Now 10 more industries are seeking help
At least 10 industry bodies have applied to both the finance ministry and the Bangladesh Bank to get financial support from the Tk 5,000 crore stimulus package for the export-oriented industries.
The industries are not allowed support under the guidelines of the package, said a BB official.
Some local investors with no direct link with exports have also sought support from the package as they are also in deep trouble now.
If all the industries' demands are to be accommodated, the size of the fund will have to be increased to Tk 10,000 crore to Tk 12,000 crore from existing Tk 5,000 crore, said two BB officials who are working on the stimulus package.
As per the regulations of the fund, only export-oriented industries can apply for loans to pay wages of their employees for April, May and June.
The local investors should be allowed to enjoy the fund as they have a strong role in keeping the wheels of the economy moving, the officials said.
The organisations that applied for the fund include the Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA), the Bangladesh Local Carton Manufacturers Association (BLCMA) and the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS).
Besides, type A and type B industries of export processing and economic zones and high-tech parks have also applied for the fund.
Type A units are 100 per cent foreign-owned, including those owned by Bangladeshi nationals who reside abroad. Type B units are joint-venture projects between foreign and local entrepreneurs.
The government, however, on April 15 allowed Type C units, which are fully owned by Bangladeshi entrepreneurs and reside in the country permanently, to get financial support from the package.
The finance ministry asked the BB on April 19 to also bring the backward linkage industries of exporters under the stimulus package for the small and medium enterprise sector instead of the one for export-oriented industries.
As per the government instruction, the central bank formed a stimulus package of Tk 20,000 crore for the SME sector.
The BGAPMEA member factories will be allowed to get loans from the SME package as working capital, after which they will use the fund to pay their workers' wages, the finance ministry said.
"We export essential products to the industries that supply finished goods abroad. So, we have a direct link to the country's export programme," said BGAPMEA President Md Abdul Kader Khan.
In many cases, the member industries export a portion of the goods to foreign nations, but the factories were not considered for support from the stimulus, he added.
BASIS members are completely export-oriented enterprises, but some banks have initially refrained from entertaining their applications, said Syed Almas Kabir, the president of the organisation.
"So, we requested the central bank and the finance ministry hurriedly to resolve the problem. The higher-ups of the central bank informed BASIS that we are entitled to support from the package," he added.
Member factories of BLCMA, which manufactures carton for both the local and export-oriented industries, have also applied for the support as they are going through a difficult time due to the ongoing shutdown, said MA Bashar Patwary, president of the association.
The association has about 200 members employing more than 20,000 workers.
"Our production has now completely stopped," he said, adding that banks hardly provide finance to them.