The central bank yesterday issued multiple notices and extended the deadline of the relaxed rules for foreign exchange businesses in various sectors until March 31 next year.
Banks have been asked to accept advance payments of up to $500,000 from businesses seeking to import Covid-19-related lifesaving drugs and essential medical items until March 31, according to a notice of the Bangladesh Bank. The deadline expired on September 30.
Importers are usually allowed to make advance payments of a maximum of $10,000 for the import of general items, including raw materials meant for industrial purposes and consumer goods.
Global drug companies are now refusing to export such items if the payments are not made in advance, said a central bank official.
"That is why the banking regulator eased the rules."
In another order, the central bank has allowed the importers of industrial raw materials to enjoy the one-year timeframe for making import payments until March next year.
Before the pandemic, businesses had to make the import payment for industrial raw materials within six months. This relaxation aims to cushion the enterprises from the ongoing financial crisis stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Many exporters have already imported a good amount of raw materials to produce items meant for export, said a central bank official.
But they are facing hurdles when attempting to export their products in the wake of a fall in global demand.
The same instruction will also be applicable for the importers in the agriculture sector, according to another notice issued by the central bank.
Importers of agriculture equipment and chemical fertilizers will be allowed to get the support.
The instructions will help importers run their businesses smoothly amid the economic slowdown, a central bank official said.