28-12-2013:The Financial Express: Country's frozen food exporters demanded Friday 100 per cent waiver of interest on all sorts of loans taken from the state-owned and private banks from October 2013 to March 2014. They demanded reintroduction of 10 per cent cash incentive for white fish with retrospective effect from July 2013 which was withdrawn in the current fiscal year and lifting of the ban on Hilsha export immediately.
They placed these demands at a press conference organised by Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association (BFFEA) on 'the recent political unrest and its impact on frozen shrimp and fish sector' at a city hotel on the day. BFFEA President Md Amin Ullah read out the written statement at the press conference.
He said the amount of working capital and term loan for frozen food exporters from the state-owned and private banks stood at around Tk 17.00 billion and interest for October to December quarter stands at Tk 400 million.
"The export activities have been seriously hampered due to the political unrest but we shall have to bear all the expenditures including interest on bank loans, electricity and other utility bills on a regular basis."
"The financial loss in terms of export in the sector from October to December quarter will stand at around Tk 1.80 billion due to the political turmoil and fall in international market price. It has created liquidity crisis in frozen food sector."
BFFEA President said, this year we have failed to grab the Christmas sales orders due to the political programmes including hartals and blockades in the country. "We missed a lot of Christmas shipments and the price of per pound shrimp fell by USD$1 in the international market. For this reason around 10,000 metric tonnes of frozen shrimp and other fishes valued at Tk 10 billion remain stockpiled in the warehouses.
BFFEA President Md Amin Ullah said fish supply for export and its transportation from Satkhira, Bagerhat, Khulna, Patuakhali, Jessore, Narail, Barguna, Barisal, Cox's Bazar, Chokoria, Chandpur, Sunamgonj, Kishoregonj have been stopped due to political unrest.
"For this reason, production in all the processing plants has been stopped but the wages of workers, electricity and other bills and bank loan are increasing gradually. So the exporters are facing severe liquidity crisis and to get rid of this situation we need government support."
He sought extension of installment payment period for all types of term loan starting from 2015 to overcome the financial crisis following the present political unrest coupled with the frequent hartals and blockades. He demanded 15 per cent cash incentive instead of 10 per cent from July 2013 for frozen shrimp and other white fishes to make over the loss of export earnings.
The demands also include reduction of imposed tax at source on export to 0.25 per cent instead of 8 per cent, sanctioning fresh loans to the exporters after providing interest-free block account facility to the frozen products, which remains unsold because of the ongoing political volatility. The exporters also demanded a five-year installment facility to repay the converted block loans with moratorium facility for two years.