Two more stimulus packages worth Tk 2,700 crore were announced on Sunday amid criticisms that big and readymade garment industries have mostly benefitted from the earlier packages announced in phases since April to overcome the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
The first package of Tk 1,500 crore will be provided to improve the economic condition of small, cottage and medium, and women entrepreneurs.
The second one of Tk 1,200 crore aims to bring elderly citizens, widows and abandoned wives in 150 upazilas under the social safety net programme in the coming fiscal year 2021–22.
Following proposals from the finance ministry, prime minister Sheikh Hasina approved the incentives on the day increasing the number of such packages to 23 from the previous 21 and the incentive fund to Tk 1.24 lakh crore from the earlier Tk1.21 lakh crore.
Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal hailed the PM’s approval, according to a press release of the ministry.
He hoped that marginalised groups would benefit from a successful implementation of the fresh packages.
The Finance Division held three workshops with the stakeholders in December 2020 to review the overall implementation status of the earlier 21 packages against the findings that the rate of loan disbursement to big industries was higher than that to small and cottage industries.
As of December 17, 2020, Tk 9,271 crore out of the targeted Tk 20,000 crore for cottage, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs was disbursed forcing the Bangladesh Bank to extend the disbursement deadline to March.
Until November, the disbursement rate for the Tk 40,000 crore package for big industries was 71 per cent.
The readymade garment sector has availed the entire Tk 5,000 crore allocation for it at 2 per cent service charge and received further Tk 5,500 crore from the Tk 40,000 crore fund meant for large industries.
Under the new first package, the Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation will receive Tk 300 crore, the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation Tk 100 crore and Joyeeta Foundation will obtain Tk 50 crore.
Under the same package, the Social Development Foundation, Palli Daridro Bimochon Foundation, Bangladesh Rural and Development Board will obtain Tk 300 crore each to improve the life of marginalised groups.
The Small Farmer Development Foundation will be allocated Tk 100 crore while the NGO Foundation will be provided with Tk 50 crore, also from the same package.
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