Export Credit Guarantee Scheme

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'Export Credit Guarantee Scheme' a government programme implemented in Bangladesh since 1978 for providing various forms of insurance against risks undertaken by the country';s exporters. The principal risks covered include insolvency of the buyers and political restrictions delaying payment. The scheme was undertaken at the initiative of the Export Promotion Bureau and the ministries of commerce, industry and finance.

A programme of the same name was undertaken in Pakistan in 1962 on the basis of British experience of the Export Credit Guarantee Scheme, first introduced in 1919. In Bangladesh, the sadharan bima corporation, a state run general insurance enterprise, administers the scheme. The scheme encourages exporters to initiate exports of new products and/or to enter new markets through covering the risk of insolvency of buyers and political risks inherent in foreign trade. The scheme also provides a guarantee for bank loans taken by the exporters for meeting up their financial needs during the production time and between exporting of goods and receiving of payment from foreign buyers.

Exporters of Bangladesh can enjoy credit for a maturity of up to 180 days. During the period between 1990 and 1995, exporters of raw jute, jute goods, leather products, frozen foods, readymade garments, handicrafts and naphtha availed themselves of the facility of the scheme. Both pre-shipment and post-shipment guarantees are made. Risks covered include insolvency and protracted default coverage percentage various from 75 to 80% in case of commercial and 95% in case of political risks. Guarantee issues during 1978-1995 numbered 5,223 covering an amount of Tk 64.23 billion. The premium income was Tk 2.28 billion, claims paid amounted to Tk 1.18 billion and claims outstanding accounted for Tk 1.64 billion.

A government appointed committee of ten members settles claims relating to the Export Credit Guarantee Scheme. The management, however, requires improved professional skill and manpower to run the scheme. The exporters and commercial banks also do not have adequate orientation. Proper functioning of the scheme is hampered by concerns about product quality and promptness of service delivery. [M Habibullah] [Habibullah, M Professor (retd) of Accounting and Information Systems, Dhaka University]