The Bangladesh Bank has directed officials concerned to distribute 25% of the Tk3,000 crore refinancing fund, meant for lending to low-income people, to women.
The central bank's Financial Inclusion Department gave the direction in a circular on Wednesday.
The fund was set up last year to help low-income professionals, farmers, and marginal or small entrepreneurs handle the Covid-19 pandemic impacts.
A central bank official said the policy made last year did not mention what portion of the fund should be distributed among women.
"It just said helpless women should be prioritised. Women account for 93% of the recipients of loans from the fund."
He also said women's quota had now been mentioned at the request of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Although the ADB was not involved in setting up the fund, their request was entertained as they are a development partner, he added.
But he could not say the amount of loans distributed from the fund in the last one year.
Considering the participation of low-income people in the rural economy, the fund was set up in April last year to keep the wheels of the economy turning and to ensure inclusive development.
The policy stated that the three-year fund could be expanded further, if required. Banks and microfinance organisations are lending from it.
A single customer can borrow a maximum of Tk75,000 from the fund while it is Tk3 lakh for a group.
Besides, a small entrepreneur can borrow a maximum of Tk10 lakh from the fund while it is Tk30 lakh for a joint venture.
Regardless of other fees or service charges, the annual interest rate on the loan is 9%.
The repayment period is two years, including a grace period, for small entrepreneurs.