Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said steps are underway to bring down bank loan interest rate to single digit in all banks, noting that higher interest rate naturally causes loan defaults.
"We want to bring it (bank loan interest rate) down to single digit. In the meantime, we’ve taken appropriate measurers so that investment becomes easier,” she said while handing over the prestigious National Export Trophy in the city.
Hasina said investing with higher interest rate loan naturally creates loan defaulters. “Because it’s not possible to build an industry just after taking money (from banks),” she said.
The Prime Minister gave awards to 66 companies for their extraordinary performance in the country’s export earnings. She gave away the trophies under 28 categories at the ceremony jointly organised by Commerce Ministry and Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.
Twenty-nine of the companies were selected for National Export Trophy 2016-17 gold trophy, 21 for silver and 16 for bronze ones.
Talking about the government's directive to bring the bank loan interest rate to single digit, Hasina said some banks are already obeying the directive while some are yet to follow suit.
"We’re in discussion about the matter and are providing facilities they (banks) need. We want to bring it to single digit," she said.
Putting emphasis on industrialization, the Prime Minister said, "We have taken a plan for industrialisation and are moving forward with it. We’ve to save our agricultural lands, we’re establishing 100 economic zones across the country for local and foreign investment."
She also mentioned that for attracting investment to these economic zones, the government is offering special incentives, including ensuring all sorts of services in the zones.
About the gas supply, the Prime Minister said as the country has limited reserve of gas in its wells, the government is importing liquid natural gas (LNG) to meet the growing gas demand.
"We’ve given a special attention to ensuring that there’ll be no gas crisis in the country in the future," she said adding that the government has taken a plan to import LNG through pipeline.
Hasina urged the businesspeople to take special initiatives considering the issues of waste management and preservation of nature from the very beginning of setting up industries. "You’ve to start proper waste management from the very beginning, you’ve to keep a water reservoir and harvest rain water."
Sheikh Hasina also asked them to plant trees to protect the environment.
The Prime Minister called on the exporters to add new products to country's export basket. "You’ve to know the demands of various countries and produce your products in line with that…you’ve to grab new markets."
She also asked the businesspeople to look into the demands of non-traditional products across the globe alongside the export of traditional ones.
Chaired by Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, the function was addressed, among others, by Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Commerce Ministry Tofail Ahmed, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Sheikh Fazle Fahim, Senior Secretary of the Commerce Ministry Md Mofizul Islam and EPB Vice-Chairman Fatima Yasmin.