National, Front Page

Landmark steps for stable job market

Published : 13 Oct 2020 09:30 PM | Updated : 14 Oct 2020 06:14 PM

The government has taken various strong steps to make the country’s job market stable and ensure employment for people rendered unemployed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already announced a stimulus package of Tk 2,000 crore to create employment for youths and returnee expatriates who lost jobs during the crisis, a senior Finance ministry official said. 

About two lakh people will reap benefit of the package, he added. 

He said the first tranche of Tk 1,000 crore of the incentive package has already been disbursed and the remaining Tk 1,000 crore will be given to the designated banks and agencies at the same rate of 5 percent to 9 percent interest. 

The loan limit is from Tk40,000 to Tk 5,00,000, he said adding that the second installment of the package will be released soon.

The Probashi Kallyan Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank, Palli Sanchay Bank and the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) are distributing the loan. 

In this regard, Mahtab Jabin, the managing director (MD) of the Prabasi Kalyan Bank, said, “Loan disbursement activities have already started. The loan is being given at the rate of 6 percent for women entrepreneurs and 9 percent for male entrepreneurs.”

On the other hand, the government is also going to take up a mega project involving almost Tk 2,200 crore to create one lakh entrepreneurs from youths and returnee expatriates, the official said.

As part of its move, a total of three lakh unemployed people will get loan facility on low interest and easy terms. 

The government is undertaking the project with the help of the World Bank to provide employment to a large number of people who have become unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project titled “Recovery and Advancement of Informal Sector Employment or Rise” will provide employment to one lakh people as well as train them to become entrepreneurs.

All kinds of assistance including training will be given to the returnees to become entrepreneurs or to enter the job market abroad again. 

A pilot project is being launched soon. 

Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) will work on the informal sector in the project while the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment will work with the returnee expatriates. 

PKSF DMD Md Fazlul Quader said, "If the project is launched, it will be a landmark step. It will play a big role in employment in the country.”

“Small investors will get loans at very low interest rates,” he said adding that, there is a plan to launch the pilot project next November.

According to sources, the initial cost of the project, which will create employment in the informal sector and bring back the income of expatriates, has been estimated at around Tk 2,200 crore. 

Of this, the World Bank will provide Tk 1,271 crore while PKSF will pay almost Tk 850 crore.

The main target of the project will be to help the entrepreneurs who lost their jobs or lost money during the corona period.

In order to increase their skills, about one lakh people will be given various business training as well as necessary loan assistance. 

Entrepreneurs will get loans from a minimum of Tk 50,000 to a maximum of Tk 10 lakh from this project at 18 percent interest rate. 

The amount of this loan will be further increased in the future. 

The project will target lower-middle class and lower income group.

Eminent economist Dr Kazi Kholiquzzaman and also Chairman of PKSF told the Bangladesh Post, “We are distributing almost Tk 250 crore to the small entrepreneurs affected by the Corona.” 

Basically, this easy-term loan has been given to them for creating employment in the country, he added.

This will help many affected small entrepreneurs during the crisis, he said adding that the small entrepreneurs affected by the Corona are not getting the required funds from any other organisation.

“Now PKSF will provide the necessary funds to them, so that they can get their business or jobs back,” he mentioned.