President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) Abul Kasem Khan said “Central Bank may utilize the foreign exchange reserve for wide ranging infrastructure development workof Bangladesh”. He made this comment while the Board of Directors of DCCI called on Governor of Bangladesh Bank Fazle Kabir on 14 March, 2017 at Bangladesh Bank.
The DCCI President also said that in line with the economic vision for 2030, the private Investment and GDP ratio needs to be increased to 35%.He said we need on an average $20to $22billion annually for infrastructure investment whereas- current investment is around only $6.32 billion which is about 2.87% of GDP.Huge infrastructure investment deficit is hindering the accelerated growth potentials of Bangladesh, he said. He further said overall Non Performing Loan (NPL) is at alarming state and stood at Tk.62,172 crore as on December 2016.In order to reduce the interest burden on SMEs, good borrowers and ensure healthy financial system, the NPL needs to be well managed, he emphasized. Considering the export diversity and expansion, Export Development Fund (EDF)beneficiary network can be extended, he also suggested.He said low cost industry investment fund and SDG implementation fundneedto be created for private sector-SDG adaptation.Besides, he said foreign exchange regulation ofBangladesh Bank needs to be updated. The weighted average deposit rate of scheduled Banks downed to 5.22% in December 2016. But the lending rate for SMEs is around 12-14% where as weighted average lending rate isaround 9.93%. He proposed for reducing this gap of interest rate. Abul Kasem Khan proposes for 7% interest rate at borrowers’ end of the refinancing fund of Bangladesh Bank created for the development of dairy sector. Abul Kasem Khan called upon to open up private investment opportunities for Bangladeshi businessmen in foreign countries. He said investment in foreign countries will help inflow of foreign exchange into Bangladesh.
Governor of Bangladesh Bank Fazle Kabir said government borrowing is lower now which is an opportunity for the private sector to get more access to finance. He also said foreign remittance is more that 16% lower than the same period of last year which is a matter of concern no doubt. And Bangladesh Bank is working hard to encourage NRBs to send foreign remittance through proper banking channel, he said. He also said we should encourage our new young generation to come up with innovative entrepreneurship mostly in manufacturing sector rather than trading. Skill development and training are also more important for new entrepreneurs, he said. He also underscored the importance of bringing all Banks under automation and trusted cyber security system. He further said Bangladesh Bank is closely monitoring Banks’ automation and cyber security measures on a regular basis.
Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank S.K. Sur Chowdhury said interest rate on lending is relatively low now and it is even lower for the good borrowers as banks give special incentive to the good borrowers. Non-performing loan (NPL) is a serious concern for us, we have to minimize NPL which will help slashing lending rate further. He requested the trade association like DCCI to facilitate entrepreneurship in the remote and rural areas and they will get access to finance.
DCCI Senior Vice President Kamrul Islam, FCA proposed Bangladesh Bank to create a separate fund only for the light engineering sector with access to single digit easy loan facility. He also said local branches of all scheduled banks should focus on more financing to flourish local industry in the remote areas to ensure inclusive growth.
DCCI Directors Khandakar Abdul Muktadir, K. Atique-e-Rabbani, FCA, KMN Manjurul Hoque, Riyadh Hossain and Secretary General AHM Rezaul Kabir also spoke on the occasion. They requested Bangladesh Bank to consider long term re-financing system for the good borrowers and facilitate more access to EDF fund. They also echoed to simplify policy for SMEs and for simplified online e-payment system for e-commerce. They also urged for lower interest rate on private sector lending.
DCCI Vice President Hossain A Sikder, Directors Imran Ahmed, Kh. Rashedul Ahsan, Md. Alauddin Malik were also present during the meeting.