BB came to small businesses’ rescue with a Tk 20,000cr package
Last week, Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, waved the red flag on what is increasingly looking to be a legacy of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic: a wave of small business failures. The pandemic is presenting acute risks to small businesses. If a small or medium-sized business becomes insolvent because the economy recovers too slowly, we lose more than just that business. These businesses are the heart of our economy and often embody the work of generations. The sector incurred losses of about Tk 92,000 crore since the onset of the pandemic-induced economic slowdown, said the think-tank recently. Given their importance, the Bangladesh Bank on April 13 announced a Tk 20,000 crore-stimulus package for the sector.The package has to be implemented by banks but they will get 50 per cent of the fund disbursed to the borrowers from the BB.And yet, funds continue to elude the cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) for banks’ reluctance to disburse loans to them for fear of losses. In short, this is a perfect catch-22 situation. As per the guideline of the stimulus package, the CMSMEs can take working capital at 9 per cent interest. Of the interest, 4 per cent will be borne by the borrowers and 5 per cent by the government. But only five banks have so far given out Tk 200 crore in loans under the package.The BB asked banks to disburse 50 per cent loans of the stimulus package in the manufacturing sector, 30 per cent in the service sector and 20 per cent in the trading sector, which is not favourable for lenders. Besides, a client of the trading sector will get a maximum loan of 25 per cent of its annual turnover from a bank. But, the majority of banks traditionally give out loans to the trading sector as the segment is the major part of the economy. Besides, the ratio of 25 per cent is too much little as the SME clients usually take out small-sized loans from banks.A fresh loan worth Tk 5 lakh is required urgently to run the business, she said, adding that she has furloughed half of her 26 member-strong roster.For instance, lenders disbursed Tk 167,971 crore in SME loans last year, so the amount of stimulus package is not large given the volume of the annual disbursed fund.But the lenders could show interest in investing on treasury bonds due to its higher interest rate, instead of disbursing funds to the SME sector. The interest rate on the 20-year Treasury bond stood at 8.94 per cent on June 24. Lenders will be able to make a profit by way of giving out SME loans if they could charge 12-13 per cent interest, Khan said.
Omera gets $20m from IFC to meet funding needs
The International Finance Corporation will lend $20 million to Omera Petroleum in order to help the Bangladeshi company meet funding requirements to face the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. The funding will help Omera, a subsidiary of Mobil Jamuna Bangladesh, enhance storage and filling capacity and overcome challenges resulting from the ongoing limited access to foreign currency.The loan’s tenure is four years and it will be paid back on a quarterly basis by Omera, which has been engaged in import, storage, bottling and distribution of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) since 2015.It is the second loan from the IFC, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, disbursed through its Covid-19 fast-track financing support package. The Washington-based financial institution announced a $8 billion global fast-track financing package in March to support business activity and preserve jobs in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. In 2018, the IFC invested $20 million as a long-term loan in Omera Petroleum to help the company double its capacity and increase the availability of LPG, especially in rural areas. The loan was for five years. The Omera has a plan to raise Tk 238.43 crore from the stock market as well to expand its LPG business.It has already completed its road show to go public. It will purchase an ocean-going vessel with a capacity of 4,000 tonnes of LPG with the proceeds of the IPO. Tk 46.75 crore will be spent to repay bank loans.Omera conducts its business activities through four LPG plants located in Ghorashal, Mirsharai, Bogura and main terminal in Mongla. Its current storage capacity is almost 10,000 tonnes with a bottling capacity of 60,000 cylinders per day.
Chevron Bangladesh gets new president
Eric M. Walker has been appointed President of Chevron Bangladesh companies based in Dhaka, commencing his position in July 2020. Eric succeeds Neil Menzies, who will be taking on a new position with the company in the United States.Eric began his Chevron career in 1987 as a petroleum engineer and has held numerous technical and management positions of increasing responsibility. Eric holds a Bachelor’s degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana.
Pubali Bank gets new AMD
The Board of Directors of Pubali Bank Limited has recently promoted Mohammad Ali as Additional Managing Director (AMD) & Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Bank. Prior to his promotion Mohammad Ali was Deputy Managing Director of the Bank. He joined in Pubali Bank Ltd. as General Manager and Chief Technical Officer in 2008.