BKMEA wants 42 months instead of 18 to wipe out stimulus loans

Knitwear makers have asked for 42 months, up from the 18 months allocated by the government, to wipe out the Tk 7,500 crore stimulus loan payments made to them in 2020 to pay workers’ wages and allowances.

AKM Salim Osman, president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), made the appeal on January 4 in a letter to Fazle Kabir, Governor of the Bank of Bangladesh.

Osman said knitwear manufacturers were facing a crisis in shipping goods due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In many cases, exporters also receive late payments from international retailers and brands, he said.

The BKMEA has also asked the central bank to extend the limit of the Export Development Fund (EDF) up to $ 30 million for each member of the association.

If necessary, BKMEA members should also be allowed to receive more than $ 30 million from the EDF, Osman said in the letter.

The total EDF allocation should also be increased to $ 5 billion so that exporters can borrow money from this fund at low interest rates, he said.

In addition, the repayment period for loans borrowed from the EDF should also be extended until December 31 of this year.

During the peak hours of Covid-19, the majority of local exporters continued to operate even with losses as international retailers and brands paid less and delayed their payment, he said.

BKMEA vice president Fazlee Shamim Ehsan said they asked for 42 months because they wanted to wipe out a third of every loan payment in a month.

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