A report published in the Daily Sun on Saturday says Bangladesh Bank (BB) is still holding in its reserves demonetised Indian currency of denominations INR 500 and INR 1,000 worth Tk 50 crore (500 million). Strangely though, Indian government banned those banknotes by a diktat in November 8, 2016 and set the deadline until March next year to exchange the old banned currencies for new ones. Now the question that naturally arises is what came in the way that held BB from taking advantage of the timeline given by the Indian government to exchange the defunct notes with new ones?
We further learn from the report that highly placed BB officials including its governor have sent request letters to the Indian central bank to resolve the issue.Going by the BB’s version of the efforts made to communicate with its Indian counterpart, one wonders, how could it draw a blank given the brotherly relationship existing between our two governments?
If it is a case of bureaucracy, then the central banks of both the countries should sort it out for their mutual interests within the shortest possible time. Or if the issue is to be sorted out at the diplomatic level, as an eminent banker has suggested, the BB authorities should do its bit to expedite the process.
Whatever the case, it cannot still be accepted as an excuse and thus avoid responsibility. BB has to explain why it has been sitting on the dead Indian banknotes for about a year and a half even after the deadline for exchanging those for new ones had expired.
Finger-pointing cannot, under any circumstances, be accepted as an excuse or explanation. Who is to answer for the loss the government will have to count for the useless foreign exchange lying with BB’s account?
If anything, such kind of developments does hardly speak well for the efficiency of the organisation concerned. Somebody in charge must have been lax in the discharge of his or her responsibility. Clearly, it is an instance of ineptitude, to say the least. It is time Bangladesh Bank put its own house in order.