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DHAKA Tuesday 28 February 2012 16 Falgun 1418 BS 05 Rabius saani 1433 HIJRI
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Businesses unhappy with banks’ interest rates→ Staff Correspondent
Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr. Atiur Rahman speaks at a meeting with the leaders of several trade bodies at BB headquarters in the city on Monday.
 Business leaders yesterday demanded to bring back the borrowing and lending rates of banks at 12 and 14 percent respectively to promote industrialisation and investment in the country.

The demands came up at a meeting of several trade bodies and banks associations with Bangladesh Bank high ups at the BB headquarters.

During the meeting, the business leaders suggested the commercial banks and non-bank financial institutes (FIs) to strictly follow the borrowing rate of 12.50 percent and the lending rate of 15.50 percent, recently declared by the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB).

As soon as the economic situation improves, the rates should be reset at 12 and 14 percent, they observed.

Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman presided over the meeting where President of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers and Commerce (FBCCI) AK Azad, President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) Asif Ibrahim, President of Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (MCCI) Major Gen. (Retd) Amjad Khan Chowdhury, Chairman of Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) Md Nazrul Islam Mazumder, President of Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industries Monwara Hakim Ali, BGMEA President Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, BKMEA President AKM Selim Osman, BTMA President Jahangir Al Amin, BIA President Sheikh Kabir Hossain, President of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh (WEAB) Nasrin Awal Mintoo, Acting President of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries Shamsur Rahman, President of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) Md Shakil Rizvi, President of Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) Mohammad Al Maruf Khan, deputy governors and other senior officials of Bangladesh Bank were also present.

Emerging from the meeting, BB Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury told reporters that the central has been strictly vigilant to supervise whether the commercial banks and FIs were following the lending and borrowing rates set by the ABB.

He said a few banks were found to charge higher rates in borrowing and lending and the BB has been trying to detect those banks to take measures.

He said the trade bodies, banking associations and the central bank should come to a consensus to play their respective roles in maintaining the borrowing and lending rates at 12.50 percent and 15.50 percent.

Replying to a question, SK Sur said those who signed any contact prior to fixing the new rates, would be charged according to the previous rates.

He said nowadays, the central bank has been taking all decisions after proper consultation with the stakeholders and yesterday’s meeting was a reflection of that effort.

The government is also concerned about the high rate of bank interest, saying that it was harmful for the country’s industrialisation, investment and entrepreneurship development.

During the meeting, FBCCI Preside AK Azad alleged that many banks have bee defying the newly set rates of 12.50 percent and 15.50 percent.

He said the production costs at the industrial units have increased manifold due to the hike in the prices of gas and power. He also expressed his frustration over the high interest on bank loans in these circumstances.

AK Azad also alleged that around 100 people have snatched away Tk 400 billion from the stock market which had caused tremendous harm to the country’s economy.
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