The Bangladesh Bank has approved around Tk 3,000 crore in loan proposals of 140 entities, which were placed by different banks for approval under the government-announced package meant for the industries and service sectors affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Besides, the process of approval for another Tk 2,000 crore in stimulus loans would be completed in a few days, which would take the total amount of BB-approved stimulus loans to around Tk 5,000 crore.
Immediately after the start of coronavirus pandemic in the country on March 8 this year, the government announced stimulus packages worth Tk 30,000 crore for the affected industries and service sectors.
A senior official of the central bank told New Age on Wednesday that the BB usually checked whether the banks were issuing loans to the sectors for which the package was meant for.
If the loans are issued to the eligible sectors by the banks, the central bank approves those within the quickest possible time, he said.
City Bank, Eastern Bank, EXIM Ban sued shortly, the BB official said.
As per the guidelines, the government would provide half of the 9-per cent applicable interest on the loans that would be granted as working capital.
The loan facility would be issued for one year. However, the tenure can be extended based on the bank-customer relationship. In such case, the borrower would not get interest subsidy for more than one year.
Asked about the progress of loan disbursement, City Bank managing director and chief executive officer Mashrur Arefin told New Age on Wednesday that the bank had applied for issuing Tk 1,023 crore in credit facility to its clients.
‘So far, we have received the BB’s approval for the disbursement of around Tk 300 crore,’ he said, adding that the bank had already started the disbursement process.
Eastern Bank additional managing director Hassan O Rashid told New Age, ‘We are the one of the first banks to apply for the government’s stimulus package to the central bank.’
He also informed that the bank had applied for Tk 981 crore in stimulus loans against 87 customers.
So far the BB has approved stimulus loan proposals worth Tk 427 crore for 34 entities, he said.
Speaking about the condition of EBL’s clients and about existing business situation, Hassan said that almost all the businesses in the country were affected by the halt in business activities amid the coronavirus pandemic.
He hoped that the business situation would improve with the lessening of coronavirus infections.
Although the banks have already started disbursing loans to large industries, the loan approval by the banks for small and medium entrepreneurs from the Tk 20,000-crore stimulus package is still insignificant, BB officials said.
Amid the dismal loan disbursement to the SMEs, the BB on Monday issued a number of instructions in this regard to the banks including setting up help desk at each branch.
Under the stimulus package, the banks would issue credits at the rate of 9 per cent to the SMEs.
Of the interest, the government will pay 5 per cent while the borrower will have to pay the rest 4 per cent.
The government have so far announced different stimulus packages worth around Tk 1.03 lakh crore.
Apart from the two packages meant for the industries and SMEs, the BB has formed a Tk 5,000-crore pre-shipment refinance scheme for the export-oriented industries, a Tk 3,000-crore fund for the low-income people and for the farmers, and another Tk 5,000-crore fund for the farmers.
The central bank also enhanced the size of its export development fund by $1.5 billion to $5 billion to support the exporters.
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