Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today announced a new stimulus package to waive Tk 2,000 crore bank interest -- for people affected badly by the nationwide shutdown enforced to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
"Today, we're declaring a new stimulus package, 19th such package. The government will provide interest amounting to Tk 2,000 crore to the banks as a subsidy and it will directly benefit nearly 1.38 crore borrowers."
The premier made the announcement while formally launching the SSC and other equivalent exam results through a videoconference from her official Gono Bhaban residence this morning.
She said the government earlier suspended the payment of interest on loans for two months which people took from the (commercial) banks for business purposes.
"The total amount of that interest now stands at Tk 16,549 crore and of the money, the government will give Tk 2,000 crore to the (commercial) banks as subsidy and the borrowers don't need to pay it … We're freeing them from it (interest)," she said.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said the borrowers will pay the rest of the interest in 12-month installments.
"The government has made this arrangement for the benefit of the people as their trade and commerce remained halted for over two months due to coronavirus outbreak," she said.
"We've taken these measures so that people are not overburdened with loans," she added.
The premier said, with the announcement of this new package of Tk 2,000 crore, the total amount of 19 stimulus packages stands at Tk 1,03,117 crore (equivalent to USD 12.13 billion) which is 3.7 percent of total GDP.
"I don't know whether any other country of the world gave such facilities," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has announced special stimulus packages for all sections of people in view of the Covid-19 situation.
"We've given incentive of Tk 5,000 crore to farmers at low interest rate to offset the agricultural fallout of the coronavirus," she said.
The premier mentioned that the government declared separate stimulus packages for big, medium and small industries including cottage industries so that they can overcome the losses caused by the pandemic.
"Even, we've provided special stimulus package for those who do small business and run shops by taking microcredit," she said.
PM's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, PMO Secretary Tofazzal Hossain Mian and PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were present on the occasion, while Secretary of Secondary and Higher Secondary Division Md Mahbub Hossain moderated the results handing over ceremony at the Ministry of Education.