Bangladesh is lagging behind the neighbouring countries in terms of financial and economic inclusion as only one-third of the country’s population have bank accounts, according to a Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management study report released on Sunday.
The study report was disclosed at a seminar on ‘Bangladesh’ SDG Attainment: Role of the Banking Sector’ held at the BIBM auditorium in Dhaka.
BIBM director Md Mohiuddin Siddiqui announced the findings of the study while presenting the keynote paper at the seminar.
As per the study, more than 80 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population have bank account, and the figure is 53 per cent in India.
In Bangladesh, salaries of only 1.6 per cent government and private employees are disbursed through banks against 31 per cent in Malaysia and seven per cent in Sri Lanka, showed the study.
Affiliation of the country’s people to using debit card, savings and other financial activities is also lower compared with India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia, it said.
Mohiuddin said that engagement of people with the banks must be increased for the attainment of sustainable development goals.
BIBM director general Toufic Ahmad Choudhury presided over the seminar where Bangladesh Bank banking reform adviser SK Sur Chowdhury, BIBM chair professor and former Dhaka University professor Barkat-e-Khuda, former Sonali Bank managing director SA Chowdhury and Bangladesh Krishi Bank managing director Md Ali Hossain Prodhania spoke, among others.
SA Chowdhury said that banks disbursed 85 per cent of their loans in Dhaka and Chittagong, which was a great hindrance to achieving SDG goals.
Disbursement of loans to actual farmers would help financial inclusion, said Md Ali Hossain Prodhania adding that the BKB was giving the highest emphasis on ensuring disbursement of loans to farmers.
Barkat-e-Khuda said that economy was being affected by 2 per cent due to corruption and another 2 per cent due to traffic congestion. Elimination of these two could take the gross domestic product growth to 11 per cent, he said.
Corruption and traffic congestion must be eliminated, he said.
For ensuring financial inclusion as well as the SDGS, the central bank has introduced school banking, Tk 10 bank account for farmers and agent banking, said Sur Chowdhury.
He also mentioned the central bank’s special focus on adequate loan disbursement to small and medium entrepreneurs in this connection.