Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Monday reiterated that those who are involved in the banking sector irregularities would not be spared. “We’re already taking steps under the existing law of the land against those who have taken money abroad illegally in the name of export or import as well as have taken money abroad from the banking system. Many are now in jail including their family members for the banking sector irregularities like the Janata, the Farmers Bank,” he said.
“We won’t spare anyone involved with the banking sector irregularities, but law would move forward with its own pace,” Kamal said. The finance minister was briefing reporters at the Finance Division conference room after holding a nearly three-hour long meeting with the chairmen and chief executive officers of the state-owned commercial and specialised banks on Monday.
He said that the meeting took decision to continue communication with the customers by the banks to further strengthen the banking sector. Kamal said the government would accept the initiatives of those who would come out of their banking sector deviations upon commitment that they would pay all their default loans.
About the overall situation of the state-owned commercial and specialised banks, he said: “After this interim assessment, we feel we’re okay, we’re safe and we’re in good shape,” adding that such parleys would take place in every three months. He said that the government wants to work with transparency.
The finance minister said that the meeting discussed about the situation of the Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) as it is now gradually declining since December 2018. He showed that the NPLs scenario of Sonali Bank in June, 2019 came down at 25.5 percent which was 30.38 percent in December 2018, the NPLs scenario of Janata Bank came down at 35 percent which was 37.32 percent in December 2018, for Agrani Bank it reduced to 14.50 percent in June, 2019 down from 20.25 percent in December, 2018.
For Rupali Bank, the NLP situation in June, 2019 was 17 percent which was 19.21 percent in December, 2018, for BASIC Bank it was 58.25 percent in June, 2019 which was 57.55 percent in December, 2018 and for Bangladesh Krishi Bank, the NPL came down at 17 percent in June, 2019 which was 18.46 percent in December, 2018.
Noting that the NPL trend has now come down since December 2018, Kamal said “It’s a good sign,” adding that if the government could properly implement the new provision for making exit from the NPL culture, then the NPL would come down significantly. Regarding the bank interest rates, the minister said the bank interest rates would be reduced to single digit as per the decision of the Prime Minister adding that if single digit interest rate is not ensured, then both the lenders and the loan recipients would not be benefitted.
Answering to a question, Kamal said that the state-owned commercial banks have already implemented the single-digit bank interest rates while he would sit soon with the private sector banks in this regard. Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir, Finance Division Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, and Chairmen, CEOs, Managing Directors of the state-owned commercial and specialised banks attended the meeting.
The state-run commercial banks are Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali and BASIC, while the specialised state banks are Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank and Bangladesh Development Bank.