75 firms get BB nod to borrow funds from stimulus package
Seventy-five companies, including some large groups, have secured approval from the central bank to receive low-cost loans under the stimulus package dedicated to big borrowers in the industrial and service sector. Banks have begun applying to the central bank from May 4, seeking consent so that the companies can get the funds as they set off to make a turnaround from the ongoing economic fallout brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The companies, which include Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills (BSRM), the largest steel-maker in the country, GPH Ispat, another steel-maker, Runner Automobiles and Shanta Holdings, have bagged approval to borrow nearly Tk 2,080 crore from the Tk 30,000-crore stimulus package. The central bank took a decision on April 12 to introduce the stimulus package, allowing banks to get an interest subsidy of 4.50 per cent on disbursed loans, which the end-users will get at 9 per cent. The banking regulator later formed a refinance scheme of Tk 15,000 crore for the large borrowers as well, much to the relief of the cash-strapped banking sector that had been fretting about implementing the large package.BSRM got the permission to borrow Tk 17.50 crore, GPH IspatTk 15 crore, Runner Automobiles Tk 10 crore, Shanta Holdings Tk 25 and Ifad Autos Tk 15 crore. The funds would be disbursed in the form of working capital and carry a maximum repayment tenure of one year. Only 10 companies had managed approval from the central bank last month, but the affected corporate entities have taken initiatives to secure the loans since the beginning of June. City Bank has accepted applications from 76 corporate organisations to provide loans worth Tk 1,023 crore. Of the applicants, 18 obtained the central bank’s nod to borrow a combined of Tk 350 crore, said its managing director MashrurArefin.City Bank will get around Tk 500 crore from the central bank’s scheme. “We will apply for this in the quickest possible time. Only one bank – IFIC – has so far requested the BB for the release of the fund against its lending, said a BB official. The private commercial bank has lent Tk 4.70 crore to three companies.Eastern Bank has selected a good number of clients for loans amounting to Tk 985 crore, said its managing director Ali Reza Iftekhar. The bank has obtained approval to give out Tk 354 crore in favour of 29 companies.
Govt-backed loans for state enterprises rise to Tk 60,653 Cr
Taxpayer-guaranteed loans for Biman Bangladesh Airlines more than doubled to Tk 10,279 crore as the state-run carrier took credits to buy new Boeing aircraft. The guaranteed amount stood at Tk 4,937 crore last fiscal year. The carrier received guarantees from the government for the loans from JP Morgan, US Exim Bank, Sonali Bank and HSBC. The latest credit guarantee includes Tk 2,654 crore that Biman took from state-run Sonali Bank in December last year to buy Boeing 787-9 aircraft and spare engines. It took another Tk 977 crore for the purchase of the third Boeing 787-8 in July last year, according to a document of the finance ministry.The airline borrowed Tk 1,000 crore in working capital loans from state-run Sonali Bank under the stimulus packages unveiled by the government to tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In total, the publicly-guaranteed loans at Biman account for a sixth of the credit backed by the taxpayers in the current fiscal year. The government’s guarantee and counter guarantee for the loans at state-owned enterprises (SoEs) stood at Tk 60,653 crore as of May, which is 2.16 per cent of the projected GDP of fiscal year 2019-20 and would account for 10.68 per cent of the government expenditure in 2020-21, according to the mid-term macroeconomic policy statement. The total amount is about 5 per cent higher than Tk 57,825 crore in the last fiscal year.Of the indirect debt, 58.61 per cent are in the power and energy sector, 16.98 per cent at Biman and 6.07 per cent in the agriculture sector. The power sector accounts for 55.63 per cent, or Tk 33,741 crore of the total taxpayer-guaranteed debt. It was Tk 33,777 crore in FY19. The guarantee covered Tk 2,458 crore secured by Ashuganj Power Station for a 450-megawatt power project and another Tk 1,188 crore for a 225MW power project. Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) borrowed Tk 1,596 crore from Japan Bank for International Cooperation for Bibiyana-3 gas-based power plant and Tk 1,587 crore under a syndication for 300MW power project in Shahjibazar. Northwest Power Generation Company Ltd took two loans, respectively Tk 1,358 crore and Tk 1,487 crore for the second and third units of the 225MW combined cycle power plant in Sirajganj. Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company borrowed Tk 3,902 crore from Exim Bank of India for the coal-based power plant in Rampal. Bangladesh-China Power Company Ltd secured Tk 12,447 crore from Exim Bank of China for the Payra 1,320MW thermal power plant.The government has also provided guarantee for loans handed out by Bangladesh Krishi Bank and RajshahiKrishiUnnayan Bank of Tk 3,680 crore, up from Tk 3,143 crore a year ago. The guarantee in the energy sector was given as state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation imported crude and refined oil worth Tk 1,198 crore, down from Tk 3,381 crore in FY19. The total guarantee also included Tk 1,168 crore for theBangabandhu satellite project. The government has formulated a policy to monitor the indirect debt so that they don’t turn into direct debts for the country, the finance ministry’s policy statement said. It is hoped that the sovereign guarantee and counter guarantee guidelines would help the government keep the indirect debt at a tolerable level. Public debt in Bangladesh was $105 billion in FY2019, around 34.9 per cent of GDP, and the external public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) debt ratio was 14.5 per cent of GDP. Both are low, said the Asian Development Bank recently. The additional external debt of $2.9 billion, as the government projected to tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, will increase both the external PPG debt-GDP ratio and public debt-GDP ratio by 0.9 per cent in FY2020.
JICA, IFC to give $2.1b for private seaport, industrial park
The coronavirus pandemic seems to have failed to create obstacles for certain big business initiatives taken by ambitious entrepreneurs, who are always on the lookout for ways to take their firms to the next level. Such is the case with Sojitz Corporation and Energypac, who managed to secure a substantial amount of funds from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) to establish Bangladesh’s first private seaport in Chattogram. Sojitz, a leading Japanese business group, and Energypac, a local conglomerate, will also construct an industrial park on over 1,000 acres of land at Bangabandhu Sheikh MujibShilpa Nagar (BSMSN) in Chattogram.Initially, JICA will provide the necessary funding for a final feasibility study on the seaport. The organisation will then finance up to $2 billion for the port’s infrastructure development. Besides, IFC will provide $100 million in funding for the port’s construction as well. As per the initial feasibility study, both Sojitz and Energypac will need to invest about $1.2 billion within 2024 to complete the first phase of development of the seaport. To fully complete the project, an estimated $2.5 billion will be invested. The port will be economically viable and will be used by the BSMSN to handle bulk quantity of products after operations start in full swing in the zone in 2030,” Aktar told The Daily Star. The existing Chattogram port will not be able to handle the increase in import and export activities when the economic zone becomes fully functional in 2030. This is why a modern and efficient seaport is essential for the proper handling of export and import activities at the zone, he added. Once complete, the seaport will be able to house 30,000 to 40,000-tonne cargo vessels, which is far greater than the present 10,000-tonne capacity of Chattogram port. At present, there is no scope to build additional jetties at Chattogram port. The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) have already allocated a 1,000-acre plot for the project.Earlier, Humayun Rashid, managing director of Energypac, told The Daily Star that initially, $500 million would be invested in the project while a further $2 billion will be added in phases to establish the country’s maiden private seaport. The joint venture is also interested in keeping the government involved in their $2-billion plan to build a seaport and energy industrial park in Chattogram under a public-private partnership (PPP).The new port and industrial park could create up to 100,000 jobs and business opportunities for different sectors, including logistics and shipping.Sojitz has been working in Bangladesh since 1951 and was the contractor for a number of major construction projects, including the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka and an integrated steel plant in Chattogram. Back in 1951, the corporation opened liaison offices in both Dhaka and Chattogram but offices were eventually closed down in 2004. In June 2018, however, Sojitz opened a new office in Dhaka.
LankaBangla Finance introduced two unique deposit schemes “Swasti” and “Protiva” with life insurance coverage free of cost in Bangladesh. The main objective of these two landmark deposit schemes is to build regular savings habits with an assurance of getting full maturity value for any unanticipated incident. LankaBangla Finance will pay the premium on behalf of the customers.In this regard, Senior Executive Vice President & Head of Retail Business, LankaBangla Finance Limited, Khurshed Alam said, “Thinking about the future of the customers, we come up with two innovative and new deposit schemes, “Swasti” and “Protiva” with insurance coverage. We are hopeful that the “Swasti” deposit scheme will ensure a carefree life for the customer and the “Protiva” deposit scheme will ensure the safety of future generations.
Padma Bank Limited launched a software ‘Work from home” which is being used now by 300 employees of the bank, working from home. The software was inaugurated at Padma Bank’s Gulshan head office on Sunday by Padma Bank Deputy Managing Director Shahadat Hossain and Business Head Zabed Amin.The bank has recently assigned 300 employees to work from home with the view to ensure social distancing and a safe environment in branch premises. Employees at home now can open accounts, transfer funds initiate RTGS, BEFTN, process clearing cheques, process Loan files, record their daily activity etc.