BRAHMANBARIA:Bashundhara Foundation (BF) Tuesday disbursed over Tk 17,65,000 as soft loan to ultra-poor people in the backwater Bancharampur Upazila of the frontier district.
A total of 300 destitute women from different villages under the upazila received the money as interest-free loan, which was disbursed under the Palli Micro-credit Project, a noble initiative of the Bashundhara Foundation.
Moynal Hossain Chowdhury, Senior Executive Director (Accounts and Finance) of Bashundhara Group, distributed the credits at Durgarampur village, the ancestral home of renowned industrialist and chairman of the country’s leading business conglomerate Bashundhara Group Ahmed Akbar Sobhan.
Of the recipients, a total of 106 individuals who completely refunded the previous loans got another fresh credit worth Tk 7,500 each. A total of 194 fresh underprivileged got Tk 5,000 each as soft loan.
“The loan was disbursed to the ultra-poor people to help improve their financial capacity. It would be a success for the programme only if someone can feed herself well by utilizing the loans,’’ said Mainal Hossain Chowdhury while speaking on the occasion.
He also said that Bashundhara Foundation redistributed the refunded money to the poor as it does not do business with the returns.
“The rate of loan refund up till now is 100 percent, which is, indeed, a great success,” he added. Now, the total disbursement of loan stands at Tk 48,74,000.
Paharkandhi Upazila Parishad Chairman Abdul Gani Talukder and distinguished local personalities attended the lending programme.
The Chief Coordinator of BF reminded that the operations of this project, launched in 2005, have now extended up to 48 villages in nine unions under the upazila.
Asked about the future plan of the credit programme, Mainal Hossain Chowdhury said, “Gradually, the project will cover all the 118 villages in all 13 unions of the upazila.”
Besides, there has been a plan to expand the project throughout the country, after getting government permission.
In this regard, he further informed that no collateral was taken from the borrowers in exchange for the disbursed loans, which is also another difference with the existing systems of micro-finance.
After three months of taking loan, the borrower will refund the money in phases, spreading over 50 weeks, under 33 installments.
Palli Micro-credit Project started its operations with a capital of Tk 2,875,000, which by now has snowballed to Tk 17,740,000, Mainul Hossain Chowdhury told the function.