Bangladesh Bank deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury on Tuesday said that the central bank would not allow mobile operator-led mobile financial services in the country as the BB was maintaining ‘conservative’ approach to the MFS.
‘We will not allow any mobile operator-led model but bank-led model,’ he said at a dialogue styled ‘role of digital financial services in promoting inclusive growth: challenges and opportunities’ organised by UN Capital Development Fund at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
Sur said that the central bank was rewarded by world’s leading agencies for its regulation process and current policies on the MFS.
Banking Division secretary Eunusur Rahman said that the mobile financial service was the only option for delivering financial service to 60 per cent unbanked adult population of the country.
Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh secretary general TIM Nurul Kabir, however, said competition for the MFS should be open and a healthy collaboration needed to be in place among the operators, regulators and law enforcing agencies.
In the open discussion, Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre chief executive officer Muhammad A (Rumee) Ali said the BB needed to look from a wider space and focus on modern technology to attract more investment in the MFS sector.
‘The ways banks are serving their customers and the ways they are operating are
not fit for flourishing digital financial service,’ he said.
He suggested forming a grand alliance of all the stakeholders where telecom and financial operators also need to join hands.
In the key note presentation, Institute for Finance and Development executive director Mustafa K Mujeri said a huge segment of unbanked people remained untapped as only less than 2.5 crore MFS accounts were active while the total number of accounts was 5 crore.
He said that coordination between Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission was a must for expansion of the MF service, while negotiations for mutual benefit between banks and mobile operators were also important.
He also lamented the lack of interpretability among the MFS service providers with clients of a specific MFS provider failing to send money to another operator’s wallet.
Dutch-Bangla Bank managing director Abul Kashem Md Shirin said that the MFS service providers were facing challenges in getting connectivity from mobile operators.
‘That’s why only two MFS service providers are visible though 19 banks are in service,’ he said.
Dutch-Bangla Bank runs mobile financial service Rocket, which is in the second position behind market leader bKash.
bKash chief executive officer Kamal Qadir and UNDP country director Sudipto Mukerjee also spoke at the dialogue which was moderated by UNCDF regional coordinator of Asia Feisal Hussain.
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