Industry Desk: Implementation of the government’s COVID-19 stimulus package of around Tk 1000 billion to protect small, medium and large scale industries as well as agriculture sector is slow due to lack of coordination.
The delay is also due to different complications while businesses have started to apply to take benefits available from the stimulus package.
Business leaders feared that the purpose of the stimulus package may be disrupted due to lack of coordination and have been asking for ensuring a process free from all kinds of complications and harassment. Sooner the they get the benefits, sooner the economies of the country will boosted, they said.
Considering the complexity and delays in releasing funds, the central Bangladesh Bank has issued a notification giving directives to correct the process. As per the circular, the businesses can apply for a loan without fulfilling the requirements of the Internal Credit Risk Rating (ICRR) policy formulated by Bangladesh Bank.
As the ICRR activities have been disrupted due to coronavirus shut down, the delivery of necessary documents to the loan recipients are delayed be disrupted.
Most of the loan will be distributed by state-owned and private commercial banks. Though the interest rate is 9 percent for this loan, the borrowers will pay half the interest. The government will pay the remaining half to the banks.
But the worry by the business community is that the banks are already facing cash shortages and thus how they will provide such big aid, sources said.
However, under the package announced by the government, workers in export-oriented industries are to be paid in April. Although they worked risking their lives amid the coronavirus outbreak, the workers did not get paid on time due to some complications.
At this time, the factory owners have decided that those who have worked in the factory will be paid in full, those who have worked for partial time will be paid as per ratio of working days and those who have not been present in the factory will get 65 percent salary.
The payment has been delayed due to last-minute preparation of the new salary-sheets by factory owners.
On the other hand, the bankers said so far they have received some applications for large industrial loans. They said rush of application will start when economic activities restarts. There are many processes involved in getting the loan. In many cases it is impossible to complete these processes during the general holidays. Bankers said it could take some time to start as the loans are linked to collateral issues.
Ataur Rahman, managing director and chief executive officer of Sonali Bank, told so far the number of loan application is small and thus the stimulus package cannot be started at this stage as per government directives.
“So far 16 applications have been submitted to Sonali Bank. The process to give loans in other packages is being worked out,” he said.
The banks are receiving loan application but the number of submitting application is not so many yet. The number of loan applications will increase after the end of general holidays as many documents are required to process in loan applications, he added.
The distribution of agriculture stimulus package Tk 2.1 billion has started. However, normal activities have not started yet; the number and quantity of disbursement of loan will increase gradually, sources said.