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Rescheduling not for all loan defaulters

Parliamentary body suggests


FE Report | April 16, 2019 00:00:00


The rescheduling facilities should not be given on a wholesale scale to all loan defaulters, a parliamentary committee has recommended.

Rather, such facilities should be given over a certain period of time to those who became defaulters for various valid reasons, it said at a meeting on Monday.

The committee on public undertakings also expressed dissatisfaction that the banks are yet to bring down the interest rate to a single digit, despite an instruction from the prime minister.

The meeting expected to see visible progress in this regard within the next two months.

The 3rd meeting of the committee was held at the parliament building, with its chairman ASM Feroz in the chair.

The volume of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the country's banking system exceeded Tk 939 billion at the end of 2018, according to banking sources.

On the other hand, NPLs to the tune of over Tk 232 billion were rescheduled in 2018. The amount of rescheduled loan was 22 per cent up from that of the previous year.

"We have recommended that those who now want to become defaulters intentionally should not be encouraged. Rather, those who are eligible for rescheduling and repayment should be given the opportunity so that they do not become defaulters again," said committee member Narayan Chandra Chanda.

He said careful monitoring must be in place so that no one can misuse the facilities regarding loan rescheduling and lower interest rate.

Also, this type of facilities should not be provided for an indefinite period and repeatedly, he added.

"Only those who have become defaulters on genuine grounds should be given the facilities after a scrutiny for a certain period of time," said the former minister.

About the committee's recommendation regarding the implementation of single digit interest rate, Mr Chanda said the committee has been informed of various steps taken by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) in this regard.

Even the government has been depositing 50 per cent of its fund in the private banks, but they are still not complying with the instruction of the prime minister, he added.

"There are now various interest rates ranging from 13 per cent to 18 per cent. The private banks must come under some discipline. We have asked the central bank to take all kinds of action to make them comply. We want to see a visible progress within the next two months," he said.

The committee will again sit with the BB after two months, Mr Chanda added.

The committee also expressed resentment as the representatives of the private banks' association did not attend the meeting despite being invited.

According to a press release of parliament, as many as 279 textile mills and 411 mills have been identified as sick industries by the industries, commerce and finance ministries.

The finance ministry has already announced a package under which 426 non-textile sick industries have been given flexible loan payment facilities. All the loan accounts have been settled under this package, it added.

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