Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The overall small and medium enterprise (SME) credit disbursement grew by 8.79 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of the current calendar year following strengthening of monitoring and supervision by the Bangladesh Bank (BB), officials said.

All scheduled banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) disbursed BDT 210.53 billion in the January-March period of the current calendar year, compared to BDT 193.52 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the central bank statistics.

The loans were given to more than 130 SME sub-sectors such as light engineering, handicraft, flower, fish processing, handloom, rice-mill, jamdani, Rajshahi silk, khadi, bio-gas and compost fertiliser.

“The political turmoil has hampered the disbursement of SME loan slightly in the Q1of this calender year,” Masum Patwary, general manager of the SME and Special Programmes Department of the BB, told BBN in Dhaka.

He also said the disbursement of SME loan is expected to rebound in the coming months as political situation improved in the country after holding of the parliamentary elections on January 5 last.

The banks and the NBFIs have achieved nearly 23.78 percent of their annual SME loan disbursement target for 2014, fixed at BDT 885.37 billion, the BB data showed.

The central banker also said the BB is now working to cross the SME loan disbursement target again by the end of this calendar year.

In 2013, the banks and the NBFIs disbursed BDT 853.23 billion to 744,228 SME entrepreneurs across the country, which was 116 percent higher than the target, fixed at BDT 741.87 billion. A total of BDT 697.53 billion SME loan was disbursed in 2012.

BBN/SSR/AD-29Apr14-11:56 pm (BST)