The Financial Express

Export sectors to get virus money early next month

Finance ministry issues notice today

FE REPORT | Published: March 31, 2020 09:22:44 | Updated: March 31, 2020 10:48:50

Picture used for representation. Courtesy: ADB Picture used for representation. Courtesy: ADB

The Ministry of Finance issues a notification today (Tuesday), detailing the modalities of Tk 50-billion stimulus package for the export-oriented industries designed to pay salaries of employees.

The money, in the form of concessional loans, is likely to be available for disbursement in the first week of April, officials said.

"We will issue a notification in this regard on Tuesday," finance division additional secretary Habibur Rahman told the FE.

In a televised speech on March 25, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced the bailout package to support export-oriented manufacturing industries, affected by Covid-19 pandemic.

The factory owners will get the loan at 2.0 per cent interest. The Bangladesh Bank, or BB, will administer the fund, but will be disbursed by both public and private sector banks.

Top manufacturing sectors, like clothing, leather, jute, and pharmaceuticals, will get priority in getting the fund.

A senior finance ministry official said the preparations for the modalities of disbursing the fund are almost complete.

"The Bangladesh Bank will prepare additional operational modalities, if required."

He said the money will directly be sent to the bank accounts of employees of manufacturing units instead of giving to the factory owners.

To get the loans, the factory owners will have to apply to the designated banks and sign a deal, he added.

Asked about the interest rate on the loans, the official said the banks will charge it in a way so that the lenders can recover their operational costs.

Vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry Siddiqur Rahman, however, insisted that the loan should be interest-free.

"The banks will only transfer the fund from one account to another. There are no costs linked with the money transfer," he said.

Mr Rahman said in this critical situation, the banks should not charge anything extra.

"Through setting up a bank by investing a nominal amount, they made fortune depending on our business."

"If needed, we will go to the government high-ups to change the loan conditions," he added.


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