Monday, 25 September, 2023

No respite from capital flight?

No respite from capital flight?

Popular News

The recent investigation report of the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) has once again painted a bleak picture of money laundering. The specialised intelligence agency under the National Board of Revenue and responsible for investigating tax evasion and customs fraud has exposed a major money laundering scheme involving 10 export-oriented garment factories, operating under the guise of exporting ready-made garments, managed to illicitly smuggle a staggering $35.3 million (Tk. 3.8 billion). Some newspapers are claiming the amount to be more than that. The law enforcement agencies sometimes unearthed the unheard-of way of laundering money and arrested some people involved in it but the shocking 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 labour, a coterie of powerful and upper-class people are smuggling out the fruits of their tireless efforts. According to several reports of different national and international NGOs, the amount that is laundered from Bangladesh every year is equivalent to almost 20-25 per cent of the country's GDP. Investment of this huge amount of money inside the country would have contributed to our national economy to a great extent. The amount would be enough to speed up our economic growth and thus make the path towards development smooth.

Our policymakers often claim credit to be the first country in South Asia to enact the Anti Money Laundering Act in 2002, but they are yet to find an effective way to prevent capital flight. Bringing back siphoned money remains a far cry. As far as controlling capital flight is concerned, our success is still limited to using tough words, which are hardly translated into action. To enhance our economic strength, we must not only close the door to money laundering but also eradicate corruption and ensure an environment conducive to leading an honest life. So, the authorities concerned must speed up their activities to stop capital flight and that should be proven by their acts, not by words. Unless that happens, the ‘zero-tolerance policy against corruption’ would reduce to lip service only.