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Bangladesh's stimulus packages: Biggies look hungry, but minnows lose appetite

| Updated: October 13, 2020 13:55:28


Bangladesh's stimulus packages: Biggies look hungry, but minnows lose appetite

A major portion of the stimulus package for large industries and services has been implemented while only 24.18 per cent was executed in another package for the CMSMEs until September 30.

Nearly Tk 272 billion was disbursed as working capital to 2,358 firms until October 12 under the stimulus package of Tk 330 billion for the large borrowers in industrial and service sectors. The implementation rate of the package is more than 82 per cent.

But the banks and NBFIs disbursed just Tk 48.23 billion of the stimulus package to the smaller firms, which is 24.18 per cent of the total Tk 200 billion financial support for the sector.

Nine private commercial banks (PCBs) have already been asked to complete the disbursement of loans under the package for the large industries and services by October 15.

"We'll reduce limits, set by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) earlier on the basis of total outstanding of working capital for industries and service sectors as on December 31, 2019, if the banks are unable to disburse such loans within the timeframe," a BB senior official told the FE on Monday.

Earlier, the central bank had reduced the limits for 14 banks on the same ground, said the central banker.

"The central bank is now working on completing the implementation of the stimulus package for large industries and services by October 31," he said.

He also said the desired recovery from the ongoing economic slowdown, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, will not be possible if the stimulus packages are not implemented in time.

The central bank has asked 56 banks and 20 non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to submit their progress reports on the implementation of the financial package for the cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises sector on a weekly basis.

"We've already engaged our 10 branch offices across the country to monitor and oversee the progress of the implementation of the package," another BB official told the FE.

The step came against the backdrop of slower progress in loan disbursement under the financial package for the smaller enterprises until September 30.

The support is to help the CMSMEs to offset the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Loans amounting to Tk 58.82 billion were sanctioned for nearly 27,000 CMSMEs during the period, according to the central bank statistics.

"We're trying to implement at least 80 per cent of the package by the end of this month," Syed Abdul Momen, BRAC Bank's SME Banking Head, told the FE.

"But we need more time to execute the package properly," the senior private banker added.

Mr. Momen also urged the central bank to extend the deadline by two months to December 31.

"Both SME entrepreneurs and banks will benefit if the BB extends the deadline," he said. Talking to the FE, another central banker said the BB governor is expected to sit with managing directors and chief executive officers of banks and NBFIs in early next month to review the progress of the implementation of the package.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced 19 stimulus packages worth Tk 1.03 trillion to offset the impacts of the pandemic on various sectors.

siddique.islam@gmail.com

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