Bangladesh enterpreneurs want half of COVID-19 stimulus funds as grants

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-04-19 02:09:26 BdST

A woman checking clothes at the National SME Product Fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka on Thursday. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Enterpreneurs have called for half of the coronavirus-related financial incentives announced by the government to be disbursed as a grant to tackle the economic crisis stemming from the pandemic.

Sheikh Fazle Fahim, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, made the proposal at a joint consultative meeting of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on Sunday.

"We are proposing that up to 50 per cent of the incentives for small and big businessmen and industry owners be given as a grant," he said.

He also suggested converting at least 5 percent of the financial package for large industry owners into grants.

Fahim said that half of the incentive money received by the entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector also needs to be turned into a grant.

On the rationale for the proposal, he said that if the ongoing wave of COVID-19 in the country continues for another quarter (three months) of the current fiscal year 2020-21, then the small and big industry owners in the country may be put in dire straits.

After the outbreak of coronavirus in the country in March last year, the government announced a total of 21 incentive packages, worth more than Tk 1 trillion to trigger an economic rebound.

Of this, the largest package of Tk 330 billion was allotted to the industrial and service sectors. Another Tk 200 billion package was announced for cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises.

Entrepreneurs are getting the incentive funds in the form of bank loans. Half of the money for these two packages is being provided by Bangladesh Bank.