The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) on Friday asked the government to form an emergency fund so that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and informal sector employees can be paid off their salaries.
Claiming that the MSMEs are experiencing a major blow due to the coronavirus pandemic, the DCCI also rolled out a host of demands and recommendations to the government.
MSMEs with a Tk1-crore annual turnover can take loans from the emergency fund at one percent interest rate. Meanwhile, the businesses with turnover of more than Tk1 crore will be eligible for loans at two percent interest, proposed the DCCI.
In a press release, the DCCI said that factories in Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation estates can be brought under the loan facilities with one year grace period.
The DCCI also suggested a moratorium on loan repayments for next one year for the MSMEs.
Besides, the DCCI recommended for turning SME refinancing fund into SME pre-financing fund to help make businesses easier.
Other demands of the Dhaka Chamber include six-month rent relief for MSMEs on government lands, VAT waiver on utility bills and licence renewal and relieving advance tax on import of essentials, medical kits and equipment.
Simultaneously, the Dhaka Chamber advocated for speeding up the VAT credit and advance tax process to boost up cash flow.
The DCCI press release said informal businesses are the most affected in coronavirus fallout, and businessmen and workers in this sector fear losing the capital or job.
The Dhaka Chamber asked the government for bringing those businessmen and employees under the social safety network.
"The DCCI believes MSMEs will survive this tough situation if the recommendations are followed, and MSMEs will help establish the strong base of the future economy," concluded the press statement.