Bangladesh commerce minister Tofail Ahmed on Saturday criticised banks for their reluctance to cut interest rate even after getting several benefits from the government in recent months.
‘We need to be careful about the banking sector and we are concerned about the interest rate,’ the commerce minister said while addressing a seminar on the contribution of housing sector to national economy held at Dhaka Club.
The government recently extended various benefits to the country’s private banks such as instructing state agencies to deposit 50 per cent of their funds, instead of the existing 25 per cent, with private banks, Tofail said.
He said that the government provided all the benefits with a condition that they would reduce their interest rates to single digit but they were yet to do it.
Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh and Centre for Communication Network jointly organised the seminar.
The minister also said that banks should provide support to the housing sector as the sector was one of the risk-free industries.
Tofail said that the flat registration cost should not be 14/15 per cent and he would discuss the issue with government high-ups. Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, demanded that the land and flat registration process be made easy.
Demanding a refinancing fund for the housing sector, he also demanded scope of investment of undisclosed money in the country.
REHAB president Alamgir Shamsul Alamin alleged that none of the banks in the country finance the housing sector as Bangladesh Bank asked them not to make any investment in the sector.
‘Prime minister has pledged housing for all but there is no allocation in the budged for the sector. The government allocated Tk 3,733 crore in the FY 18 for housing sector but it was only for the housing of government service holders, not general people,’ he said.
Alamgir demanded Tk 50,000 crore refinancing fund with single digit interest rate for the buyers of flats.
Jatiya Party presidium member Kazi Firoz Rashid said that the government had no initiative for the betterment of the housing sector rather it created barriers.
‘Nothing happens in the country without intervention of the prime minister. Now my question is that what is the activity of others ministries and ministers,’ he said.
Firoz termed Rajdhani Unnayan Kartipakkha a ‘corruption hub’.
Dhaka University development studies professor Rashed Al Mahmud Titumir, Awami League lawmaker Nurjahan Begum Mukta and former minister Sheikh ShahidulIslam, among others, spoke at the programme.
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