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High lending rate, forex dearth affecting industrial growth: BCI

FE REPORT | February 12, 2024 00:00:00

Local industrialists are worried about the factors like growing lending rate, persisting forex dearth and banks' intensified attention to government securities instead of normal lending.

Expressing such concern at a meeting with Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder on Sunday, a delegation of Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) led by its president Anwarul Alam Chowdhury Parvez said these anti-business factors are badly impacting industrial growth here.

They also sought immediate policy directions from the central bank so that the growth of the domestic industries remains unhampered and can contribute further to the country's overall employment generation.

After emerging from the meeting, the BCI president said the cost of formal credits continues to rise while the industries face difficulties in opening LCs (letter of credits) in banks amid the ongoing forex dearth.

Simultaneously, he said, the commercial lenders have largely been making their investment on government securities riding on higher yields instead of their regular lending activities.

"We want to know the reason behind the policy encouraging the banks to shift their investment focus," he said.

At the same time, Mr Chowdhury said single borrower exposure limit was brought down to 25 per cent from 35 per cent and most banks do not consider devalue of the currency, which also creates further trouble to the industries.

The BCI chief said the governor listened to their concerns and informed them that the central bank wants to bring down the rate of inflation to 6.0 per cent.

"There is no other choices excepting lending rate-hike to achieve the target and it has also been suggested by the country's leading economists," the governor was quoted as saying.

The BB governor also urged the visiting BCI leaders to have patience for a while as the central bank would continue the highly contractionary monetary stance with further squeezing the money supply in the market until the target is achieved.

Regarding the forex crisis, the governor told the business people that the BB's intensified monitoring activities over export and import helped control capital flight through over-invoicing and under-invoicing to a large extend.

As a result, the country's current account turned positive while measures are underway to financial account as well, according to the BCI president.

"The governor assured us of overcoming the dollar crisis by the end of this year," he added.

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