• Thursday, Nov 22, 2018
  • Last Update : 11:24 pm

Bank accounts and debit cards for Rohingya refugees, on the books

  • Published at 09:44 pm July 5th, 2018
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Photo identity documents issued by the government, and United Nations organizations, will be accepted for Know Your Client (KYC) purposes Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The Rohingya refugees will be given a prepaid debit card, or a mobile wallet, with which they can pay for their daily needs.

TheWorld Food Programme (WFP) is working with Rohingya refugees to open bank accounts, through which the Rohingya can receive financial support from the government and global donors.

The Rohingya refugees will be given a prepaid debit card, or a mobile wallet, with which they can pay for their daily needs.

The development organization continues to work with the financial service providers in close consultation with the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU).

WFP Deputy Country Director Barbara Clemens told the Dhaka Tribune in an e-mail: “The proposed system of cash payments to Rohingya will work in compliance with the BFIU's attached requirements informed by the conditions set forth by the local authorities in Cox's Bazar having jurisdiction over the Rohingyas.”

“We continue to work with the financial service providers in close consultation with BFIU to finalize the operational processes,” she added.

Photo identity documents issued by the government, and United Nations organizations, will be accepted for Know Your Client (KYC) purposes.

This practice has been introduced across the world where refugee crises have emerged, a Bangladesh Bank source said—adding that the central bank has already prepared a notice to be issued to banks shortly.

But Deputy Governor and Head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) Abu Hena Mohammad Razee Hassan said, “We have not received any proposal from any organization on this issue.”

According to WFP,  the BFIU has outlined several requirements for bank accounts for refugees. Among them are the use of photo identity documents issued by the Bangladesh government and UNHCR for KYC purposes—and that the financial services can only be provided within the geographic areas the government has designated for rehabilitation of Rohingyas. BFIU says the IDs can also be accepted for receiving wire transfers/remittances in favour of Rohingyas.

Over 700,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh, and the influx, though reduced in recent weeks, continues despite Myanmar’s assurances to stop violence in Rakhine.

The Bangladesh government and international agencies are giving financial support to Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar. The World Bank recently announced close to half-a-billion dollars in grant-based support to help Bangladesh address the needs of Rohingya refugees in areas including: health, education, water and sanitation, disaster risk management, and social protection.

Reflecting the increasingly protracted nature of the Rohingya crisis, the World Bank Board of Directors approved a $50 million additional grant to an existing Health Sector Support Project in Bangladesh— the first in a series that could amount to as much as $480 million.

In September 2017, the Bangladesh government opened a bank account to provide financial assistance to Rohingyas. It is Account Number: 33024625, “Humanitarian Assistance to the Myanmar Citizen Illegally Migrated (Rohingya)”, Sonali Bank, at the Cox's Bazar branch.