'In the next board meeting, we will propose to blacklist and cancel the membership of those who are involved with bank scams and took loans through fraudulent activities'
The apex platform of textile mill owners will consider blacklisting members involved in bank loan scams and defaults.
Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) acting president Mohammad Ali Khokon was asked at a press conference on Tuesday what the trade body planned to do about the many textile businesses involved in loan scams and defaults.
He was briefing journalists about the 15th Dhaka International Textile and Garment Machinery Exhibition (DTG) to be held between February 8 and 11 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka.
“In the next board meeting, we will propose to blacklist and cancel the membership of those who are involved with bank scams and took loans through fraudulent activities,” the BTMA acting president said in response to the question.
“It is astonishing how an entrepreneur, who has been in the business for only four years can take out a loan of Tk5,000 crore when an honest and successful entrepreneur has to go from door to door for Tk50 crore,” said Mohammad.
“I have been in the textile industry for 29 years now, but my loan is about Tk200 crore,” he added.
Because of these defaulters, honest and successful entrepreneurs have to suffer and pay more interest against loans, said the BTMA leader.
Those responsible for irresponsible loan disbursement should be identified and they should face exemplary punishment, Mohammad said.
“It is not possible to make this sort of decision without having the help of powerful people.”
“There are no rebates or incentives for those who repay loans regularly. But the defaulters enjoy rebates. This is an irrational system,” he said.
A Bangla daily newspaper reported this week that Janata Bank has disbursed Tk5,504 crore to a single client – Anontex Group – which took the loan in the name of 22 sister concerns.
As per the rules, a bank can disburse 25% of of its total capital to a single client. But the amount is far higher than that, as the total capital of the bank is Tk2,979 crore.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith on Tuesday blamed former Janata Bank chairman Abul Barkat for the scam.
Professor Abul Barkat, an economics professor from Dhaka University, was the chairman of Janata Bank Limited during the disbursement of this loan.
“Once upon a time, Janata Bank was the best. But, Barkat has destroyed the bank,” said Muhith.
The four-day DTG expo brings stakeholders under a common roof to familiarize them with new technology and encourage new investment in the garment sector.
“Despite having political calm in the country, we did not see the expected investment in the primary textile sector,” said Mohammad.
“As far as I know, two or three textile mills have been established, while those who have gas connection went for expansion,” said Mohammad blaming the shortage of gas connection for the slower investment.
He also sought a set amount of LNG for the textile sector at a reasonable price.