Farm loan release rises by 14pc in Jul-Aug

AKM Zamir Uddin | Published at 11:05pm on September 30, 2016

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A file photo shows a woman harvesting pumpkins at a village on the outskirts of Dhaka. Farm loan disbursement posted a 13.99-per cent growth in the first two months of the current fiscal year of 2016-17 compared with that in the same period of the FY 2015-16. — New Age photo

Farm loan disbursement posted a 13.99-per cent growth in the first two months of the current fiscal year of 2016-17 compared with that in the same period of the FY 2015-16.
Banks disbursed Tk 2,062.63 crore in farm loans in the July-August period of FY17 against Tk 1,809.33 crore distributed in the same period of FY16, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data.
BB officials said banks grappling with surplus liquidity amid dull business situation in the country showed an increased interest in disbursing agriculture credit in recent months.
Six scheduled banks, however, disbursed no farm loan against their annual targets of loan disbursement to farmers in the first two month of this fiscal year.
The banks are Bank Al-Falah, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, National Bank of Pakistan, Standard Chartered Bank, State Bank of India and Farmers Bank.
The BB will take punitive action against the banks which will not take required steps to meet their annual farm-loan disbursement targets for FY17, said the officials.
The central bank recently blocked undisbursed farm loan amount of Tk 139.81 crore of four banks which failed to achieve their farm loan targets in FY16.
The BB deposited the fund in its custody and the four banks also will not get any interest on the amount, BB officials said.
The BB will repay the deposited fund to the respective banks at the end of this fiscal year if they distribute the undisbursed amount with their fresh targets for FY17.
A BB official told New Age on Thursday that the banks’ farm loan disbursement continued to increase in recent months as banks were now holding surplus liquidity after the country’s businesspeople had adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach while making fresh investment due to political uncertainty and delicate law and order situation.
The official said due to a sluggish trend in the industrial sector credit growth, the banks were trying to invest significant amount of fund in the government securities with an interest rate of 3.39-8.48 per cent.
But the government is now accepting limited amount of bids as it (government) is now huge surplus fund, much to the frustration of the banks as they have failed to invest their fund in the T-bills and bonds.
In July-August of FY17, eight state-owned commercial and specialised banks — Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali, BASIC, BDBL, Bangladesh Krishi and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank — together disbursed Tk 704 crore in agriculture loans. The amount is 7.58 per cent of their total annual farm loan disbursement target of Tk 9,290 crore.
The private and foreign commercial banks together disbursed Tk 1,358.63 crore in agriculture loans in the first two months of FY16. The amount is 16.45 per cent of their total annual farm loan disbursement target of Tk 8,260 crore.