A group of consultants from World Bank Dkaka office expressed interest to work jointly with the SME Foundation for the development of SME sectors of Bangladesh especially in rural areas. Headed by Imtiaz Uddin Ahmed, senior sustainable development advisor the four member delegation visit SME Foundation office, called on Managing Director A B M Khorshed Alam and had a fruitful discussion among them Today(Tuesday).MrAbdul Motaleb sr. water and sanitation development specialist,Muhammad A.Kashem, Managing Director of “adintemational” and Dr. Tanveer Ashraf, Director of DEVCON were present on the occasion.
Mr Khorshed Alam informed the delegation that the present government is sincere in SME development. The proper nursing and development of SMEs and the SME sectors, upholding rural empowerment would help boosting up income opportunities, strengthen household security, improve living standard and reduce the risk of unemployment issues. Referring to the role of SMEs in poverty eradication and rural development -to ensure speedy implementation of the SME development in Bangladesh, Mr. khorshed Alam explained these issues like Entrepreneurs, Enterprise, Employment and Empowerment.
He said, Water supply and sanitation in Bangladesh is characterized by a number of achievements and challenges that creates problems on the way to the rural development. The share of the population with access to these social services must be improved. The present government of Bangladesh has adopted a number of policies to remedy the challenges in these sectors, including National Policies for Safe Water Supply and Sanitation, a National Water Policy, a National Water Management Plan, and a National Policy for Arsenic Mitigation. On the other hand, surface water is usually polluted and requires treatment- he said.
Another challenge is the level of cost recovery due to low tariff and poor economic efficiency, especially in urban areas where revenues from water sales do not even cover operating costs. Besides, Sanitation faces its own set of challenges, with only a small number of the people have had access to adequate sanitation facilities. A new approach to improve sanitation coverage in rural areas, the Public Health and engineering department of Bangladesh, is credited for having contributed significantly to the increase in sanitation coverage.
The delegation leader also stressed hope to work with SME Foundation for the betterment of the SME Sectors. Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative aims at accelerating access to improved rural water supply and sanitation facilities in Bangladesh in a sustainable way. This has been achieved to a large extent through the construction of hand pumps with the support of external donors like World Bank, ADB and the others. The Initiative seeks to help mobilize as well as facilitate the flow of available and potential resources to accelerate investment in Rural Water Supply and Sanitation throughout the country with a goal to reach the rural people.
They also exchange ideas about issues like capacity building, women entrepreneurship, poverty elevation and job generation, Co-ordination, monitoring system, encouragement and the process of providing necessary technical assistance & guidance for the SME development and its promotion.
SMEF managing director thanked the delegation for their sincere visit and interest for the SMEs as well as for the development of SME sector in the rural areas. The delegation also thanked SME Foundation management for running the organization for the development of the Country.