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The Financial Express

Banking commission must operate independently: CPD

Published: February 22, 2020 21:33:43 | Updated: February 28, 2020 10:50:59


Banking commission must operate independently: CPD

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has welcomed the government's decision to form a banking commission in a bid to pull the country's financial services sector out of its current slump.

But the organisation added the caveat that the move will not yield the desired result unless the proposed commission is allowed to operate independently.

Debapriya Bhattacharya, a distinguished fellow at the CPD said, "Citizens feel helpless and panicked by the extremely fragile state of the banking sector. What we found most worrying from the central bank's data is that the entire banking industry is being held hostage by a few individuals and organisations."

Bhattacharya said this at a media briefing at the BRAC Centre on Saturday, reports bdnews24.com.

"The situation is such that people are now fearful of keeping their money in banks. We called for a banking commission after the Hall-Mark scandal eight years ago. In the end, the government has taken the decision to form a commission and we welcome it and wish for its success."

Debapriya urged the government to grant the commission power to function independently and create an environment for it to do so.

Former finance minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit had initially announced plans to form a regulatory commission for the banking sector in his budget for the fiscal year 2014-15.

But despite several attempts by Muhith, the commission was not ultimately constituted.

Current Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal announced that an oversight commission for the banking industry will be constituted 'soon' as he confirmed the government's final decision on the matter last week. The minister also held a meeting with Prof Wahiduddin Mahmud, a former adviser to the caretaker government, among others, regarding the commission.

Mustafizur Rahman, another distinguished fellow at the think-tank, stressed the need called for the commission to be granted jurisdiction to work on the recovery of laundered money and assets under the relevant law.

"It's not our intention to discourage the government's initiative. We want the commission to be constituted in such a way that it is able to find and implement solutions to problems. Some of the problems in our [banking sector] has already been discussed. But the issue is deep-lying."

"It is undermining the macroeconomic management system. A lot of money is being funnelled abroad so the law for the recovery of these assets must be incorporated with the work of the commission."

Mustafizur stressed the need for a powerful commission capable of formulating and implementing sustainable solutions to get to the root of the problems plaguing the financial sector.

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