Prime Bank propping up embattled ICT sector
Prime Bank and the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) yesterday announced a partnership deal to facilitate financing in the IT sector as it would enable easy access to funds for tech and software companies.
Under the campaign, eligible BASIS members can avail themselves of collateral-free loans of up to Tk 50 lakh in addition to other tailor-made financing solutions.
The announcement was made through an online event attended, among others, by ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak.
Both Prime Bank and BASIS believe that this initiative will provide a big boost for the country's booming ICT and IT-enabled services industry.
The partnership styled 'Prime Bank-BASIS Alliance for ICT-MSME Financing Solution' will help digital service companies expand their operations in line with the government's vision of a 'digital Bangladesh', officials from both parties said.
IT firms will now be able to source working capital, term loans for fixed asset purchase and capital expenditures, various international trade solutions and bank guarantees.
Companies can also benefit from a wide range of deposit schemes and free internet banking for electronic transactions.
To be eligible for a loan under the programme, potential borrowers will need proof of two years' business experience and an introduction letter from BASIS.
If eligible, loan applications can be made from the comfort of home or the office as Prime Bank has assigned dedicated relationship managers for BASIS members.
Historically, ICT companies struggle to secure bank loans due to existing credit assessment and mortgage issues. Now the partnership between BASIS and Prime Bank will create a friendly business ecosystem for the thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the ICT sector, they added.
This initiative could also help the country's digital technology firms ride past the coronavirus fallouts.
"Already companies are facing tremendous challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Now they will get an opportunity to resume operations," said ICT State Minister Palak.
Prime Bank has already received a few applications under the government's stimulus package while a couple of disbursements have also been made, said Rahel Ahmed, managing director and chief executive officer of Prime Bank.
The ICT industry holds immense potential to become a game changer for Bangladesh's economy. With overwhelming growth over the past two decades, ICT entrepreneurs believe that the sector will become the second highest foreign currency earner after garments in the next few years.
"Prime Bank is committed to be a part of the growth journey of this promising industry," Ahmed added.
During the session, BASIS President Syed Almas Kabir said the organisation worked relentlessly over the last two decades to promote and expand the country's ICT industry.
ICT companies suffered huge financial losses due to the COVID-19 outbreak and companies could not even take funds from the government's stimulus package to full extent because of certain complications.
"But I am convinced that our members will be greatly benefitted by this alliance. We hope Prime Bank continues this kind of financing support for ICT firms," Kabir said.