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RMG exporters demand special loan package to offset unrest losses

Staff Correspondent

The country’s apparel exporters hold a meeting with the chairmen and managing directors of banks and insurance companies at the BGMEA headquarters in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photoThe country’s apparel exporters hold a meeting with the chairmen and managing directors of banks and insurance companies at the BGMEA headquarters in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Apparel exporters on Tuesday asked the bankers to arrange a special loan package including low-interest ‘packing credit’ for giving workers wages and blocking of term loans without any interest for next two years as ongoing political unrest is hindering their business severely.
In a view exchange meeting with the chairmen and managing directors of banks and insurance companies on ‘prevailing unstable situation and its adverse impacts on readymade garment sector’, the RMG factory owners also demanded for relaxing the guideline of loan classification for two years to give a cushion to the country’s readymade garment sector.
The bankers, however, said that they were keenly interested to do all for the betterment of the garment sector but the demands which have been raised by the sector leaders are not under the jurisdiction of bank chairmen and managing directors, but the finance ministry and central bank.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association jointly organised the meeting at the BGMEA conference room in the city.
The BGMEA president Atiqul Islam placed five-point demands to the bankers including not to declare classified loans of any textile, garment and backward linkage industries within two years from fourth quarter of 2013 and uninterrupted facilities on letters of credit and block instalments of any loan for next two years.
Atiqul Islam said that the
export business has been hampering severely in the last couple of months as the transportation of raw materials and finished goods almost collapsed due to frequent strikes and blockades.
‘At the same time, when we are facing a lot of challenges including political instability and labour unrest, a new wage structure has been introduced with 76 per cent hike.  Despite difficulties, we want to implement the new package of workers’ wage and so the support of bankers is very much needed in this time,’ he said.
The BKMEA president AKM Salim Osman urged the bankers to allow a special packing credit for ensuring workers’ wages for November-December 2013 and January-February 1014.
He assured bankers that the BGMEA and BKMEA would take responsibility of the loan and it will be adjusted in next two years.
Urging the politicians to shun confrontational politics, Salim said, ‘Do not make losses to business doing politics whimsically and give relief to us to do business.’   
Warning the politicians, he said, ‘If the businessmen took to the streets, you (politicians) would not get the chance to sit in the parliament.’
The Bankers Association of Bangladesh president Nazrul Islam Mazumder said that the demands of the textile sector leaders were logical, but bank chairmen and managing directors have no power to meet the demands as they work under the rules and regulations of the central bank.
He suggested the factory owners to meet the finance minister and the Bangladesh Bank governor to relax some provisions of classification and said that two years time is a long time for the banks.  The timeframe of facilities could be six months to one year, he added.
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed said that as a business leader he would take a move to talk with the finance minister to resolve the problems of the garment exporters.
He is also the chairman of Standard Bank Ltd. He said that his board is ready to give all out support to the business community and it would not be difficult to meet the demands of garments sector if finance ministry allows.
Akram urged the bankers to do something for the small businesses those who were affected largely in the frequent political turmoil.
The former BGMEA presidents Anisur Rahman Sinha, Annisul Huq, Abdus Salam Murshedy, Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin and Anwar-ul-Alam Chowdhury, Association of Bankers, Bangladesh president Nurul Amin and Rupali Bank Ltd Chairman Ahmed Al-Kabir, among others, spoke on the occasion. 




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