Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The central bank of Bangladesh will ask the commercial banks and financial institutions  to facilitate the economic growth by strengthening loan facilities to small and medium enterprise (SME) sector across the country.

The banks and financial institutions will be advised to invest their funds on cluster basis considering area approach method, officials said.

Bangladesh Bank (BB) will give the instructions at a series of review meetings with the banks and financial institutions separately beginning on Monday.

The central bank has taken the latest move aiming to ensure participation of all 47 scheduled banks and 29 non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) on financing in SME sector.

The meetings will dwelt on their weakness in disbursement of SME loans, a BB official said, adding they would be asked to submit their SME loan disbursement target for the next year mentioning area approach method within a specific timeframe.

On March 25 this year, the central bank released, for the first time, a SME credit policy and programs with a disbursement target of around BDT 240 billion for the ongoing calendar year.

The loans are given to more than 60 SME sectors such as light engineering, handicraft, flower, fish processing, handloom, rice-mill, jamdani, Rajshahi silk, khadi, bio-gas and compost fertiliser.

The new policy has focused on encouraging more women entrepreneurs in business and investment across the country.

BBN/SI/AD-27Sept10-11:21 am (BST)