• Monday, Jan 20, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:06 pm

Fahim comes down heavily on Kamal for high lending rates

  • Published at 12:19 am December 6th, 2019
FBCCI-President-Seikh-Fahim
FBCCI President Seikh Fahim

Tipu slams NBR

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) President Sheikh Fazle Fahim on Thursday criticized Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal for his failure to bring down bank lending rate to single digits. 

“It has already past 11 months since the finance minster took charge but still he keeps claiming that lending rates are so high and doing business is tough in the country. What did he perform in this long period in office on fixing the pressing issue?,” questioned the FBCCI president.

Fazle Fahim came up with the statement while addressing the opening ceremony of ‘Ceramic Expo Bangladesh 2019’ at the International Convention Center Bashundhara in the capital. Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi was present in the program, among others. 

“The finance minister just expresses sorrow when we (business communities) put pressure on him for implementing the single digit interest rate,” Fahim said.

He urged the minister to ensure single digit lending rate as early as possible for the survival of the country’s businesses.

Tipu Munshi said that the finance minister asked banks several times to reduce their interest rates on lending. 

“But banks have yet to implement it,” he added, saying that the bankers, on the other hand, took huge advantages from the government with a promise to reduce the lending rates to single digits.

He said the entrepreneurs could not survive with the existing 12-14% interest rates. “If the situation continues, the factories will shut down one after another,” added Munshi.

Mentioning the existing 6% spread , the commerce minister said it was very high compared to other competing countries. The spread hovers 2.5% to 3% in most countries, he mentioned.

He urged the finance minister to take effective measures for reducing bank interest rates as well as minimizing spread as early as possible.

The FBCCI President also raised his voice against revenue officials saying that the officials were not supportive towards the causes of entrepreneurs.

“For instance, the ceramic manufacturers have to pay duties on raw material imports. It is sad that the NBR (National Board of Revenue) imposes duties even on the moisture comes with the raw materials,” he said, adding the moisture weighs about 30% of the ceramic’s raw materials.   

On tax collection, the commerce minister said the NBR needed reforms in tax management. 

Munshi said, the finance ministry should work jointly with the Tariff Commission under the commerce ministry, for better tax policies.