterprises in the solution of these problems is beyond doubt, provided they are organized and run on scientific basis. Small and medium enterprises are particularly suitable for densely populated countries like Bangladesh where SME sector can provide employment with much lower investment per job provided. Out of 11% employment of the civilian labor force provided by the manufacturing sector, about two thirds are estimated to be provided by the small and cottage industries sector. Again, development of small industries facilitates the effective mobilization of capital and labor resources. They also help in raising standards of living of people in rural areas. Contribution of SME sector to GDP remained above 4% during the period from 1985-86 to 1999-00. Moreover, the present contribution of SME sector to GDP is approximately 5% and SME sector employs 25% of the total labor forces, thus this sector is the present available sector for creation of jobs (Saha, Sujit R. 2007). Research papers developed by Bakht, Zaid (1998) and Ahmad, Salahuddin et al. (1998) described that the policy environment within which SMEs in Bangladesh operate accompanies legal, regulatory and administrative constraints to employment creation by SMEs. The robustness of SME contributions to employment generation is a common phenomenon in most developing countries in that the magnitude varies between 70% to 95% in Africa and 40% to 70% in the countries of the Asia-Pacific region (Ahmed, M.U. 1999). Liberalization of industrial and trade regimes along with globalization are likely to have had significant effects on Bangladesh’s SMEs (Ahmed, 2002; Bhattacharya et. al., 2000). Various recent studies (Ahmed, M.U. 2001, ADB 2001, USAID 2001) show that SMEs have undergone significant structural changes in terms of product composition, degree of capitalization and market penetration in order to adjust to changes in technology, market demand and market access brought by globalization and market liberalization. The official data show that the share of private investment in Bangladesh’s GDP in the late 1990s, which may be considered as the post-reform era, has remained more of less constant at around 15%...