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Following the money

  • Published at 12:03 am November 20th, 2019
Money dollars taka
Photo: Mehedi Hasan

Money laundering is a serious issue

Bangladesh has been seeing a very large illicit outflow of money to other countries, and while in the past we have seen policies and laws such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, they have fallen short when it comes to the curbing of illegal capital flight from our country. 

Perhaps this is because the overall picture is more complicated, as there is a lack of user-friendly legal options to move money across borders.

Of course, it is important to stop the illegal siphoning of money, but a bigger questions is: Why do so many feel that these illegal channels are their only recourse? Existing laws with regards to foreign currency are, as things stand, too stringent.

There is no reason for Bangladesh Bank to regulate the accruement of foreign currency to the point where a business, or a potential investor, would feel the need to take backdoor channels for foreign transactions.

Our banking sector, for the longest time, has been in a state of crisis due to faulty policies and practices such as the government’s constant bailing out of loan-defaulting SOBs. In fact, the central bank’s recent decision to choke international transactions by putting up a wall for users of international credit cards is yet another constant reminder of how bad policy-making stands to affect the growth of our economy.

This was a counter-productive move, one that stands to undo a lot of the economic progress we have made, as we have already editorialized.

Money laundering is a serious issue, and numerous illegal activities are carried out under the guise of trade using illegal channels, but we must look at the whole picture, and be smart about it.

Is it important to crack down on dirty money meant for nefarious purposes? Absolutely. But for that, the rest of the legitimate business community should not be punished. 

So let us keep the focus on the right place, and fix the system for the betterment of all.