The Ministry of Finance on Thursday released Tk 1,000 crore for three state-owned specialised banks and a foundation to run employment generation programme against the COVID-19 economic downturn.
The entities are Karmasangsthan Bank, Probashi Kallyan Bank, Palli Sanchay Bank, and Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, said the finance ministry officials.
Palli Sanchay Bank managing director Akber Hossain said that they were yet to see the directive.
He, however, acknowledged that they were of the government initiative to provide loan to entrepreneurs through the state-owned entities for generating employment.
The finance ministry officials said that a directive was already issued disbursing the fund as grants as per the fiscal initiatives for tackling the COVID-19 fallouts.
This was the first instalment of Tk 2,000 crore, kept aside in the budget for the extension of micro-credit to entrepreneurs.
A substantial portion of the loan is supposed to be provided to the jobless expatriates returning to Bangladesh from the Middle East.
On July 8, prime minister Sheikh Hasina said in parliament that 22,000 expatriate workers had returned home.
The government kept aside Tk 2,000 crore to be given as loans at only 4 per cent interest, she said.
Akber Hossain said the banks would run separate programmes to distribute loans to youths and expatriate returnees for creating jobs.
Employment generation was the highest priority of the government amid COVID-19 epidemic, he said.
Last week, the Financial Institutions Division asked the Finance Division for early disbursement of the fund.
About 13 per cent people had become unemployed in the country due to COVID-19 epidemic, according to a survey of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies released in June.
Another survey report released by the same state-owned research organisation in December said the unemployment rate among educated youth was 33.2 per cent in the country with higher concentration among the graduates and post-graduates.
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