Are we serious about checking capital flight?

10 November, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Money laundering remained as a major problem for Bangladesh. Although a huge amount of money is being laundered every year, authorities concerned are yet to come up with an effective strategy to fight illicit financial flow across the border. As a result the average amount of laundered money is increasing day by day haemorrhaging our national economy. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) reported this year that some USD 3.1 billion or Tk 26,400 crore is being siphoned illegally from Bangladesh every year. But if invested within the country, this huge amount of money would have generated about Tk 120 billion as revenue for the government exchequer every year. On the other hand, Swiss foundation Basel Institute on Governance ranked Bangladesh among the top forty countries around the world in terms of the risk for money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF).

Though Bangladesh enacted the Money Laundering Prevention Act in line with the recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2002 as the first country in South Asia, proper implantation of this act is still a far cry. In 2014 and afterward, some initiatives like sending letters to the Swiss government seeking the list of Bangladeshi depositors in offshore companies there and the possibility of signing an agreement with the Swiss central bank for facilitating the exchange of information had been taken, we know nothing about the farther update. The unfortunate fact is that money laundering is going on in full swing to date.

While our hardworking people, especially expatriate workers and readymade garment workers, have been trying heart and soul to take our country forward with their hard-earned money, a coterie of powerful and upper-class people are smuggling out the fruits of their tireless efforts.

To take our country forward it is necessary to prevent money laundering. Besides, laundered money should be brought back to the country. But, owing to lack of regulatory monitoring and supervision of financial activities of individuals and enterprises that allow criminals to hide their actual transactions, we are failing to stop money laundering. Thus we should enhance proper coordination between agencies (domestic and international), to prevent financial crimes. On the other hand, relevant laws should be upgraded, if needed.