Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) has sought loans from the state-owned Sonali Bank for importing fertiliser for the upcoming Boro season.
The government, however, took a rigid stance in issuing counter guarantees against any credit due to fund crisis created in the wake of the political turmoil.
These days, it has become a rare instance to get a counter guarantee for credits from the finance division even for the state-owned companies and corporations such as Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation, Bangladesh Chemical Industry Corporation and BADC, said a senior official of finance division.
Apart from the fund crisis, he said International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also tightened its debt ceiling on Bangladeshi state-owned companies and corporations, he said.
The finance division has asked the BADC to pay its all the unpaid bills or loans earlier received from Sonali Bank as soon as possible while the corporation filed a fresh request for loan worth about Tk309 crore for importing urea fertiliser for the upcoming Boro season, said the official.
Boro is the key crop of the country, which contributes 55% of the total food grain production. The total rice output was around 3.38 crore tons in the current fiscal year, of which Boro contributed 1.88 crore tones. The target of Boro production has been set at 1.89 crore tons for the next season.
“As Sonali Bank is suffering from a serious fund crisis despite the government provided the Bank with about Tk2,000 core in the current fiscal year. So, under such a circumstance, the bank is not in a position to provide the required loans to the BADC,” said a banking division source.
The default loans of Sonali Bank stood at Tk 12,363 crore on December 31, 2012, up from Tk 5,705 crore in the same period of the previous year, thanks to the Hall-Mark and other financial scams, according to the preliminary data of the state-run bank.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith has reportedly said the government would not give any counter guarantee of credits to BADC for importing one lakh tons of urea from Indonesia until and unless it pays back all the previous unpaid loans of Sonali Bank by February 15.
During the financial year 2010-2011, finance division gave counter grantee of Tk2,631 crore to BADC but it took loan of Tk2,505 crore. The unpaid loan was Tk94 crore in the same fiscal year. The default loan of BADC rose to Tk366 crore in 2011-12 fiscal year and it was Tk2,130 crore in 2012-13 fiscal year, according to the proposal.
According to the Food Crop Wing (FCW) under the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Fertiliser Association (BFA), the total requirement for urea in the next Boro season is around 18.5 lakh tonnes.