Finance minister Kamal unaware of fund diversion to bourses

FE REPORT | Friday, 30 July 2021

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Thursday said he did not know whether the money of the pandemic-linked stimulus packages was channelled to the stock market, creating bubble in bourses.

Mr Kamal's comment came after his attention was drawn to recent media reports that the money of stimulus packages was invested in bourses, instead of utilising those for designated purposes.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get such information. I'll verify and let you know in the next meeting," said Mr Kamal in reply to a query after a meeting of the cabinet committee on government purchase (CCGP).

It is specified that how much money of the Covid-19 stimulus packages will be spent in which sectors, he commented.

"There is no way to utilise the money in other sectors," the minister uttered.

The local media outlets made such reports referring to central bank officials.

The government earlier announced stimulus packages worth Tk 1.27 trillion to help the pandemic-hit businesses and people make a turnaround and make a living as well.

However, many businesses have taken out low-cost loans from the packages, but they have allegedly diverted the funds to the stock market.

Thursday' CCGP meeting approved six proposals while a meeting of the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) okayed three more proposals.

The CCEA meeting approved removal of a project styled 'Construction of Laldia Bulk Terminal' from the list of public-private partnership (PPP).

The minister said 59.87 acres of land were selected for the project which is now found not big enough to build a terminal that can meet the present need.

"Still, we couldn't sell the PPP concept in Bangladesh properly," he said replying to another query.

Instead of spending own funds, Mr Kamal says, the country needs to attract foreign direct investment in increased volume to implement large-scale projects.

Responding to another query, he said, leather industry in Bangladesh has a very good future but the sector is yet to utilise its potential. "We're working to help boost the sector," Mr Kamal mentioned.

The CCEA meeting also approved procurement of Oracle Cloud for Four Tier Data Centre under the Bangladesh Data Centre Company Ltd in a direct-purchase method.

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