United Commercial Bank (UCB)

Dhaka, Thursday

18 August 2022

Business Insider Bangladesh

PKB asked to simplify credit regulations for rehabilitation of returned workers

BI Report || BusinessInsider

Published: 19:52, 30 July 2022  
PKB asked to simplify credit regulations for rehabilitation of returned workers

Representational image. BSS file photo.

A number of bankers, civil society leaders and senior officials on Saturday emphasized on designing and developing migrant friendly loan schemes by the Probashi Kalyan Bank for economic reintegration and sustainable livelihoods of the migrants and their families.

Speaking at an advocacy consultation, they urged the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to ease conditions for the returned workers to have access to the reintegration loans by removing the discrepancies between prerequisites and practices.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnyan Program (OKUP) organized the consultation on Sustainable Economic Reintegration of Bangladeshi Migrant Workers: The Role of Probashi Kalyan Bank’ at InterContinental Hotel.

The OKUP conducted research with objectives to gain better understanding the situation relating to the disbursement of the reintegration loan with positive and negative factors to access the migrants to reintegration loan.

Speaking as chief guest, expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry secretary Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen said the bank has been working for rendering services to a segment of population called migrant workers and their families.

As chairman of the bank, he committed to continue steps to simplify the conditions of the loan disbursement among the country’s expatriate workers.

Parliamentarian caucus on migration and development secretary general Mahjabeen Khaled who spoke as guest of honour said information relating to the PKB loans has not been reached to the grassroots level.

Women migrants seeking loans for the entrepreneurs might be encouraged to have access to the loans, she said.

Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) director general Shahidul Alam said that migration literacy and financial literacy could make the migrants and the families more proactive in solving the financial and migration related problems.

Civil society organizations might be involved to improve capacity building of the bank in disbursing various volumes of loans, he suggested, putting emphasis on having trust on the relations of the migrants while disbursing the loans.

About the status of disbursement of reintegration loan, the OKUP study found that from 2011 to 2019, the PKB disbursed BDT 2.92 crore to only 111 returnee workers under the regular ‘reintegration loan’ scheme.

The study also mentioned that during FY 2020-21 and 2021-22, the disbursement of reintegration loans increased to BDT 348.34cr among 12,680 recipients

The study identified some drawbacks in disbursement of reintegration that include the problems with finding guarantors, collecting bank statement, proving trade license, requirement of prior investment. Fear of loan recovery.

The OKUP study recommended ensuring migrant friendly customer care services, developing financial products for migrants and their families and introducing online banking facility in PKB’s transactions

It suggests collaboration with NGO/CSO or other financial entities for extending support for trade-based training, business development training and other needful assistance.

As panel discussant, BNSK executive director Sumaiya Islam said that PKB has been created with funds of migrant workers so the government should consider lowering interest rate for them.

AKM Ramizul Islam, additional director, foreign exchange policy department of Bangladesh Bank said that financial literacy should be given the migrant workers before their departures to improve reintegration on their return.

Migrants should have their own bank accounts opened before going abroad to send back remittance through banking channel, he said.

One Shompa who hailed from Munshiganj and a family member of a migrant worker, had sought the Bangabandhu loans from PKB branch in Munshiganj but she was not turned down.

Programme Manager of Safer Migration of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, Nazia Haider emphasized on the financial literacy as it is very important for the outbound workers. The financial literacy could prepare the migrants for the reintegration, he said.

PKB managing director Zahidul Haque said they are gradually trying to ease the conditions of the loans to ensure sustainability of the bank and rehabilitation of the migrants.

OKUP chairman Shakirul Islam and executive director Omar Faruque Chowdhury among others also spoke at the programme.