The Cabinet in principle approved the draft of Finance Company Bill, 2021 on Monday, keeping a provision of imposing a fine of Tk 1 crore as the maximum administrative punishment for violation of the law.
The approval came at a regular weekly cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.The premier joined the meeting virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban while other cabinet members joined the meeting from Bangladesh Secretariat.
“The new law has been designed by making changes to the Finance Institutions Act, 1993 as it (existing law) is not effective in this present context,” Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said while briefing the reporters after the meeting.
As per the proposed law, the existing financial institutions would turn into companies but they won’t require fresh registration or change their present memorandum of associations.
According to the bill, Anwarul said, none can run a finance company in Bangladesh without taking a license from Bangladesh Bank.
In the draft law, the highest pecuniary punishment is Tk 1 crore fine, while the maximum corporal punishment is seven-year imprisonment, the Cabinet Secretary said.
The bill also precisely defined loan defaulters and fixed the ceilings for the amount of deposited money and interest rates, he added.During the approval of the draft law, the Cabinet also gave an observation for the authorities concerned to review whether the bankruptcy issue of a company can be solved outside the court, and the issue can be incorporated in the proposed law.
The Cabinet Secretary said now the court declares a company bankrupt, and it is time-consuming to remove the bankruptcy-related complexities following the High Court’s judgment. Besides, the Cabinet cleared the draft of Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Remuneration and Privileges) Act, 2021 to replace the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Remuneration and Privileges) Ordinance, 1979, which was promulgated during the military regime.
“No major change has been brought in the proposed law,” he said.
It also approved the draft of the Bangladesh Homoeopathic Treatment Education Act, 2021 in Principle, which will replace the Bangladesh Homoeopathic Practitioners Ordinance, 1983.
The meeting also cleared the draft Bengali and English versions of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy.
In addition, the Cabinet also approved the draft of an agreement to be signed between Bangladesh and Botswana on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
Talking about giving authority to impose partial lockdown by the local administration amid the coronavirus pandemic, the cabinet secretary said, “Local administration, civil surgeon and local representative can jointly impose restrictions in an entire district or a particular area of the district taking Covid-19 situation in cognizance.”
“Deputy Commissioner (DC), civil surgeon, chairmen or mayors have already been instructed that if they think the situation would be harmful in any place, they can impose lockdown in the area,” he added.
The government has also instructed the DGHS to arrange treatment for critically ill coronavirus-infected patients.
The DGHS has also been asked to send the patients to nearby medical college hospitals if anyone needs oxygen support, he added.
Regarding the row between the home ministry and chief election commissioner on the NID issue, the cabinet secretary said the home ministry has been instructed to take care of the NID issues.
“The decision was taken a long time ago. The decision has been conveyed to us. We are looking at the allocation of business and we will meet again if necessary,” he said.