Business Desk : Leaders of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Monday requested Bangladesh Bank not to increase lending rates, for the sake of traders and the economy.
The FBCCI delegation, led by its president Mahbubul Alam, met with central bank governor Abdur Rouf Talukder at the latter’s office in the capital and placed their demand.
“Given the current global economic situation, I request not to increase the interest rate to maintain the competitiveness of Bangladeshi products in the foreign market.
If interest rates are increased, business costs will increase and local industries will suffer,” the FBCCI president told the top central bank officials.
The governor told the delegation that the loan interest is now fixed according to the six-month moving average interest rate (Smart) rate; there is no chance of the interest rate being increased at an abnormal rate.
According to the current system, there may be a slight rise only.
Smart, or the reference lending rate, would be fixed on the basis of the 182-day treasury bills and announced on the first working day of each month.
Alam also said during the meeting that small and medium entrepreneurs were playing an important role in boosting the country’s economy.
In this regard, along with men, women entrepreneurs are also playing a strong role.
But getting loans for women entrepreneurs to operate and expand their businesses is still not that easy.
Banks are also less enthusiastic in lending to women entrepreneurs in various areas, he commented.
Besides, to get a loan, a woman entrepreneur has to show her father, brother or husband as a guarantor.
Mentioning that banks do not want to accept a woman as a guarantor, he requested the central bank’s intervention in this matter.
At the same time, Mahbubul Alam urged to raise the bank loan to a maximum of Tk50 lakh for small and medium women entrepreneurs.
Many traders have to open letters of credit (LCs) by buying dollars at a higher price than the fixed rate, Alam told the media after their meeting with the governor.
Although a number of importers are getting the dollar at the fixed rate, many others are being compelled to cough up an additional amount to open the LCs, he added.
“We drew the governor’s attention to the dollar market, who gave assurance that everyone will get dollars at the fixed rate,” he also said.
“Now there is a trade balance, the price should not be high.
The dollar rate is set by Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association (Bafeda) and Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB).
We work with the rates they offer,” said Md Mezbaul Haque after the meeting.
In June, the central bank scrapped the interest rate ceiling and adopted a new interest rate regime, which came into effect on July 1.
Debt repayment was also discussed, as two industrial sectors have so far been given loan repayment facilities.
“We asked them if this facility can be extended to some other sectors so that traders can do business easily,” added the FBCCI president.