Formalities eased for opening NRBs’ taka accounts
The central bank has simplified formalities for the opening non-resident investor’s taka accounts (NITAs). In Bangladesh, the Guidelines for Foreign Exchange Transactions-2018 dictate the procedural modalities of NITAs. In addition, the central bank, in 2021, published the account-opening form while the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit earlier provided the guidance for the prevention of money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing, including know your customer procedure and account-opening by non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs). Commercial banks are using different sets of documents for opening NITAs that may create ambiguity among the applicants, said the BB in a notice yesterday. In order to bring uniformity in the opening of NITAs, banks have been advised to obtain the applicant’s valid passport copy, photograph, proof of address, reliable source of income, and the copy of the nominee or authorised person’s passport or national identification card, and the photograph. Banks have been directed to fix and distribute a unified set of documents to their branches at home and abroad to facilitate the opening of NITAs.
Interest rate caps to continue
Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Abdur Rouf Talukder has hinted at the continuation of the interest-rate caps on term and working-capital loans, at least, for the next six months. “This is not the time to change the rate caps. We might review it later”, Mr Talukder told the Monetary Policy Consultation Meeting held at a local hotel on Saturday evening. The central bank governor issued the hint when senior economists, bankers and business leaders, who were present at the meeting, expressed opposing views on the interest caps. Economists and bankers wanted the rate caps to go while business leaders suggested its continuation for some more time. The BB governor in his summing-up speech dismissed the allegation of a section of businesses facing problems with opening letters of credit and said the central bank was in no way controlling LC opening. “What we are concerned about is over-invoicing and under-invoicing. We won’t tolerate such evil practices,” he said. The BB governor said there is no restriction on the opening of LCs for capital-machinery imports either. On the alleged ‘helplessness’ of the central bank to deal with large and influential bank loan defaulters, Mr Talukder said efforts are on to bring about a change in the non-performing loan situation. “We have already asked some banks to stop lending to this class of borrowers”, he said.
Stimulus for large, small industries: Tk 50,000cr fresh funds see tepid disbursement
Two of the government’s 28 Covid-19 stimulus packages saw a fresh injection of Tk 50,000 crore in the ongoing financial year, but only 4 per cent of the fund was disbursed between July and October. The two packages each aimed at providing working capital to large industries and service sector firms and cottage, micro, small, and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) saw a collective disbursement of Tk 2,151 crore as of October, according to a finance ministry report. Officials said many of the borrowers who already took loans under the stimulus packages in the previous two rounds have not paid back. So, they have not qualified for fresh loans from the allocations made in the latest round.