FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim on Wednesday urged the country’s banks to take quick steps to disburse the stimulus money declared by the government to stave off the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.
“The banks should play a proactive role by adopting easier ways to help the country’s cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises get their share from the package of Tk 20,000 crore announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.Fahim made the statement at a discussion titled ‘Roadmap to Stimulus Loan Execution 20,000 crore and 30,000 crore’ at FBCCI’s Icon Tower in the city’s Motijheel area.
Chairmen and managing directors of various state-owned and private banks, former FBCCI presidents, FBCCI directors and economists participated in the programme.
Fahim stressed the need for engaging the FBCCI members -- all chambers and associations—to provide small shops, clinics and hospitals, women entrepreneurs and media houses with stimulus funds.
The boss of the apex business body requested the Association of the Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) to expedite the process as the coronavirus crisis has put various sectors under serious strains.
Fahim said the government-announced stimulus package was “targeted and focused” but now it was the responsibility of the banks to do the rest. “The banks must come forward to quickly execute the plans for stimulus package in a bid to help the national economy survive.
“The decision to provide food assistance to 4 crore people, 700 crore taka for the workers in the informal sector, 20,000 crore for the SME sector, 30,000 crore for the large sectors, 5,000 crore for the export-oriented sector, 5,000 crore for the agriculture sector is a brave one.” Now the banks should shoulder the responsibility in the interest of the national economy,” he said.Welcoming the Bangladesh Bank’s various steps to resolve the liquidity crisis in the banking sector, Fahim said the central bank’s decisions have strengthened the base for the banks to disburse the stimulus money in a disciplined manner.
“For the Bangladesh Bank’s steps the banks’ liquidity is supposed to increase up to 46,000 crore and it is supposed to be 70,000 crore with Export Development Fund (EDF) while through the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) there should be an excess fund of 1 lac crore taka. Under the stimulus package, the facility for subsidy for interest and matching fund option would benefit the banks,” the FBCCI chief observed.
Fahim also said if the country’s burgeoning informal sector can survive through the crisis with the contribution from the state-owned and private banks this informal sector will be integrated into the formal sector one day.
“This will be a win-win situation, and the banks will also benefit enormously through this inclusion,” he said.
FBCCI’s former president and Member of Parliament Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin said steps should be taken so that the entrepreneurs, especially the smaller ones, do not face troubles in getting stimulus money for documentation.
He proposed setting up of a “Help Desk” by the FBCCI to provide support to such small businesses.
Former FBCCI Presidents Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, Mir Nasir Hossain, Abdul Matlub Ahmad, Janata Bank Chairman Jamal Uddin Ahmed and its Managing Director Abdus Salam Azad, Sonali Bank’s Managing Director Akhteruzzaman Prodhan, BRAC Bank’s Managing Director Selim R F Hossain, FBCCI’s Senior Vice President Muntakim Asharf, Vice President Muntakim Ashraf, Director Salahuddin Alamgir, President of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association Jashim Uddin and Chairman of Policy Exchange Masrur Reaz, among others, joined the discussion.