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Dhaka Tribune

BB relaxes policies, extends facilities for businesses

The central bank extends the deadline for export and return of import goods to six months

Update : 19 Mar 2020, 09:34 PM

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Thursday relaxed several of its policies, regulations and extended facilities for businesses to shore up the economy from the coronavirus fallout.

The central bank has extended the deadline for export and return of import goods from four months to six months. 

At the same time, the loan repayment period of suppliers' and buyers' credit and export development funds has been extended from 180 days to 360 days, as per a BB circular.

In another circular, the central bank has asked scheduled banks not to classify borrowers’ loans till June this year, even if they do not repay the loan installments. As a result, if a borrower fails to repay the installment of his or her loans by June, they will not be classified as defaulters.

The policy facility of the central bank came at a time when the world’s major economies have been floating bailout packages to absorb the financial shocks created by the epidemic.

The country’s economy has already started to feel the pinch with its stock markets dropping to 7 year low along with cancelation of export orders as well as delay in shipping products to European and US-markets.

Given the country’s dependency on imported raw materials and capital machinery for export, import in January dropped more than 12% and expected to fall further in the coming months until the pandemic coronavirus comes to normalcy across the globe.

Tuesday’s BB circular said that along with the global trades, the country’s trade and business was impacted adversely due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

As an impact of the epidemic, BB apprehended that many of the borrowers would not be able to repay loans as the outbreak of the virus adversely impacted over the export and import as well as the country’s overall economy.

As a result, the existing trade and businesses along with the job creation may be hampered, prompting the central bank to issue the stimulus, it said.

In another circular on the day, the central bank increased the limit of person to person transactions in mobile financial services (MFS) and made purchase of essential goods and medicines free of charge at the present critical moment owing to coronavirus outbreak.

BB also instructed scheduled banks to ensure continuous banking services through ATMs (automated teller machines), agent banking and mobile financial service (MFS) platforms.

The central bank issued a circular in this regard to the managing director and CEO of all scheduled banks, all mobile financial services providers and all payment service providers in the country.

Monthly person to person transactions limit in MFS increased from Tk75,000 to Tk200,000 and the MFS services providers cannot impose any charge in this transaction only for the purchase of essential goods and medicines, as per the BB circular.

In any MFS transaction, anyone will be allowed to cash out up to Tk1,000 without any charge in a day.

In domestic transaction through debit and credit card, there will also be no charge for the purchase of essential goods and medicines, according to the circular.

Near field communications (NFC) card transaction limit has been increased from Tk3,000 to Tk5,000.

The instruction is effective immediately.

Bangladesh has so far confirmed 18 cases of coronavirus infection and first death from coronavirus as of March 19.

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