Business leaders demand quick release of stimulus package

UNB, Dhaka

The government does not plan to lower the interest rate right now, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Tuesday.
"We're not in a position to assure you of lowering the interest rate," Muhith said while replying to business leaders at a meeting held at the secretariat on Tuesday.
Presidents of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Abdus Salam Murshedy, AK Azad and Selim Osman met Finance Minister to place their set of demands including implementation of the stimulus package. Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman, Finance Secretary Dr Muhammad Tareq and central bank deputy governor Ziaul Hasan Siddiqi were also present in the meeting.
BGMEA president Murshedy said they did not get the benefit of the government-announced stimulus package yet and demanded quick release of the fund. "There was an announcement in the stimulus package that renewal fees for captive generators will be waived but it also remained unimplemented," he said.
Murshedy also sought the Finance Minister's initiative to reduce the interest rates against loans sanctioned from the export development fund (EDF).
In reply, Muhith said the interest rate would be 1 per cent for up to $1 million and above it, the interest rate would rise to 2.5 per cent.
Talking about the issue, BB Deputy Governor Ziaul Hasan Siddiqi said the interest rate of the EDF is fixed by the LIBOR (London inter-bank offered rate).
FBCCI president AK Azad sought government support to resolve the problems of the RMG sector.
BKMEA president Salim Osman said they did not get any benefit out of the government-announced stimulus package and he demanded quick implementation of the announcement.
He also demanded uninterrupted supply of gas and power to grow industry faster.
The business leaders demanded supply of diesel and furnace oil to the manufacturing units with the same price which Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation spends for import. They said they do not want subsidy on diesel and furnace oil.

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