64 Ctg firms among top 300 loan defaulters
Kazi Zahidul HasanÂ :
As many as 64 business firms in Chattogram are on the list of 300 top defaulters, which unveiled by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the Parliament on Saturday.
The top 300 defaulters owe Tk 70,571 crore from the country's banks and financial institutions, as per the Credit Information Bureau of Bangladesh Bank.
In a scripted answer, the Finance Minister said the top 300 loan defaulters have defaulted loan of Tk 50,942 crore in the banks.
Of the total amount, Chattogram-based companies, mostly involved in ship-breaking industry, consumer goods, edible oil and steel products, had Tk 12,000 crore in combined defaulted loan as of December last year.
Samannaz Super Oil, an enterprise of Chattogram-based conglomerate SA Group, topped the list of 300 defaulters, with a defaulted loan of Tk 1,049 crore.
Insiders said, imprudent business and lending operation by companies and banks have made the port city for fertile ground of loan defaulters, causing a serious adverse impact on the city's overall economic activities.
They alleged that most of the companies borrowed big fund, but did not utilise it to expand their businesses or productive purpose, rather bought lands and luxury cars and finally they became defaulters. Â
"Even, some of them fled the country owing big funds from banks," said an anonymous businessman of Chattogram.
When asked, Mahbubul Alam, President of ChittagongÂ Â Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) told The New Nation yesterday that a number of factors led the business firms to defaulters.
"Aggressive lending and ups and downs in business are among the prime causes, he said, adding, "Those who turned defaulters due to ups and downs in business should be given fresh lifeline, but the 'willful' defaulters must not go unpunished."Â Â Â Â Â
Mahbubul Alam pointed out that some companies also turned defaulters after failing to get gas connection in their production units.
"Commodity traders and ship-breaking industry owners have become loan defaulters due mainly to ups and downs in their business."Â Â Â
The CCCI leader also demanded strict punishment against those involved in misappropriating bank funds.
He also called for bringing down the interest rate to single digit to encourage private investment.