• Sunday, Jan 29, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Now restaurant owners seek loans from SME Foundation

  • Published at 12:10 pm May 20th, 2021
Restaurant Covid-19 pandemic
Close to 2.8 million people depend on the restaurant industry for their livelihoods Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

They also demanded keeping hotels and restaurants open with strict enforcement of health directives

Restaurant owners have demanded long-term loans with easy terms and low interest rates from the SME Foundation to revive their businesses after incurring massive losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They also demanded keeping hotels and restaurants open with strict enforcement of health directives to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association (BROA) has also asked the government to declare the restaurant industry as a service sector.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Imran Hassan, general secretary of BROA, said that many of the funds allocated for the SME sector still remain unused.  

“We do not get SME loans as our sector is labeled as a sector dealing with perishable goods. The government should remove this obstacle through dialogue and give us long-term loans on easy terms from the SME Foundation,” he also said.

Also Read - ‘The restaurant industry is on the brink of collapse’

If the government gives loans without collateral to the restaurant sector as per the restaurants’ requests, this sector could turn around, said Hassan.

Without any changes, Hassan said that this youth-operated booming sector will be ruined, local entrepreneurs will be disappointed, and foreign groups will take over this sector.

Syed Mohammad Andalib, organizing secretary of BROA, said that all other sectors are receiving support from the government through incentives, loans on low interest, and easy terms amid the pandemic. 

However, the government has not paid any attention to the restaurant sector yet.

“Shopping malls, transports, all are open except restaurants. Then, I do not see any problem in opening the restaurants, while adhering to hygiene rules. We do not know why it is happening with us,” Andalib added.

Imran Hassan also said that they demand incentives for the large number of workers in the restaurant sector. They also want Covid-19 vaccination for their workers on a priority basis.

Asked about their thoughts on the upcoming budget of FY22, Imran Hassan said that they have already discussed their budget demands with the National Board of Revenue (NBR).

“As there is no coordination, various organizations harass the restaurant sector. We only want a single organization to monitor us and the government should create this in coordination with safe food authority, consumer rights authority, and the NBR,” he added.

He also said that there is a significant inconsistency in the VAT system as VAT remains 15% for both a five-star hotel and a local food hotel.

“We proposed to fix it into three slabs -- 5%, 10% and 15% based on restaurant stature, so that the pressure on small traders is reduced and the government also gets their desired revenue,” he added.

Also Read - Restaurants owners demand Tk10,000cr in budget allocation

Syed Mohammad Andalib said that now they have two demands for the government: first, they want loans from SME Foundation in easy terms and, second, they want to keep the restaurant sector open by maintaining all health directives strictly.

“We have repeatedly appealed to the government for incentives. I have heard that many of the funds allocated in the SME sector have been unused. We want this booming sector to be given soft loans from there, and incentives for our staff,” said Andalib.

According to BROA, there are currently about 60,000 restaurants across the country, with more than 8,000 in the capital alone. Close to 2.8 million people depend on the restaurant industry for their livelihoods, while the number is several times higher if it includes the supportive sectors.

Trouble began after the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, when several restaurants began letting go of staff, while many sold off their businesses. Some were unable to survive and closed shop entirely.

Nearly 25-30% of the restaurants closed permanently after the first wave of Covid-19, and 50% of ownerships were transferred as their original owners could not survive, said the BROA.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail