The Financial Express

SoEs' funds: Govt eyes transfer of Tk 150b by June

New gen banks stand to suffer

Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | Published: May 16, 2020 09:27:25 | Updated: May 19, 2020 11:05:15

Illustrative photo Illustrative photo

The government plans to transfer Tk 150 billion from the surplus money of the state-owned enterprises or SoEs to the government exchequer during fiscal year 2019-20, finance ministry officials say.

Last year, in an unprecedented move, the government empowered itself to get the hold of the funds through passing a bill in parliament.

This surplus fund was deposited with different commercial banks in the country.

"We have already collected Tk 90 billion from some autonomous bodies and by June 30, we have plans to switch another Tk 60 billion", a senior official of the ministry told the FE preferring anonymity.

According to the officials, the process has already started to transfer an amount of Tk 50 billion from the Bangladesh Petrolium Corporation to the government treasury.

They have started transferring the fund at a rate of Tk 10 billion per month.

Petrobangla, another state-owned corporation, is going to deposit Tk 40 billion by June with the government exchequer with Tk 10 billion a month.

On the other hand, Power Development Board will deposit TK 20 billion at a level of Tk 5.0 billion and Rajuk will pay Tk 10 billion.

Other corporations will deposit the rest of the amount.

Finance ministry officials said the government is transferring the money in phases in a way so that the withdrawal can exert less pressure on the banks where the money was deposited.

The "Money of Self-Governed Agencies including Autonomous, Semi-Autonomous, Statutory Government Authorities and Public Non-Financial Corporations into the Government Exchequer Bill, 2019" was passed in parliament last year to mop up 75 per cent of the surplus deposits of the state agencies and bodies.

An estimated Tk 2,121 billion deposit was held by 68 autonomous, semi-autonomous, statutory authorities, public non-financial corporations with different banks.

But the move comes as a paradox since the total deposit in the banking sector is on the wane.

In December 2019, the total deposit in the banking system was Tk 1,184,829 million, but in January, it came down by 4.43 per cent to 1,132,317 million.

Many were critical of the government move, saying that it might lead to a liquidity crisis.

They said small and new generation banks would face problem since they are highly dependent on long-term deposits by the state- owned agencies.

During the passage of the bill, finance minister AHM Mostafa Kama argued that the move to transfer this surplus fund to its exchequer is aimed to ensure the quality use of what he called 'idle' money.

He also noted that the move would not trigger any liquidity crisis of the banking sector as this money will be reused through the banking system.

Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh Limited, argued that many small private and new generation banks would face problems due to the transfer of the fund as they were dependent on it to some extent.


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