Money laundering must stop to boost revenue (The New Nation (Bangladesh))

Different rights groups on Sunday stressed the need for taking pragmatic steps from the government to stop money laundering to increase the revenue income of the country. The government should carry out an investigation as to how some Bangladeshi people transferred Tk 10, 000 crore from Bangladesh to have the ‘Second Home’ facilities in Malaysia in the last ten years, the organizations observed.

Equity BD, a civil society organization, organized the seminar titled “Stop illicit Finance flow to ensure development investment and revenue mobilization” at the National Press Club in the city with 21 rights based organizations taking part in the event. A huge amount of money equivalent to US dollar 1, 841 crore have also been siphoned off the country during the period, the seminar was informed.

Ahsanul Karim of Equity BD, who presented the keynote paper, said it is indispensable for the government to enhance the investment for development works and necessary resource mobilization if it wants to lift Bangladesh to a middle-income country by 2021.

“As per the report of Global Financial Integrity (GFI), at least an amount equivalent to 1, 841 crore US dollars have been siphoned off from the country abroad in the last ten years time from 2003. Had the money remained in Bangladesh, the government would have earned extra Tk 36 crore revenue and successfully implemented many development projects, he said.

Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krisak Federation said the government has to depend on foreign loan for the implementation of Annual Development Programme (ADP). “We have to come out of this trend. So, the government should take necessary measures against money laundering to increase the revenue income, he noted. Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Center said people’s inclination to deposit money at Swiss Bank is increasing.

“According to Swiss National Bank report, Bangladeshi citizens deposited Tk 3, 236 crore in Swiss Bank in 2013. The amount is 62 per cent more than the amount of deposited in 2012. The government should take a legal step to that end and disclose detail information in this regard to maintain transparency, he said. Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust said about 2, 370 Bangladeshi citizens took away Tk 10, 000 crore to have the ‘Second Home’ facilities in Malaysia from 2003 to 2013.

“They have taken away a large amount of money. The government should enquire how they took away the money and make the finding public, Babul said. Rezaul Karim of EquityBD, who moderated the programme, said our expatriate and garment workers are toiling hard to earn foreign currency.

“But their hard-earned money is being siphoned off. The government should stop the laundering and ensure the investment in the developments, he said. The organizations also raised an eight-point demand to stop money laundering from the country.