December 5, 2020, 12:17 am


2020-09-07 10:10:48 BdST

Janata tops government-run banks with bad debts

The state-owned commercial banks (SOCBs) had Tk 410.58 billion in bad debt combined in the last year, the bulk of which went to beneficiaries of Janata Bank.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal revealed the figure responding to a question from National Party’s Mashiur Rahman in a parliament session presided over by Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on Sunday.

He said the loans released by the government-run banks were worth Tk 1.82 trillion.

Of the defaulted loans, Janata Bank accounted for Tk 159.74 billion, Sonali Bank Tk 84.67 billion, Basic Bank Tk 71.56 billion, Agrani Bank Tk 53.38 billion, Rupali Bank Tk 40.9 billion and Bangladesh Development Bank Limited or BDBL Tk 5.58 billion.

The minister said the banks are going for alternative dispute resolution procedures to settle the debts. When that fails, loan defaulters are being taken to court.

Over the last five years (2015-2019), Sonali bank has recovered Tk 53.05 billion in default loans. Janata Bank recovered Tk 28.61 billion, Agrani Bank Tk 29.55 billion, Rupali Bank Tk 10 billion, Basic Bank Tk 8.80 billion and BDBL Tk 10 billion in the same timespan, according to Kamal.

On being asked by Nizam Uddin Hazari of Feni-2 , the finance minister said the state-run banks have written off loans totalling Tk 140.56 billion from January 2009 to February 2020.

Responding to Bogura-5 MP Mohammad Habibur Rahman, he said unpaid revenues amounted to Tk 75.89 billion against 16,001 customs cases.

“Since independence, India and Bangladesh have signed loan agreements worth $7,555.737 million in aid,” Kamal answered to a question thrown by BNP’s Harunur Rashid.

“A total of $904.755 million were released until Jun 30, 2020. But this economic upsurge chiefly occurred during the current regime of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government,” he said.

“In the current term of the government, contracts worth $7.548 billion were signed under three LOCs. Under these loan deals, multiple projects are ongoing in the infrastructure development sector,” Kamal added.

Responding to a question tabled by Jamalpur-5 MP Md Muzaffar Hossain, Kamal said, “We often used to hear about money being laundered through the undervaluation or overvaluation in imports and exports. We no longer hear these complaints.”

“However, the Bangladesh Bank and related law-enforcing agencies are regularly monitoring any specific complaints regarding money laundering. If deemed true, they are taking proper lawful measures.”

The finance minister referred to the steps taken by the government that drove the share market in the aftermath of the lockdown designed to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

“The rise and fall of share prices is a normal the world over. But we see an abnormal downward trend in the times of COVID-19 pandemic. Bangladesh’s market is no different to others,” Kamal said, responding to a question from Chattogram-11’s M Abdul Latif.

The finance minister gave a list of the government initiatives to arrest the drop in share prices and restore stability in the stock market

Notable measures include guidelines on floor price of shares, meeting with the prime minister in January to develop the stock market, issuance of dividend declaration policy against shares, formation of Tk 2.0 billion fund for commercial banks to invest in the market and steps to increase foreign investment in the capital market.

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