Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has urged the government to speedily implement the stimulus package for the CMSME sector to help expedite the economic recovery from the pandemic.
FBCCI President Md Jashim Uddin made the call while speaking at a function on Thursday. The event titled "Ensuring overall economic development under the existing situation: problem and potentials" was organized by FBCCI at a city hotel, said a press release.
He also demanded increasing the timeframe of term loans 10 to 15 years for the SME sector and urged banks to punish willful loan defaulters.
He also requested the bankers to help the unintentional defaulters who failed to repay loans for the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mentioning that the allocation of Covid-19 stimulus packages for CMSME sector reached 38 percent in India, 33 percent in Thailand and 24 percent in Malaysia, Jashim said in Bangladesh it reached only 22 percent.
He said although the implementation of the stimulus packages in the export and large-scale industries sectors is satisfactory, the implementation rate of the stimulus package in the CMSME sector is 77 percent.
Under the circumstances, the FBCCI president called upon the government to speedily disburse the fund from the stimulus packages to help keep the businesses of cottage, micro and medium entrepreneurs operational. FBCCI president suggested increasing the timeframe for term loans to 15 years from 10 years with a grace period of two years and providing bank loans to the SME entrepreneurs without bank accounts with the recommendations from the trade bodies concerned.
The FBCCI chief also suggested increasing the rate of down payment to 2 percent from 1 percent for loan rescheduling to simplify the industrialization process.
In order to further reduce the cost of doing business, he proposed for further reducing the corporate tax rate of banks, insurance companies and financial institutions to 35 percent from 37.5 percent.
Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu, senior vice president of FBCCI, said if a company of a group becomes loan defaulter, other companies do not get bank loans. “It is high time to rethink about that,” he remarked.
Ali Reza Iftekhar, chairman of Association of Bankers Bangladesh and managing director of EBL, informed the businesses that banks have disbursed 80 percent of stimulus loans so far and it would have been better if they could do more.
On the long-term loan, he said it often gets difficult for banks to give loans for the long-term. Ali Reza suggested developing bond markets for providing long-term loans.
Managing Director of Trust Bank Limited Humaira Azam said, “You (businessmen) want 10 to 15 years to repay the stimulus loans while we cannot seek time from depositors to pay back their savings.”
FBCCI Vice President M Amin Helali, M Habib Ullah Don and MA Razzaque Khan Raj were present, among others, in the programme, moderated by FBCCI CEO Mahfuzul Haque.