The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry on Monday urged the government to form a high-powered task force to solve the menacing problem of non-performing loans in the banking sector.
It also called upon the government to form the planned bank commission urgently.
The FBCCI made the requests at a press conference held at its office premises in Dhaka.
Increased non-performing loans in the banking sector have been a burden to the financial sector for long that has become an impediment to investment as NPL reduces fund and raises interest rate, said FBCCI president Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin.
‘We demand forming a high-skilled taskforce to address the problem of non-performing loans,’ he said.
He said that the taskforce would find out the root causes of the NPL problem and would made suggestions for resolving the issue.
The amount of NPLs now stands at Tk 88,589 crore and the government should raise efforts to cut the amount for making the bank sector capable and business friendly, he said.
Shafiul said the government should take strong and structural measures against the large amount of NPLs.
He said, ‘The government has taken an initiative to form an independent bank commission, but the commission should be formed urgently to address the issues that have been crippling the country’s financial sector.’
He also urged all banks to implement their single-digit rate decision immediately as only Islami Bank Bangladesh so far has started providing loans at single digit interest rate from July 2.
‘It is essential to keep banks’ interest rate at single digit for creating business- and investment-friendly environment and new entrepreneurs, and making import-export activities dynamic in the country considering the world business,’ said the FBCCI president.
The Association of Banks, Bangladesh, a platform of the banks’ owners, on June 20 made the rate cut decision.
Shafiul also said that if the banks would not cut rate to single digit, the FBCCI would create pressure on the banks through government high-ups.
He urged the finance ministry and Bangladesh Bank to monitor the issue of sustainable interest rate in the banking sector.
He also expected that the cut in interest rate would encourage investors and increase confidence in the business sector.
The FBCCI president also demanded ensuring hassle-free disbursement of loans at single digit interest rate to the small and medium entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs.
The cut in the banks’ interest rate would not only reduce cost of doing business but also assist the country’s businesses compete with that in the neighbouring countries, he said.
Shafiul said, ‘The World Bank has idle fund of trillion of dollars and it is looking for places to invest the fund.
Bangladesh should take fund from the WB after bargaining with the multilateral lender for lower rate and easy conditions to invest in the country’s infrastructure sector.’
The private sector could also play a positive role in the country’s economy by using the fund getting through the central bank, he said.
To achieve the sustainable development goals, there is no option but to continue expansion of job sector and investment by keeping the banks’ interest rate at single digit, he said.
Shafiul said the private sector would progress if the government could support the businesses in cutting business cost and time, ensuring ease of doing business and making business-friendly environment.
FBCCI vice-president Muntakim Ashraf was present, among others, at the briefing.
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