Friday, October 16, 2009

BB mounts multi-layer watch on farm loans

Friday, October 16, 2009

The central bank has put in place a three-tier monitoring system to ensure a proper distribution of Tk 12,000 crore in farm loans across the county.

"Apart from BB's monitoring, the respective banks will also monitor their own distribution," said Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman at a discussion meeting with reporters at the central bank's Rajshahi office yesterday.

"We are also training 80 new officials. With the completion of their training, the officials will spread across the country and monitor the distribution for 15 days," Rahman said.

BB has asked all banks to record the mobile numbers of farmers who will be given loans so that the monitoring staff can contact them easily about loan distribution.

Rahman said the latest policy has set the target for agricultural loans 25 percent higher at Tk 12,000 crore.

"It's a big jump and it includes Tk 500 crore for distribution among sharecroppers. So, we are keen to ensure proper distribution."

The central bank chief observed that it is not possible to drive economic growth without boosting agriculture.

"If agro-based industries and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) flourish, Rajshahi region will a big driving force for the economy," Rahman said.

"Lack of gas and power is hindering the growth of industries in Rajshahi, but the region has fertile lands where lies the potential for agro-based industries."

"If the banks agree to provide loans to silk-based SMEs, the central bank will provide funds at a 5 percent interest rate," Rahman said.

"Based on the agriculture and remittance, we are now proud of a reserve of over $9 billion, and the reserve is likely to reach $10 billion at any time now."

He described the role of banks and said Bangladesh like four other countries are surviving recession because of the stability of banks.

Sardar M Shahjahan, BB Rajshahi branch general manager, and DGM AFM Asaduzzaman were among others who were present with the governor.

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