The Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association has demanded repealing the condition of submitting trade licence compulsorily by small and micro traders, who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, to get collateral-free loans.
It has demanded that loans be given only against identity cards and guarantors.
The demand came from a press conference organised by the association at the National Press Club on Sunday morning. President of the association Md Helal Uddin read out a written statement.
The association claimed that although there was an incentive package for small, medium, and micro traders, they were not getting proper funds from it.
In case of collateral-free loans, the authorities concerned instructed to distribute such loans only against identity cards. But recently, the Bangladesh Bank instructed not to provide loans without trade licence.
So, it has become more difficult for these traders to get loans, they said at the press conference.
Helal said, "When no private banks were lending to small traders, IFIC Bank entered into an agreement with the shop owners' association to lend up to Tk50,000 without collateral. But when the Bangladesh Bank instructed not to disburse loans without trade licence, IFIC Bank also stopped the disbursement process."
He continued, "It costs around Tk8,000 to have a trade licence. But a small seller, who sells products on a van, is unable to arrange that amount. He cannot spend that money to get a loan of Tk15,000-20,000."
Mentioning that the new law makes it mandatory to file a VAT return every month for a trade licence, he said, "If you do not file a return, you will have to pay a fine of Tk10,000 per month. A small shop cannot afford this amount."
At the same time, the association demanded re-implementation of the law to keep small and micro traders exempted from VAT up to the annual turnover limit of Tk50 lakh passed in the budget of 2019-20 fiscal year.
It was also announced at the press conference that buyers and sellers without masks would not be allowed to enter any business establishment from November 1.