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09th-Apr-2018

They are looters, not defaulters

By

BORROWING money from banks and never paying back -- that is the common tactic followed by the top businesses in the country. News media reported that the business conglomerates declined to be tagged as defaulters and audaciously filed a writ petition in this regard. Significantly, their businesses turn bad only when the issue of loan payment comes forth. The Central Bank, respective commercial banks, and the business groups all seemingly act to serve the defaulters what they wish. The all-pervasive corruption that essentially made the regulator inactive using political connotation is a dangerous sign of a failed economy. Perhaps, we are in a time when morally bankrupt people are bolstered enough to steal State-owned Banks (SoBs) in the name of borrow and fill their own businesses by the amount.
The lead entrepreneurs whose conglomerates control a large share of private commercial banks, pharmaceuticals, apparels, shipping, fashion industry, the newspaper industry and many other markets are loan defaulters with SoBs. Following political turmoil that gripped the country during 2013-14, 11 business groups, led by Beximco, were given a lenient rescheduling benefit of Tk 15,000 crore by the Central Bank. According to the restructuring conditions, if any company fails to pay two consecutive installments, it would be considered defaulting on loans and the banks would then sue the company to recover the loan money. Two years down the line, six of these companies failed to repay the installments.
What it is astonishing that, the Companies are now seeking fresh restructuring and rescheduling of their loans. The Central Bank is also apparently washing off its hands saying the issue should be solved on the basis of "bank-client relationship" contrary to what it had said before the restructuring. Not only that, the BB also allowed some banks to further relax the concessions earlier given to the companies.
The case of Beximco is interesting. It makes a profit, pays a dividend and does not yet pay back loans, something many views as unjustifiable. The five others are also blind followers of this bad culture-- like SA Group which recently occupied two banks. The SA Group, Ratanpur Group, RSRM and MR Group have filed writ petitions with the High Court against its defaulter status. Breaching existing laws, the top loan defaulters also hold an important position with at least four commercial banks and the companies regularly provide share dividend in the capital market.
Surprisingly, all the things are happening before the government's high-ups acknowledgement. If the situation continues in this way, the "rule of law" will remain only in books.
Here, we see the irresponsibility of Bangladesh Bank which is apparently run by an incompetent person. Is there any need of a Central Bank in this country that has no capacity to regulate the banking sector?