Newly appointed finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said no loan would be allowed to turn sour from now on.
‘Not only that, bankers will also have to recover bad loans, amount of which is a great concern for the nation,’ Kamal told reporters after an impromptu meeting with bank owners at the Planning Commission in the capital, Dhaka.
He, however, said that he was not worried as the amount of non-performing loans in the country’s banking sector was lower than the projection.
Bangladesh Association of Banks chairman Nazrul Islam Mazumder and directors of the association were present at the meeting.
The amount of bad loans in the country’s banking system have increased to around Tk 1,00,000 crore amid a lack of political commitment to recovering defaulted loans.
By the end of September this fiscal year (2018-19), defaulted loans rose to Tk 99,370 crore, 11.48 per cent of Tk 8,65,930 crore total outstanding loans in the country’s banking system, according to the Bangladesh Bank’s latest data.
Kamal informed that bank owners under the banner of BAB would provide lists of defaulted loans and defaulters that would be crosschecked with the data from Bangladesh Bank and financial institutions division.
He also informed that the bank owners agreed to the condition (no new loan would be classified) attached by him prior to the meeting.
Replying to a question how he would reduce the NPLs when most of those were under the possession of wilful defaulters with strong political links, Kamal said it was just a perception.
‘Nobody has the details of NPL loans,’ he said, adding that if somebody had, he would like to crosscheck that.
In reply to another question whether bank owners’ commitment to NPL recovery was a sincere one as they were yet to implement the government decision of bringing down interest rate to single digit, Kamal said the meeting was confined only to the bad loan.
The issue of interest rate would be discussed in another meeting, he said.
He noted that interest rate would reduce once NPL problems were addressed.
Earlier, he said that he would have to work with the 18-per cent people known as influential businesspersons and politicians for the betterment of the country’s poverty situation, employment and investment.
BSS adds: Nazrul said BAB was going to take necessary steps against NPLs with support from the government.
‘Comparing the neighbouring countries, the existing rate of NPLs is not a matter of concern for us. We’ll take all kind of measures for reducing NPLs from today,’ he said.
Nazrul said BAB would place the whole scenario of NPLs before the government within one month so that it could take further steps to cut the existing rate of NPLs.
Available data showed that India managed to keep NPLs within 7 per cent whereas NPLs in Bangladesh were hovering around 13 per cent.
Nepal’s NPL ratio is less than 2 per cent.
Kamal also held a meeting with Association of Bankers, Bangladesh in the evening on Thursday at the same venue.
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