MPs urged the finance minister to take stern actions against those siphoning off money from the banks
Members of both treasury and opposition benches in the House on Sunday came down heavily on Finance Minister AMA Muhith for his “failure” to address the prevailing indiscipline and instability in the banking sector.
They came up with the salvo while taking part in discussions on the supplementary budget for FY2017-18.
Awami League lawmaker Md Ali Ashraf put emphasis on restoring discipline in the banking sector, saying the sector would entirely collapse soon if steps are not taken immediately. "The finance minister must take steps."
He also urged the minister to take stern actions against those siphoning off money from the banks.
The lawmaker from Comilla 7 constituency also said investors would feel discouraged if the country fails to get rid of this “culture of plundering” in the banking sector and ensure accountability.
"You must ensure good governance and bring the plunderers to justice to restore depositors’ confidence in the banks... You'll have to do these things with an iron hand," he told the minister.
Independent lawmaker Md Rustum Ali Faraji said money from banks was being siphoned off in the name of providing loans. "People used to keep their money in banks for security, but they are now afraid of depositing money in banks... Millions of taka have been laundered abroad.”
He lambasted Muhith for his proposal in the budget to reduce corporate tax rates for banks, and insurance and financial institutions.
He said the government has already given enough privileges to bank owners. "There's a provision to become four directors from one family for three terms. Now, you [Muhith] are proposing lowering tax rates for them. If this sort of patronization continues, no bank will exist in the country."
Faraji, a lawmaker from Pirojpur 3 constituency, urged the minister to form a commission to realize the default loans.
About corruption in the administration, he said corruption prevails at every level of the administration, and corruption is being committed even after the increase in salaries of public servants.
“A lack of monitoring is behind the continued corruption by public servants,” he said.
Jatiya Party lawmaker Kazi Firoz Rashid said “bank looters” plundered money from state-owned Sonali Bank, Farmers Bank and some other banks.
"But, what action have you taken against them?” he asked Muhith.
Firoz suggested putting crisis-riddled Farmers Bank up for auction.