In December last year during the peak of recovery from shocks induced by the first wave of Covid-19, the cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) were stuck at around 80% of their pre-Covid production level.
Their situation has worsened amid the second wave, and it is understandable that the sector will continue to suffer as long as the coronavirus is here.
I expected the government would facilitate the CMSMEs' recovery by addressing their problems in a better way in the proposed budget that might include announcement of big incentives considering the extent of their contribution to grass root level employment.
I am hopeful that the next round of stimulus will be on offer for the small businesses and, of course, the disbursement should be easier.
The proposal to raise women-led SMEs' annual turnover ceiling to remain out of tax purview to Tk70 lakh is appreciable. The same should be extended for all cottage, micro and small enterprises without taking into account the gender of the entrepreneurs, as male-led businesses also are going through hard times.
The budget should also address aspects like enabling CMSMEs doing more skilled and low-cost businesses. The sector also needs more subsidised training, cheaper internet and IT-enabled services.