Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Monday told Parliament that 15 laws will be enacted within the next one year as the government is pursuing a zero-tolerance policy against irregularities in the financial sector.
“I would like to assure you that you (MPs) will see 15 laws in this Parliament within the next 6-12 months to stop these irregularities,” Mustafa Kamal said.
The minister said while replying to a cut-motion placed by opposition MPs over allowing additional grant demand for the Finance Institution Division in the Supplementary Budget of 2020-21 Fiscal Year.
The finance minister said, “The syphoning off people’s hard-earned money hurts me like others. I’m always against any irregularity, disorder and corruption in any place under any circumstances. We all and our government want these to be stopped.”
He said there was a time when sand used to be imported in the name of cement and one product used to be brought in the name of another product. “Now under-invoicing and over-invoicing are hardly done. But I don’t say such things have stopped completely. We hardly see these things in the newspaper,” he added.
Kamal said he knows how such irregularities are committed but does not know who are doing these. “Once such things had happened due to inefficient systems and ineffective management. These things will have to be stopped completely.”
He said the government will frame new laws aiming to reform the systems in the financial sector. “We’ll enact new laws so that our banks and financial institutions can run their activities smoothly with responsibility. We’ll create the scope. I’m assuring you.”
The finance minister said there is a zero-tolerance policy against corruption as asked by the Prime Minister.
Pointing at the opposition MPs, he said, “If you know who siphon off money, please give us their names. Since you (MPs) are in Parliament, you also have the responsibility like us. If you do so, it’ll be easier for us to take action against them.”
Kamal said many of those who committed such irregularities are still in jail and face trial unlike in the past.
Replying to criticisms from the opposition lawmakers, the finance minister said the loan interest rate in scheduled banks came down to 7.3 percent from 12.3 percent in the last 12 years. There were 6,425 banks and their branches in Bangladesh in the 2005-06 fiscal year. Now the number has doubled.
He said banks have set up their branches in villages amid the growing demand of people and they are now getting services.
About default loans, Mustafa Kamal said the rate of default loans was 13.2 percent in 2006, which has come down to 8 percent now.