Mr traveller!

20 August 2017 Kazi Zahidul Hasan

Frequent foreign trips by senior officials of Bangladesh Bank (BB) are not slowing down, rather on the rise. Many wonder what benefits such trips bring to the country at the expenses of national exchequer.
Foreign trips remained a talking point for many of the BB officials for last several years as their top bosses were making overseas tours so frequently due to absence of a proper guideline in this regard.
Former BB governor Dr Atiur Rahman faced intense criticisms for his frequent foreign trips. But such criticism apparently fails to prevent his successors from paying visits to foreign countries, officials said.  
Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan, who has been a Deputy Governor at the central bank since January 2012, will attend the "Third Bilateral Counter Terrorism Financial Banking Dialogue" to be held in Kuala Lumpur from August 28-30.
This will be his eleventh foreign trip in last 12 months.
He will participate in the programme as a guest of honour.
The organisers will bear his hotel rent and plane fares, and also provide him with a daily allowance for attending the event
However, Razee Hassan, who is also the Chief of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), has sought an additional     allocation of Tk 2.47 lakh from the concerned authorities for his Malaysia trip.       
Since August 2016, Razee Hassan visited the United States thrice and one time each to Japan, Spain, Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Macao and Sri Lanka.
Most of the programmes he attended were official and the central bank had to bear the cost. But in some cases the conference organisers had paid the expenses for the trips.
This year, Razee Hassan first went to Qatar to attend "Egmond Group of Financial Intelligence Units'' Meetings. He stayed there for six days (from January 29-February 3).
In February, he went to Japan to attend Japan-IMF Macroeconomic Seminar for Asia (JIMS) in a four days trip. (From February 20 to February-24).
In May, he went to the USA to attend meeting with USDOJ, FBI, FinCEN and FRB NY.  He stayed there for a week (May 15-22).
The Deputy Governor went to Spain in June this year to join the plenary and working groups meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
He stayed Spain for six days (June 18-23).
Razee Hassan went to Macau to join the 24th Egmond Group Plenary Meetings held there from July 2-7.
He also visited Sri Lanka in the same month for attending APG Annual Meeting and Technical Assistance Forum held from July 17-21.    
Last year, Razee Hassan in August 2016, visited Indonesia for attending 2nd Joint Indonesia Australia Regional Counter Terrorism Financing Summit-2016. He stayed there for three days from August 8-11.
He went to the USA during the third week of August in the same year. During his five days stay (August 15-19), he attended a tri-part meeting arranged by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Again, he went to the USA in September to attend APG Annual Meeting and stayed there for five days (September 5-8).
In November, he went Saudi Arabia to attend a workshop on "MENAFATE/APG Joint Typologies and Capacity Building". He stayed there for four days (Nov 28-December 1).
In the fiscal year (2017-18), the central bank has allocated Tk 11 crore for the purpose of foreign trips and trainings of its officials.
"On average, the Deputy Governor has been making one foreign trip every month. He may be following our former governor who made trips so frequently," a BB official told The New Nation on condition of anonymity.

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