Bangladesh Bank is expected to issue a circular regarding this by June 30, says the finance minister
The government is again likely to extend the deadline of the repayment period of loans disbursed as Covid-19 incentive packages for the export-oriented manufacturers.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal revealed the information to the reporters after a virtual meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase on Saturday.
Bangladesh Bank is expected to issue a circular regarding this by June 30, said the finance minister.
The government announced the stimulus packages to help the export-oriented manufacturers, such as the RMG sector, to pay their workers' wages for three months during the 66-day general holiday announced last year to tackle the spread of the pandemic.
As part of incentives, banks disbursed Tk5,000 crore from the government's own funds at a 2% service charge and another Tk5,000 crore from the stimulus package for large industries and the service sector.
The manufacturers had to start repaying the loans in 18 installments when the six-month grace period ended in December of last year.
Then the RMG factory owners requested to extend the grace period and the government extended it till June 30 of the current year.
Recently, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) — two apex organizations of the apparel sector — requested the finance minister to extend their repayment period until December 31 this year.
They also urged the minister to ensure that if the loans are not repaid on time, the factory owners are not declared as defaulters.
Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA, and AKM Selim Osman, president of BKMEA, signed the letter, saying that the lion's share of Bangladesh's export earnings came from the apparel sector.
But the finance minister did not confirm anything about the extension, saying the government had not taken any decision yet on this issue. He had also said that the central bank was working on it.
Moreover, RMG manufacturers asked again for incentives like last year to pay wages and bonuses to the workers for the upcoming Eid-ul-Adha.
The finance minister said that the prime minister would decide on this matter.