The borrower-starved Prabashi Kallyan Bank has fallen much behind when it comes to the stimulus package disbursement aimed at creating employment for workers returning home after losing their jobs abroad.
The bank is supposed to disburse Tk500 crore in the current financial year but by the end of the first eight months of the current fiscal, the bank was able to distribute only 6% of the amount.
There is no publicity at the branch level to increase the disbursement of loans, according to sources.
In the budget of FY 2020-21, Prabashi Kallyan Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank, Palli Sanchay Bank and Bangladesh Palli Karma-Shayak Foundation (PFSF) have been instrumental in creating employment for the marginalised, unemployed and rural poor by providing loans.
The government allocated a total of Tk2,000 crore to the four organisations, each receiving Tk500 crore.
The four banks have so far distributed Tk780 crore to 1,57,000 people.
Last August, the finance ministry released Tk250 crore to each of the institutions, and it is releasing the remaining Tk250 crore to three of the institutions, except Prabashi Kallyan Bank, as they have completed the distribution of their allocation.
Prabashi Kallyan Bank has so far disbursed only Tk30 crore.
Launched in 2011, the expatriate welfare bank has been providing loan facilities to workers who have returned home and are interested in going abroad through its 71 branches.
Since its inception, it has disbursed loans to only 42,000 expatriate workers.
The bank appears to have made lacklustre efforts in distributing Tk500 crore of the incentives announced by the government. As a result, it has been able to give loans to only 1,606 people in the six months after receiving the fund.
Prabashi Kallyan Bank will provide loans at 4% interest to expatriates who returned home after last January.
Officials of the bank said they had been suffering from a manpower crisis. Moreover, due to corona, they could not motivate the returnee workers to take out loans. However, none of those who came to the branch on their own initiative were deprived, they said, adding that an unsecured loan of up to Tk3 lakh was being given.
Mohammad Kamal Hossain, Principal Executive Officer of Prabashi Kallyan Bank, told The Business Standard that the expected success in disbursement of incentive money was not achieved due to the manpower crisis and corona situation.
"All those who have applied to us have been given loans. Hopefully, the rest of the money will be distributed soon," he said.
During the coronavirus period, PKSF -- Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF), an apex development organization -- reached out to most people with government incentives.
The organisation has disbursed Tk250 crore in the first phase as a loan to about 84,000 unemployed, marginalised and poor people.
The PKSF has disbursed these loans through their affiliates. The loan disbursement was completed at the customer level in December after receiving the first tranche of money in August and distributed it among the affiliates in November.
The PKSF disburses loans at 5% interest to its affiliates that lend their customers at field level at 18% interest for two years.
The loans are being disbursed outside the city corporations and district town areas. A borrower can get a loan of up to a maximum of Tk1 lakh.
PKSF DMD Md Jasim Uddin told The Business Standard that the PKSF would get the remaining Tk250 crore from the government this week.
Those who would be given loans from this money had already been listed. Once the money was received, it would be possible to distribute it soon, he added.
"We have given Tk2,200 crore to the affiliated organisations of PKSF from last July to December," Jasim Uddin said, adding that Tk27,500 crore had been disbursed at the field level.
The state-owned Karmasangsthan Bank also disbursed Tk250 crore in the first phase as loans to 15,266 customers by December.
Kaniz Fatema, chairman of Karmasangsthan Bank, told The Business Standard that the first phase of disbursement at a maximum interest of 9% had been completed.
"We will start distributing Tk250 crore in the second phase soon. It will not take much time to disburse the loan through our 255 branches across the country," she said.
Akbar Hossain, managing director of Palli Sanchay Bank, told TBS that the disbursement of Tk250-crore loan among about 56,000 customers was completed in December alone.
He said the bank customers had received the loan at 5% interest.
"We have applied to the Ministry of Finance for the release of the remaining Tk250 crore," he added.
"New loans from the stimulus package have been given to our old customers who have been able to come back to work. In addition, we have also lent new customers," he continued. ***