BB lines up $200m green fund for textile, leather makers
Bangladesh Bank is set to form a $200 million fund to provide low-cost loans to textile and leather industries for switching to environment-friendly production.
"We want to let the world know that we will manufacture green apparel and green leather products. We want to brand our country as green Bangladesh," BB Governor Atiur Rahman said yesterday.
Rahman's comments came at the opening of a conference, 'Green Finance for Sustainable Development', organised by Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA) at the capital's Sonargaon Hotel.
The move comes to help that the export-oriented industries take advantage of the current proclivity towards green products in the western world.
Textile and leather sectors will initially enjoy low-cost loans from the 'Green Transformation Fund', which will be made open to the other sectors later, he said.
Industrialists are likely to get loans for water conservation and management, waste management, resources efficiency and recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
"We are doing it from our own fund. These are only small initial steps, with lots more to do in our intended countrywide transition to environmentally sustainable output practices and lifestyles."
Rahman said the central bank also plans to float a green bond.
Earlier in 2009, the BB set up a Tk 200 crore revolving fund for the banks and other financial institutions to disburse low-interest loans for solar energy, biogas and effluent treatment plants.
The central bank has so far indentified nearly 50 green products that are eligible for the green refinance line available at the BB.
The move comes at a time when Bangladesh is making efforts to generate more energy through renewable sources.
Bangladesh has a capacity to generate 230 megawatts of solar electricity, with a big portion coming from solar home systems, of which there are over 40 lakhs of them at present, according to a publication by BSREA.
Power generation has increased in recent years along with per capita consumption and coverage, said Anwarul Haque Sikder, chairman of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority.
The government has set a target of generating 3,100 megawatts of electricity through renewable sources by 2021.
More than half of the green energy will come from solar systems, followed by wind energy, he added.
Mahmood Malik, chief executive of the Infrastructure Development Company Ltd, said solar home systems are growing fast in Bangladesh.
Mizan R Khan, professor at the Environmental Science and Management Department of North South University, said Bangladesh's economy is growing well.
"But together with quantitative growth, we need more of qualitative growth and development, which will improve the quality of the lives of all citizens."
BSREA President Dipal C Barua chaired the session.