Bangladesh announces $500 mn recession relief package

April 19th, 2009 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, April 19 (DPA) Bangladesh Sunday announced an economic stimulus package worth over $500 million to offset the fallout of global economic meltdown, officials said.
Finance Minister A.M.A. Muhith announced the package amounting to $500 million for the fourth quarter of the current fiscal to increase subsidies in power, agriculture and export sectors.

“The package will be implemented in two phases,” the minister said detailing an emergency step for the current 2008-2009 fiscal year, to be ended in June 30 this year, and a medium to long-term programme to be implemented in 2009-10 fiscal year.

The government would raise the budget for power, agriculture and export sectors and offer cash incentives for the recession-hit export sector, including jute and jute goods, leather and leather goods and frozen fish.

However, the government remained silent about the ready-made garment industry (RMG), the major export earning sector of the country.

In initial reaction, the president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Annisul Haq, also a garment exporter, said that the government package would upset ready-made garment exporters.

Muhith said that while export growth of the apparel exports had slowed, it not yet suffered negative growth to deserve cash assistance at the moment.

“We’re not saying they will not be affected. But as per the projection up to June this year, time has not yet come to provide them with cash assistance. It won’t be justified,” he said.

Incentives for export of locally-produced textiles, agricultural commodities and processed foods will also remain there, the finance minister said.

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