Workers of the export-oriented industries can take a sigh of relief as banks would be disbursing their wages from today from the government's stimulus package of Tk 5,000 crore.
A good number of companies hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic have applied to 38 banks for the soft loans. The Daily Star spoke with at least 11 of the banks, which are now taking preparations to disburse the wage to the workers.
The BB has released Tk 2,000 crore to the respective banks soon after it got the loans applications, said its spokesperson Md Serajul Islam. The 38 lenders had claimed Tk 2,566.19 crore from the stimulus package.
"The rest of the claimed funds will be given out in the quickest possible time after getting approval from the finance ministry," he added.
To get the fund, the industries had to submit the loan application to their respective banks within May 2.
The owners of the export-oriented industries, which are allowed to enjoy the loans, will have to pay back the fund within two years after a six-month of grace period starting from July. Or else they will be considered as defaulters, according to a BB notice.
The interest-free loan will carry a 2 per cent service charge.
The BB is depositing the funds with the banks in three phases from April to June. And the lenders, in turn, will deposit the funds to the bank or mobile financial service (MFS) accounts of the workers such that the factory owners cannot misuse the funds.
Since April 6, the MFS providers have been scrambling to open as many accounts as they can for implementation of the stimulus package. So far, about 30 lakh workers have opened MFS accounts.
The government should widen the volume of the stimulus package as the number of loan applications and the claimed fund is too high, said another managing director of a bank wishing not to be named.
The existing package will not fulfil the industries' demand for the next two months – May and June.
Besides, banks should release the funds cautiously as the number of workers in some industries has increased suddenly last month.
There have been some difficulties in paying the wages smoothly as the BB has asked lenders not to give any funds to those that have temporarily or fully shuttered their plants, said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank.
"It is difficult to identify those," he added.
Both the central bank and the finance ministry have taken prompt measures to implement the stimulus package, putting a positive impact on the country's economy, said M Kamal Hossain, managing director of Southeast Bank.