Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Ministry

Published:  02:52 AM, 13 September 2018

Most recommendations go unheeded

The parliamentary standing committee on Finance Ministry has made a total of 122 recommendations on various issues including reformatting the financial sector. However, hardly any of the important recommendations get any attention from the finance portfolio. 

Although the tenure of the 10th Parliament is almost over, two third of the recommendations did not get materialized. As the most vital member of the committee, Finance Minister AMA Muhith was supposed to attend its every meeting but he reportedly did the opposite. Another member of the committee seeking anonymity said that they cannot remember when the finance minister attended any meeting of the committee.

According to the available data, recommendations were made in 25 meetings. It has been learned that merely 40 recommendations of the 10th Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Finance have been implemented.
Speaking on the issue, Dr Md Abdur Razzak, Chairman of the Standing Committee on the Ministry of Finance has expressed his resentment over the poor attention of the ministry to their recommendations.

Razzak, who was the food minister in the previous cabinet, said the finance minister did not give importance to the recommendations. "He himself attended very few meetings. The Finance Minister is running as per his own wish," he said adding that if the recommendations were implemented, the financial sector would have gone far better than now. Reviewing the recommendations, it has been found that most of the important recommendations have not been implemented. Comparatively  less important things have been implemented.

Presently the situation of the financial sector, especially the banking sector, of the country is delicate. Thousands of crores of taka have been looted in the name of loan from the banks through irregularities and corruption. A huge amount of money has been laundered abroad. In order to save the country from the irregularities and corruption, the standing committee recommended financial sector reform and development.

In the interest of investment and development, several recommendations were made from the standing committee meetings to reduce the interest rate of the bank loans. Besides, the committee recommended research through the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management on higher interest. There was also a recommendation to reduce interest rates to below 10 percent to increase the country's development and investment.

In order to increase investments, the committee recommended setting the rates of deposits and loans of the country, compared to the banking activities of India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, Malaysia and European countries. Besides, the recommendation of the banks' board of directors to reduce the cost of operation of the bank, including reducing service charge, and other steps to stop the customer harassment by collecting extra interest in credit cards, and the matter of getting loans by genuine entrepreneurs.

A member of the standing committee mentioned the reluctance of the finance minister about paying heed to the recommendations. In this regard, angers were expressed at the latest meeting of the committee. It has been said in the meeting that the minister does not attend the standing committee meetings, although he frequently joins less important programs including cultural ones, birthday celebrations of civil society members and unveiling books. As a result, many important recommendations are not also implemented.

The standing committee was vocal against money laundering. There were many recommendations related to the prevention of money laundering. Meanwhile, the committee had recommended taking strict measures to prevent money laundering to various counties including Canada, America, Malaysia, Australia and Dubai.

Apart from that, the committee recommended action against tax evasion during the import and export. The committee also recommended action against the person or organization involved in money laundering on the basis of fake supply orders and loans through offshore banking. 

Recommendations for the formation of a separate bench for resolving the long-term settlement of state-owned banks' default loans and setting up a separate pay scale for state-owned banks was not implemented.

Economists have said that such inadequate execution of the suggestions from the parliamentary committee is responsible for the most part for the rampaged plight of banking and financial turfs at present.

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