• Saturday, Sep 25, 2021
  • Last Update : 06:44 pm

ED: Stop giving state-owned banks a free pass

  • Published at 03:03 am July 10th, 2021
Bangladesh Bank
MEHEDI HASAN

It is tax-payer money that these institutions are gambling with

For the longest time, we have called upon the authorities to dissolve loss-making state-owned banks, which have continued towards putting the economy of our entire nation at risk by issuing large sums of money as loans based on nepotism, most of which have defaulted, leading to a potential economic crisis from which Bangladesh would find difficult to recover.

If there was any doubt regarding this matter, one need look no further than the most recent case of these banks -- operating at significant loss, it must be noted -- issuing hefty bonuses to its employees, violating regulations which state that bonuses are dependent on profit.

What makes such practices especially egregious is the fact that, unlike private banks, it is tax-payer money that these institutions are gambling with, flushing the people’s hard-earned money down the drain.

These loans -- amounting to thousands of crores of taka -- have continued to build up over the last few years to exorbitant amounts, and experts have continuously emphasized the need to bring this number down as soon as possible, as it threatens our entire development journey towards middle-income status.

On top of that, the one managing director who could be reached for comment had the audacity to state that these losses were due to the so-called free services state-owned banks provide -- does the head of one of the nation’s largest banks expect us to believe that these free services are worth the tens of thousands of crores that the bank has incurred in losses?

The statement also does not quite address the issue of the bonus he had received, also funded by tax-payer money, despite the bank operating at a loss.

We hope that the Bangladesh Bank’s investigation into the matter yields fruitful results, and brings those responsible to book -- and that a long-term solution is considered in dealing with these state-owned banks.

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