BB prods banks to attain farm credit target

Central bank eases forex rules for exporters

| Updated: January 24, 2019 10:16:59

FE file photo used for representation FE file photo used for representation

The central bank has asked commercial banks for taking effective measures to achieve their agro-credit disbursement targets by the end of this fiscal, officials said.

The instruction came at a special meeting with senior officials of 30 foreign and local private banks at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) headquarters in Dhaka on Tuesday.

BB Agricultural Credit Department general manager Manoj Kanti Bairagi chaired the event where BB executive director Ashok Kumar Dey was present as the chief guest.

The banks, whose disbursement performance was below 50 per cent, made a commitment to achieving their targets by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018-19.

At the meeting, they also provided updated information on the overall agro-credit activity in line with the central bank's requirements, according to BB officials.

"We'll closely review the banks' performance to help them achieve their targets by the end of FY '19," a senior BB official told the FE after the meeting.

The BB's latest moves came against the backdrop of a falling trend in farm credit disbursement in recent months of this fiscal.

The agriculture loan disbursement dropped by nearly 5.0 per cent to Tk 102.31 billion during the July-December period of FY '19 from Tk 107.56 billion in the same period last fiscal.

The next review meeting of all private commercial banks and foreign commercial banks is due for February 20 at the BB headquarters, the BB official disclosed.

He said the central bank will take action against the banks if they fail to achieve their farm-loan disbursement targets by the time frame.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Bank (BB) has relaxed regulations, allowing banks to issue guarantees in favour of the authorities concerned in the country of import prior approval from the central bank to facilitate export business.

"We've relaxed our foreign exchange regulations to help exporters issue bank guarantees in favour of competent authorities in the country of import for ensuring the quality of their exportable products," a BB senior official told the FE.

He also said authorised dealer (AD) banks in foreign exchange of Bangladesh earlier issued such guarantee after receiving permission from the central bank.

"We've taken the decision on relaxation of such regulations in line with the exporters' requests," the central banker explained.

The central bank issued a circular in this regard on Tuesday and asked all the ADs in foreign exchange in Bangladesh to comply with the relaxations properly.

"It is observed that exporters need to furnish guarantees to quality standard authorities/agencies in the country of import as a commitment to comply with their specified quality standards," the BB said in the circular.

To facilitate the transactions, it has been decided that ADs may, on account of Bangladeshi exporters, issue guarantees in favour of such competent authorities/agencies in the country of import, it added.

"Such guarantee will be issued subject to usual norms, and export performance of the exporter and potential export expectation," the central banker noted.

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