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Money laundering: Minister rebukes actors, calls for urgent actions

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A cabinet minister of the government came down heavily on Monday on the relentless act of money laundering and called for strict actions to prevent it for the sake of the country's economy.

"A large amount of money has already been siphoned off from the country and it is still taking place. It has to be stopped immediately," Agriculture Minister Dr. Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said, stressing the need for strict enforcement of the existing laws to check such capital flight.

He was speaking as a chief guest of a seminar on the country's customs regime, organised by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on the second day of its two-day revenue conference held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city's ?Sher-e-Bangla? Nagar area.

The minister said customs officials have to play their pivotal role in this regard while other stakeholders have also to discharge their duties in a due manner.

South Korea, now a developed nation, at one point of its economic development implemented capital punishment against the money launderers, he added.

He said the honest businesses are being deprived of their fair share of benefit due to the trade-based money launderers who resort to over-invoicing or under-invoicing mechanisms.

The minister also expressed his dissatisfaction that while the foreign development partners talk to the government, they raise the issue of money laundering.

Senior Secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen attended as the special guest while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem presided over the seminar. NBR Member Masud Sadiq made the opening remarks.

Dr Ahmed said there is a very common discussion on the significant gap in tax-GDP ratio, however it is also important to note that the country has to offer a noteworthy tax exemption to the industries for the sake of economic growth.

Taking part in the panel discussion, Energy and Mineral Resources Division Secretary Khairuzzaman Mozumder said Bangladesh Bank has taken some moves to thwart trade-based money laundering. To implement this properly, customs houses have to play a vital role, he added.

NBR Commissioner AKM Mahbubur Rahman made a keynote presentation on the evolution and development of customs and its contribution to economic progress.

Another Commissioner Mohammad Fyzur Rahman made a presentation on the modernisation and reforms of customs, smart customs from a digital one. He said smart customs means a safe, automated, risk management-based, and technology-driven customs regime.

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