Published in The Daily Star on Friday, 20 May 2016
Young entrepreneurs demand low-cost loans
Star Business Report
Young entrepreneurs yesterday demanded collateral-free loans at a single-digit interest rate so that they can run their businesses smoothly.
“If women entrepreneurs can get collateral-free loans at simple interest rates — why not us? We are the next generation,” said Shakhawat Hossain Mamun, president of Junior Chamber International (JCI), Bangladesh.
“The government should patronise the young entrepreneurs by identifying them at the district and upzila levels,” he said, addressing a seminar on ‘budget perspectives of young entrepreneurs’.
The standing committee on youth entrepreneurship development of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry organised the seminar, which was moderated by Amzad Hossain, chairman of the standing committee. Mamun also urged the government to engage the young entrepreneurs while preparing the budget proposals. “The youth account for one fourth of the population, but the government never discusses the issues with us prior to budget preparation.”
FBCCI Director Harun-Ur-Rashid also proposed the government arrange loans for young entrepreneurs at an interest rate of 7 percent and provide a 10-year tax holiday.
Discussants said if they get the benefits, they would contribute to the country’s economic development through industrialisation.
In response to the demands, Shahriar Alam, state minister for foreign affairs, asked JCI and FBCCI to come up with a set of recommendations so that he can request the relevant ministries to consider those.
Bangladesh is one the few countries in the world that maintained more than 6 percent economic growth over the last seven years despite many challenges including political instability and natural calamities, said the state minister.
Presenting a keynote paper at the seminar, Towfiqul Islam Khan, research fellow of Centre for Policy Dialogue, said there is a need for more proactive involvement of the youth in national policymaking.
“It’s important to establish a platform where the views of the future generation on issues of national importance are voiced and heard.”
Referring to CPD’s discussion with young professionals recently, he said participants felt that sectors like ICT, fashion and design in production processes, and e-commerce based activities where young people have an interest and advantage, should receive incentives and budgetary support.
Published in New Age on Friday, 20 May 2016
Young entrepreneurs demand better policy support, budgetary incentives
Country’s young entrepreneurs on Thursday demanded better policy support from the government including financing facility without mortgage and budgetary incentives in the coming budget for 2016-17 fiscal year.
They made the demands at a seminar titled ‘Budget Thoughts of Young Entrepreneurs’ organised jointly by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Junior Chambers International Bangladesh at the Federation Building in the capital.
Centre for Policy Dialogue research fellow Toufiqul Islam Khan presented the keynote paper at the seminar.
Toufiq said that the young entrepreneurs, aged 18-40, want higher budgetary allocation for education and skill development, according to a survey conducted by CPD.
He said the young entrepreneurs want a balance in budgetary measures to treat the facilities of domestic business and export-oriented industries equally.
‘They also feel that policy debates in Bangladesh are over-politicised and that is why often meaningful inputs on key developments are not acted upon,’ he said while presenting the keynote paper.
JCI president Shakawat Hossain Mamun said that the young entrepreneurs should get better financing facilities as a starter of government policy support.
‘Financing is one core issue for any young entrepreneur. We should be given loan on single digit interest so that our initial hurdle becomes lesser,’ he said.
He said that the young entrepreneurs soften face opposition from already established business people.
‘As the young entrepreneurs lack financing power, so they often see that their ideas are copied by established business people who have the ability. Young people have innovative and out-of-the box ideas but because there is no intellectual property right law, they fear to express their ideas,’ he said.
He said that to address such problems the government needs to formulate specialised rules and guidelines to promote young entrepreneur.
JCI members also said that the government needs to reduce the hassle for the young entrepreneurs while opening a new company with the Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms.
They said the government should reduce huge paperwork for the young entrepreneurs while forming a company.
FBCCI former first vice-president Jasim Uddin said that the government should focus more on young entrepreneurs.
‘These people will lead the country in the coming days and we have to treat them well. The innovative ideas of the youth and their spirit conquer all odds,’ he said while speaking as special guest.
State minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam said that the government was very keen to develop the country’s youth.
‘The government tried to help the young entrepreneurs always and will continue to help them in future. I admit that we also have many shortcomings like any other countries in the world, but to overcome those we need to work together,’ he said.
Senior FBCCI officials, among others, attended the seminar.
Published in Dhaka Tribune on Friday, 20 May 2016
Budget allocation for young entrepreneurs sought
Jebun Nesa Alo
A separate budget allocation for youngsters aged between 18 and 40 has been sought.
Junior Chamber International yesterday sought the allocation at a seminar titled – Budget Thinking of Young Entrepreneurs.
FBCCI Standing Committee on Youth Entrepreneurship Development hosted the seminar in the capital.
‘’Youngsters want to be entrepreneurs, but they face different obstacles,’’ said Shakawat Hossain Mamun, president of the chamber.
Getting finance from banks is the major obstacle, he said, adding that the government should allocate budget for the young entrepreneurs.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam predicted that an expected economic development will not be possible by 2021 if the current business situation does not improve.
“Lack of infrastructure, power shortage and gas licencing procedure make us confused about achieving the target.”
The junior minister termed project implementation a big challenge. In their addresses, business leaders said they are interested to pay tax, but don’t want to be harassed.
They alleged that businessmen are being harassed in different manners in the name of vat collection.
The young generation expects budgetary support for e-commerce and ICT sector, said Towfiqul Islam Khan, research fellow of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) while delivering his keynote address at the seminar.
He said young entrepreneurs are very much interested about technology and so the government should offer incentives and financial assistance for the development of the sector.