Bangladesh’s central bank (Bangladesh Bank or BB), of late, has taken a host of steps to help industries in Bangladesh deal effectively with the fallouts of the coronavirus pandemic.
In the latest in this direction, BB on Thursday extended the stimulus package fund — Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 5 April announced a Taka 30,000 crore stimulus package, as working capital for coronavirus-affected industries to revive the country’s economic activities. Then on 23 July, the size of the stimulus package was extended by Taka 3,000 crore to Tk 33,000 crore as wages for the workers of export-oriented industries — from Taka 33,000 crore to Taka 40,000 crore for industries and service sectors affected by the pandemic.
According to reports, the central bank will provide funds to the banks in the form of working capital at 4 per cent interest, while clients will get it at 9 per cent.
As per the BB circular issued in this direction, industries that fall in categories A, B and C and are located in Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority and Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA), would be eligible for loan facilities as working capital under the extended Taka 7,000 crore stimulus funds.
The Taka 7,000 crore stimulus fund is said to be an attempt by the BB to support foreign companies operating in Bangladesh to tackle the impacts of COVID-19.
It may be mentioned here that the BB, considering the implications of the coronavirus pandemic, has also decided to slash the interest rate on loans from the export development fund (EDF) from 2 per cent to 1.75 per cent.