BB asks banks to clear overseas banks’ payments on time

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:36, Jan 27,2021

 
 

A file photo shows the Bangladesh Bank headquarters at Motijheel in the capital. The Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday asked the banks, which have overdue import bills with overseas banks, to clear the payments soon otherwise the central bank would deduct the overdue amounts from the respective banks’ accounts with it and clear the bills of the foreign banks concerned. — New Age photo

The Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday asked the banks, which have overdue import bills with overseas banks, to clear the payments soon otherwise the central bank would deduct the overdue amounts from the respective banks’ accounts with it and clear the bills of the foreign banks concerned.

The central bank gave the instruction at a meeting, known as bankers meeting, with managing directors of the banks. Bankers joined the meeting online, the meeting sources said.

BB governor Fazle Kabir presided over the meeting.

The non-payment of import bills by the country’s banks has drawn complaints from overseas banks.

As a result of the banks’ failure to clear overseas payments, the overseas banks are increasing confirmation charges. Under the confirmation, the exporters were assured by banks that they would get their payments even if the importers fail to clear payments.

The slapping of additional confirmation charges by the overseas banks is also increasing the country’s overall spending against imports along with tarnishing the image of the country.

As of September 30, 2020, a total of 29 local banks had unsettled import bills. Of the banks, performance of several banks was not satisfactory.

The volume of overseas overdue import bills became $23.79 million. Besides, local bills worth $31.22 million have become overdue till September 30, 2020.

A meeting source said that the BB would set a bank-specific deadline for the banks to clear the overseas banks’ claims.

Mentioning the non-payment of the country’s banks as a contravention of rules and regulations, the BB officials asked the banks to clear overseas import bills on time.

BB spokesperson Md Serajul Islam told New Age that the BB gave a stern instruction to the banks to clear matured inland bills.

If they fail to comply with the directive, the BB would take measures as per rules, he said.

On the implementation of the refinance scheme, Fazle Kabir at the meeting asked the banks to complete disbursement of the entire fund within the stipulated time.

After the banks’ failure to implement the two major packages — Tk 40,000 crore package for the large industries and Tk 20,000 crore package for the cottage, micro, small and medium entrepreneurs — within the stipulated time, the central bank extended the deadline by three months.

Kabir also said that the implementation of the stimulus packages would not only help businesses in tackling the coronavirus-induced economic shocks but also would give banks respite from excess liquidity problem.

Besides, the implementation of the package would help boost the country’s private sector credit growth, the BB governor said.

The country’s banking sector has been suffering from excess liquidity worth Tk 2.04 lakh crore amid the implementation of expansionary monetary policy taken to take the private sector credit growth to 14.8 per cent in the fiscal year 2020-2021. Private sector credit growth has been hovering at 8 per cent since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Of the government-announced 23 packages, the central bank has been monitoring implementation of nine packages directly.

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