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‘Tk 225b Stolen Over Last Decade’

Party manifestos must focus on revival of banking sector: CPD

Published : Sunday, 9 December, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 149

Political parties in their election manifestos should include means for salvaging the banking sector from the severe crisis due to theft of more than Tk 225 billion over the last decade.
Besides for good governance and more empowerment the Bangladesh Bank governor should be appointed by the parliament and before zny merger of banks a particular policy support must be there to avoid monopoly.
Speakers said this at a roundtable discussion titled 'What Do We Do with the Banking Sector of Bangladesh?' organized by Centre for Policy Dialogue in the city on Saturday.
Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director of the private think tank delivered keynote speech on 'Banking Sector in Bangladesh: Moving from Diagnosis to Action'.
Among others Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud, a former caretaker government adviser as chief guest, Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank as special guest and Khandakar Ibrahim Khaled, former chairman of Bangladesh Krishi Bank as guest of honour were present in the dialogue.
Others who participated in the discussion were Dr Ahsan Habib Mansur, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute, Dr Zahid Hussain, Lead Economist, The World Bank and Dr Shah Md Ahsan Habib, Director (Training), Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM), academics from Dhaka University and retired bankers and leaders of different trade organisations.
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow of the CPD, chaired the session.
Wahiduddin Mahmud said the banking sector which is the lifeline of an economy is in a disastrous situation and bold steps should be taken to regain its confidence.
He emphasized the need for focusing on recover of bad loans and curbing its number in political party's election manifestos.
The noted economist said once confidence in the banking system reduces, it increases business costs both at home and abroad. He said before the merger of banks it is imperative to formulate necessary policy supports so that there none can monopolise the money market.
He said the banking sector needs protection and this sector should not  'patronize politics.'
Khaled said to reduce bad loans the central bank can play a vital role but it is in relaxed mood and its governor meets bank owners outside his office which is inappropriate.
He criticized the policy that stipulate that four members of a family could be directors of a bank and their tenure extended to three terms from earlier two times.
He said in the upcoming election the political parties in their manifestos must include the banking sector to bring it out from the current predicament with huge bad loans.
Dr Salehuddin Ahmed said the ongoing problems could be easily solved if the government takes strict measures under the existing laws.
He said it is not a rocket science that it cannot be solved it just needs a positive mind set for removing the ongoing bottlenecks.
He said it is true the whole system has cracked and now it could be amended by the related people and institutions and as the BB does have enough autonomy, it is possible for them to exercise their power and take bold steps to curb bad loans and step up its recovery.
The CPD Executive Director, Fahmida, in her keynote speech elaborated the overall banking sector's scenario and she pointed out the banks' current status with its huge bad loans and described the banks' capacity to maintain its global standards as per Basel III.
She in her presentation referring to different sources said that a total Tk 225 billion was stolen from different banks by different business houses through forgery and fake documents and unfair means mostly from state-owned banks.

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