Import-export trade is being strictly monitored through large LCs to stop money laundering from the country. Bangladesh Bank is monitoring it online and offline or through software and on the ground. If necessary, special inspection teams are also being sent to banks. At the same time, commercial banks have also been instructed to increase supervision at the branch level in this sector. Any irregularity has been asked to be reported to the central bank immediately. Apart from this, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) is also being supervised by the Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation. In this, several cases of money laundering under the guise of import and export have already been revealed.
According to sources, Bangladesh Bank used to monitor imports alone. Now exports are also being monitored. Among the things that are being looked into are-how many LCs are being opened for imports, how much debt is being paid against them and whether the goods are coming into the country properly. Banks are being directed to speak to importers quickly after identifying LCs that are not being settled. Information about the price of imported goods is also being verified.
Recently, Central Bank Governor Abdur Rauf Talukder said in an event that an average of 1.5 billion dollars is being smuggled out of the country under the guise of imports. Entrepreneurs of Bangladesh are forming companies and running business in different countries with the smuggled money. No profit from those businesses is coming to the country.
According to the Central Bank report, the maximum LC of USD 951 crore was opened in March 2022. A part of these imports was being smuggled. Import control has been brought down to 476 million dollars. LC opening rate has almost halved. As a result, the cost of the dollar has decreased on the one hand, and reserves are being saved on the other hand.
Recently, it has been observed by the central bank that the income is not coming to the country as much as the goods are being exported. As the dollar market is volatile, some exporters are keeping dollars abroad in the hope of higher prices. They refrain from bringing them to the country for various reasons. Due to which the flow of dollars in the market has decreased.
According to the data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), products worth 5 thousand 556 million dollars were exported in the last financial year. But on the contrary, all the income did not come to the country. As a result, the gap between the export earnings of the central bank and EPB is widening. EPB calculates on the basis of shipment of goods and central bank calculates on arrival of dollars in the country. For this reason, the concerned people think that the account of the central bank is the real export income. According to the central bank, export earnings of about 1.5 billion dollars did not reach the country on time. Banks are being urged to bring them to the country. The bank is in touch with the exporter concerned. How much goods are being exported from the central bank now? How much income is coming? They are being monitored as to why the rest of the income has not arrived. Some export earnings are not coming to the country due to foreign recession. Besides, some income is retained by exporters abroad. In order to bring those export earnings to the country, the central bank had instructed last March that if the export earnings are not brought home by the date it is supposed to be brought home, it will be treated as arrears income. The exporter will get the money at the exchange rate of the date on which it is due. In other words, the product should be brought to the country within four months of export. Failure to do so will result in arrears. The central bank has recently changed the earlier policy to encourage exporters to repatriate such outstanding export earnings. According to the new policy, the exporter will get the money at the exchange rate of the day on which the outstanding export proceeds arrive in the country. As a result, the exporters are now getting higher dollar prices even though they have brought back the previous due income. Apart from this, government sector incentives fixed against export earnings are also being paid quickly. As a result, there has been an increase in the trend of repatriation of outstanding export earnings.
At the same time cash incentives are being disbursed on the contrary to increase remittance flow. Banks are also giving incentives. Besides, banks are buying remittance dollars from foreign exchange houses at higher prices. As a result remittance flow increased.
Currently, the dollar price of remittance is 110 taka 50 paisa. Along with this, the government sector incentive is two and a half percent and the banks’ own incentive is two and a half percent. A maximum of 5 percent incentive can be given in combination of these two. Price per dollar including incentives will be 116 rupees maximum. That is, 116 taka can be given to expatriates. The banks will determine the amount of money or commission to be given to the exchange houses.
But currently many banks are collecting remittances at the price of 122 to 127 taka. At this price, many banks have placed advance orders in foreign exchange houses. As a result, many banks are still buying remittances at higher prices. Out of this, 2 Taka 75 paisa is the government incentive, along with this, the bank will give 113 Taka 25 paisa. Along with this, the bank can also pay 2 taka 75 paisa for incentives. Both of these can be paid 116 taka per remittance. But the bank is giving 6 to 11 rupees more than this. Banks have to coordinate this additional money from their own funds.
The central bank has said verbally that the relaxation in dollar collection of remittances will show till next December. After that there will be no relaxation.
The central bank expects to receive $680 million in the second tranche of the IMF loan by the end of December. With this, another 600 million dollars will be matched by the World Bank and other organizations. Together these two will get 130 million dollars. In addition, it is taking a loan of 200 million dollars from Saudi Arabia to import fuel oil. There is an initiative to take a loan of 200 million dollars from India. Besides, China has also promised to help Bangladesh to overcome the reserve crisis. For this reason, a part of the goods imported from China will be imported through Chinese credit instead of cash. Communication with China has started for this. Apart from this, an initiative has been taken to exempt the money stuck in the pipeline.
The country’s foreign exchange reserves have been decreasing for the last two years due to the global crisis. In August 2021, the reserves increased to a maximum of 4 thousand 806 million dollars. It has been decreasing ever since. Now it has reduced to 1 thousand 976 million dollars.