Acting High Commissioner of Malaysia to Bangladesh Amir Farid Abu Hasan has said Bangladesh, as an emerging economy, should emphases more on supporting its entrepreneurs of the small medium enterprises (SMEs) during the coronavirus pandemic.
"SMEs that have the option to allow their employees to work from home should consider this as a “semi-permanent” solution until the virus threat has been minimised," he said.
The Malaysian envoy said this will ease congestion for employees of SMEs who need to be present at the workplace, particularly those in industries requiring access to equipment and materials.
He was addressing a webinar as part of the BMCCI Web Talk Series titled “Following the COVID-19 pandemic: Challenges and opportunities for Entrepreneurship” on Saturday.
Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) hosted it powered by Robi.
It discussed the particulars of pitching into the current and post pandemic situation in both national and overseas entrepreneurship.
Welcoming the participators, BMCCI President Raquib Mohammad Fakhrul said every crisis brings challenges and threats to entrepreneurs and their organisations, no matter if initiated by human behaviour, natural disasters or economic mechanisms.
Acting High Commissioner of Malaysia in Bangladesh said, the COVID-19 pandemic is an unforeseen global phenomenon which has thrown the economy into chaos and effectively put commerce at a standstill.
He said the virus has affected most businesses, including the small medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro SMEs which make up a significant 98.5 percent of Malaysian businesses.
The Malaysian government responded to the coronavirus threat by introducing PRIHATIN or the Prihatin Raykat Stimulus Package, the purpose of which was to ease financial burdens of the people and businesses coping with the pandemic.
The commute to work will pose a challenge as public buses and trains in Malaysia are crowded, especially during rush hour, said the Malaysian envoy.
The BMCCI President said as the COVID-19 continues its disruption, the livelihood of many entrepreneurs and small business owners has been threatened.
According to a recent Goldman Sachs survey, 50 percent of business owners that were surveyed said that they didn’t think they could continue business operations for more than three months.
"Our current situation is deeply unsettling. Entrepreneurs are facing many obstacles, including ensuring the businesses they have put their blood, sweat, and tears into continue to stay afloat," said the BMCCI President.
On top of that, he said, many of them have employees that they are trying to protect and reassure—a monumental task when they themselves are struggling with burnout.
"COVID-19 has significantly affected self- employed entrepreneurial engagement. Many businessmen have been forced to temporarily close their businesses due to restrictions; others had to enforce restrictions and to perform their operations to a lesser degree," said the BMCCI President.
They still had to pursue creative solutions as the impact of the pandemic remained on all aspects of their entrepreneurial venture, he said.
Manwar Hossain, Group Managing Director, Anwar Group of Industries and Chairman, Bangladesh Steel Manufacturer’s Association (BSMA) said as the evolution and implications of the COVID-19 crisis are still unfolding, they posit that exploring the experiences and strategic responses of Asian countries may shed light on ways to combat COVID-19 for the rest of the world.
He first articulated the importance of resilience, strategic agility, and entrepreneurship in the context of the fight against COVID-19.
With the focus on China, South Korea, and Singapore, Hossain discussed the impact COVID-19 is having on economies and businesses, governmental support for businesses and societies, and implications for global supply chain disruptions.
He hoped that the global health system would recover quickly, and the world economy should be revitalised with the contributions and collaboration of science (including social science), industry, and governments.
Hossain highlighted the opportunities more rather than focusing on the hindrances in the way of prioritising online quality education, different language course, Lean management, foreign connections for developing different industries.
Former BMCCI President Syed Moazzam Hossain, Anwar Shahid, Vice-President, Mahbubul Alam, Secretary General, Motaher Hossain Khan and Mahbubul Alam Shah, Directors, BMCCI participated in the interactive session and raised so many relevant questions on burning issues.
BMCCI President conducted the interactive session and facilitated the webinar.
BMCCI members, presidents of leading Chambers and Associations, bankers, Government officials, business leaders, media personalities, and journalists actively took part in the programme.