BB advises BTRC to lower USSD, SMS prices for MFS

Rejects BSEC proposal about banks’stocks exposure

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:33, Aug 01,2017 | Updated: 00:14, Aug 02,2017

 
 

A file photo shows a man at a shop which gives services related to mobile recharge and mobile financial services in Dhaka. Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday requested BTRC to take initiative for bringing down the prices of USSD and SMS to a logical level to facilitate banks’ mobile financial services. — New Age photo

Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday requested Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to take initiative for bringing down the prices of unstructured supplementary service data (USSD) and short message service (SMS) to a logical level to facilitate banks’ mobile financial services.
The central bank made the request at a coordination meeting among financial market regulators held at the BB headquarters in the capital, Dhaka.
BB governor Fazle Kabir presided over the meeting while representatives of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority, Microcredit Regulatory Authority, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms and BTRC were present.
BB deputy governor SK Sur Chowdhury after the meeting told reporters that the central bank had requested the telecom regulator to have a discussion with the mobile network operators in this regard so that the price cut issue could be resolved amicably.
The central bank came up with the plea following allegations from some MFS providing banks that the rates for USSD and SMS were high.
The banks alleged that the cost of USSD and SMS set by mobile network operators (MNOs) was high considering their earnings through operating the MFS.
The banks are using the USSD to transfer the MFS-related transaction data to clients.
Sur said the central bank also urged the BTRC to share mobile phone number-related server with the BB to detect fraudulent activities by individuals through mobile financial services.
He said the BSEC’s proposals to exclude banks’ investment in open-end mutual funds from their capital market exposure and include banks’ investment in corporate bond in statutory regulatory reserves were also discussed at the meeting.
The central bank, however, denied accepting the proposals on policy ground, he said.
Corporate bond cannot be included in banks’ SLR as there is no government security against the instruments, he said.
The BB, however, decided to scrutinise the BSEC proposal whether banks’ corporate bond investment could be included in the entities’ liquidity coverage ratio, Sur said.
The BB and the BSEC at the meeting agreed to work jointly to connect the BB’s MI-module with the stock exchanges with a view to increasing the treasury bonds and bills transaction.
Before sharing the server with the bourses, the BB will check whether such connectivity would create any cyber security-related risk or not, the BB deputy governor said.
The meeting also decided to expedite legal activities of the BB and the Department of Cooperatives with a view to vacating the writ petitions filed by Dhaka Mercantile
Cooperatives and Aziz Cooperatives which are engaged in illegal banking activities.
In some cases, the MRA cancels licences of cooperatives which are
involved in illegal activities but the Department of Cooperatives does not take the same action at the same time due to lack of coordination among the regulatory bodies, Sur said.
The issue was discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, he added. 

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