Parliament on Sunday passed a bill, titled the ‘Bank Company (Amendment) Bill, 2013’, seeking to strengthen the country’s banking system by reforming the existing laws.
Finance Minister AMA Muhtih piloted the bill.
Opposition MPs Rasheda Begum Hira, Nilufar Chowdhury Moni, Shahid Uddin Chowdhury Anee, Harun-Or-Rashid, Rehana Akther Ranu, Shammi Akhter, Nazim Uddin Ahmed, Jafrul Islam Chowdhury, ANM Shamsul Islam, Amjad Hossain, Golam Mostafa, Syeda Ashifa Ashrafi Papia, Lutfar Rahman, Abul Khayer Bhuiyan and ZIM Mostafa Ali, and independent MP Fazlul Azim opposed the Bill, opted for eliciting public opinion and proposed some changes in it.
Participating in the discussion, the opposition MPs and the independent MP came down heavily on the Finance Minister and asked him to resign for what they said his ‘complete failure’ to perform his duties properly.
In response to the criticism of the opposition MPs, Muhith turned down their demand and said that it was the BNP that unleashed the corruption in the banking sector.
“Looting is BNP’s character,” he said adding that the country for the first time has been on the right economic track under the current government.
Muhith said all the proposals placed by the opposition MPs should be placed in the waste box.
However, the proposals of the opposition MPs were rejected by voice vote and the bill was passed by voice vote, too.
The existing law, enacted in 1991, was last amended in 2003.
But, during the last 10 years, there have been many changes in the banking sector nationally and internationally, especially in the case of cross-border banking supervision.
The country’s banking sector has now become more dynamic and it has got international exposure. “So, the necessity of updating this law is much urgent than the other laws.”
The amendment also proposes increasing the number of total directors of a bank to 20, including four independent directors, and the term of a director has been fixed at three years and a director could serve for two successive terms.
However, a director could serve further after a gap of minimum one term while the same person could not be the director of more than one financial institution at a time.
The bill said that the relevant bank authorities will have to take permission from the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) before appointing an independent director.
It also said that after one year of passing the bill two members of a family will not be allowed to appoint as the director of the same bank.
The draft bill also keeps a provision of maximum Tk 20 lakh as fine for investing more than 10 percent of the paidup capital in the share market by the banking companies.
In case of continued violation of this provision, another Tk 50,000 will be fined per day from the second day of breaching.
The aim of the proposed bill is to improve good governance in the banking sector, control the participation of the banks in the capital market and protect the interest of the small investors.
Under the proposed bill, a provision has been made to prevent illegal banking in the name of cooperative societies. Besides, under the law, the definition and scope of loan defaulters have been simplified and widened.