Japan plans $700m support for SMEs: JICA chief

http://www.bssnews.net/newsDetails.php?cat=0&id=205027&date=2011-10-09

Japan plans $700m support for SMEs: JICA chief

DHAKA, Oct 9 (BSS) – Japan plans to provide Bangladesh with 700 million US dollar to flourish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for human resources development, Toda Takao, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said here today.

“We are very much keen to provide US$700m to Bangladesh for the growth of SMEs relating to Japanese companies which are operating here . . . the funds will be disbursed through Bangladesh Bank via commercial banks,” Takao said.

The JICA chief was talking to BSS prior to visiting Kojima Lyric Garments Industries Ltd, a Japan-Bangladesh joint venture, in Gazipur.

Among others, managing director of Kojima Lyric Industries Ltd Imrul Anwar Liton, director Sharfraz Mehedi Anwar, managing director of NewVision Solutions Ltd, a solutions for business, Tareq Rafi Bhuiyan and representative (volunteer) of JICA Hiroshi Asi were present.

Director of Kojima Lyric Garments briefed the JICA chief on its activities.

The JICA team made the visit to the local apparel unit as leaders of Asian Apparel Production Network (AAPN), a Japan-based business association of major apparel companies, visited Dhaka October 3-5.

Chairman of AAPN Masanori Kojima led the team that consists of 15 Japanese companies, most of them own garments factories in China, Vietnam and Myanmar.

The high-profile AAPN delegation has already expressed keen interest to invest about Taka 400 crore to set up manufacturing units in garment industry in Bangladesh, the second largest destination for garment outsourcing in the world.

Toda said JICA is now designing criteria of the project for SMEs and also carrying out research how the country’s booming ready-made garment (RMG) could be developed.

“HR development and management capacity of enterprises are among the strongest points for bilateral Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) cooperation. I am looking for some constructive opportunities to have a closer relationship for quality-oriented economy of Bangladesh,” he said.

The JICA chief suggested that Bangladesh go for high-end garments products rather than cheap labour oriented ventures to make its economy more competitive.

Referring to the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Dhaka-Tokyo diplomatic relations in next February, he said the event would bring an opportunity to further cement the bilateral relationship.

“We are willing to increase our aid to Bangladesh in the coming years and planning more attractive programmes in the form of public Private Partnership (PPP),” he added.

Asked whether Japan has any plan to set up industrial unit in Export processing Zone (EPZ) like Korea, he said Japan had a plan to do so 10 years before but the effort went in vain. “It needs new way of thinking to this end,” he added.

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