Thursday, 7 July, 2022

Move to Bring Back Laundered Money

Govt to offer amnesty

There will be a provision in the budget for bringing back laundered money from abroad through formal channels by paying a fixed amount of tax to combat the dollar crisis, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has hinted on Thursday.

"Those who will send laundered money as remittances won’t be questioned. I am hopeful that with this, the money laundered abroad will come back home," he said after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP).

In favour of the move, he also cited examples of some countries which have taken such steps to stabilise the economy and foreign reserve situation. For instance, he mentioned that Indonesia is one of those countries which has brought back laundered money.

In addition, Bangladesh Bank has recently withdrawn the provision of mandatory submission of documents for getting 2.5 per cent incentive against inward remittance of $5,000 and upward for the same purpose, Kamal added.

"It is a great opportunity for those who have laundered money or made illegal assets abroad. “We want to bring home the money that has flown out of the country," he remarked.

These measures are being taken in line with the court directives and the instructions from Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bangladesh Bank and the intelligence agencies, the finance minister argued.

The minister, however, said they have no exact figure of the amount of money that has been laundered from the country.

According to Global Financial Integrity (GFI) findings, Bangladesh lost nearly $8.27 billion on an average per annum between 2009 and 2018 from misinvoicing of values of import-export goods by traders to dodge taxes and illegally moving money across international borders.

The finance minister admitted to a dollar crisis the country is going through but claimed that the crisis is not as severe as depicted by some quarters. “Our foreign exchange reserve is good enough and it is even better than the neighbouring countries."

Turning to the national budget, Kamal reiterated that the budget will serve the interest of all people.

"Our main task in the upcoming budget will be to maintain economic stability through variouspolicies and at the same time ensure the continuation of the development and growth trend," he pointed out.

About the swelling inflation, he said the US and the UK have recently witnessed 40-year high inflation. India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam are also grappling with rising inflation.

He added that the government is trying to ensure the supply of essential commodities to the low-income group at a subsidised rate so that they don’t get hurt by the rising inflation.

Drawn attention to businessmen’s concern over the recent move to hike gas and electricity prices, he admitted that the hike would have an impact on people but he said the government is trying to ease the pressure on consumers by sharing the burden.