The previous deadline was set to expire on March 31

The central bank has further extended the deadline for disbursement of the Tk 5,000-crore stimulus package for the pandemic-hit agricultural sector until June 30 this year.

The previous deadline was set to expire on March 31.

Bangladesh Bank (BB) extended the deadline for smooth implementation of the incentive fund for the agriculture sector, reads a notice issued by the central bank on Wednesday.

A lender can also disburse a maximum of 40 per cent of its agricultural loan disbursement target to asingle subsector, which was 30 per cent previously.

As many as 43 banks in April last year signed participation agreements with the BB on disbursing farm credit from the low-cost stimulus fund. The BB also set separate targets for those banks to disburse the low-cost loans.

At the end of February this year, the 43 lenders disbursed Tk 3,563.23 crore among 151,717 farmers, which was 71.26 per cent of the total funds.

Senior central bank officials expressed their dissatisfaction over the slow disbursement of loans to the agriculture and the cottage, micro, small, and medium enterprise sectors from the stimulus funds.

To tackle the economic losses caused by the outbreak of the deadly virus, the BB on April 14 last year launched a Tk 5,000-crore stimulus fund for the agriculture sector.

The tenure for the loans was set at 18 months, including a grace period of six months.

Banks will borrow the funds at a one per cent interest rate and lend at four per cent to farmers in line with the BB guidelines.

But the stimulus funds did not reach the marginal farmers due to issues related to collateral and bureaucratic complexities in the banks, according to experts.

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