Stop flight of money: Civil society groups urge

Stop flight of money: Civil society groups urge

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Civil society members and some right groups yesterday demanded of the government for taking specific measures including stopping of illicit finance flow out of the country.
Many people and traders are involved in laundering money from the country in different ways like over and under invoicing process or through foreigners, they said.
Twenty one rights based civil society organisations and networks facilitated by EquityBD organised a press conference at the national press club titled “Stop illicit Finance flow to ensure development investment and revenue mobilisation.”They also suggested for the government to enhance development investment and necessary resource mobilisation, which are crucial issues, to make the country a middle income country by 2021.
Ahsanul Karim presented a position at the function. Other speakers were—Aminur Rasul Babul of Unnayan Dhara Trust, Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Society and Md. Badrul Alam of Bangladesh Krisak Federation.
On behalf of the group, Md. Ahasanul Karim made an eight-point demand. The demands are—(i) any Bangladeshi citizen holding duel passports must submit their detailed annual banking information and assets, (ii) the government has to prepare a white paper against Bangladeshi people investing in Malaysia’s second home project and make it public, (iii) inter-governmental agreement to be signed with different countries like Switzerland to exchange bank transaction information of Bangladeshi people as well as foreigners working in Bangladesh, (iv) develop legal procedure and stop illicit finance through “Hundi Process” and dismiss government and non-government officers who are involved in this illegal process, (v) government should replicate Indian initiative and introduce TIN (Tax Identification Number) for any purchase or transaction above US$ 2000 and if any irregularities are found, assets should be seized instantaneously, (vi) investigation should be crried out to trace out the money flow and White Paper should be issued to disclose financial plundering by “Bismillah, Hall Mark and state banks, (vii) government audit to be conducted on national and multinational companies to find out the money laundered through under invoicing & over invoicing process and (Viii) the government should investigate mobile banking and its financial transactions, because it is said to be used for laundering through human trafficking.
The government must ensure punishment of people involved in illicit money transaction, tax evasion or Malaysian second home project, the speakers demanded of the government.
Md. Ahsanul Karim mentioned that a total of US$18.41 billion had been smuggled from Bangladesh in 10 years since 2003 through trade invoicing, corruption, bribery and tax evasion as per a recent report of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI).
The government could earn near about BDT 36,000 core as additional revenue from the siphoned of money and will able to invest in the development program, he added.
Md. Badrul Alam of Krisak Federation said, “increasing of domestic revenue is urgent as we fail to mobilize resources to our national ADP (Annual Development Program) without foreign loan.”
Prodip K. Roy said that some Bangladeshi citizen have deposited Tk 3,236 core in 2013 in Bwiss Banks as disclosed by the Swiss National Bank.
Aminur Rasul Babul said, “about 2,370 Bangladeshi citizens have invested in Malaysian ‘my second home’ project between 2002 and 2013. Taking the advantage, about Tk 10,000 crore has been transferred from Bangladesh to Malaysia under the project to procure flat and land.”
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury said, “for the sake of our garment workers and mirant labour, the government should stop illicit finance flow and ensure the investment of these amounts for our poor people and their socio-economic development.”
The twenty one civil society organisations of this alliance are—Arpan, Online Knowledge Society, EquityBD, Udayan-BD, Bangladesh Sramik Federation, DSO, CDP, Kisani Sava, Jatio Sramik Jote, DOKAP, Nature Campaign-BD, Prantojan, BAFLF, Bangladesh Krisak Federation, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somiti, VOICE, Labor Resource Center, Sirajganj Flood Forum, Synergy Institute and Humanity Watch. – Staff Reporter

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