This bill had been placed in parliament in March this year to consolidate payments and settlements, supervision and control, in order to reduce risks in financial transactions and to protect clients' interests. The bill was sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry to submit a report to the parliament after scrutiny.
Jatiya Party member of parliament Fakhrul Imam had raised an objection to the bill when it was placed in parliament. Though not a member of the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry, he was present at the meeting yesterday, Monday, on special invitation.
It is unfortunate that though there is a sort of unrest prevailing in market control and the economy, the parliamentary standing committee remains silent and evades its responsibility
According to sources at the meeting, Fakhrul Imam voiced his objection to a certain clause of the bill. The clause had mentioned the use of electronic currency issued by Bangladesh Bank as an alternative to the legally recognised currency.
Sources at the meeting said one of the committee members expressed displeasure at Fakhrul Imam's presence at the meeting. The member said that according to the rules of procedure, special invitations can be issued for the parliamentary committee meeting, but no one other than the members can remain once the meeting begins its business. In response, the committee president said there was no problem if anyone specially invited remained at the meeting.
Present at Monday's meeting chaired by the committee president Abul Hasan Mahmud Ali, were finance minster AHM Mustafa Kamal, Mohammad Abdus Shahid, Mustafizur Rahman Chowdhury, Abul Kalam Md Ahsanul Huq Chowdhury and Ahmed Firoz Kabir.
As other countries of the world, Bangladesh's economy has been impacted by the Russian-Ukraine war. Discussions abound about the rise in import costs and a possible economic crisis, but the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry remains mute. This committee's last meeting was held on 26 December last year. According to the Jatiya Sangsad (national parliament)'s Rules of Procedure, it is compulsory for the parliamentary standing committees on the various ministries to hold meetings at least once a month.
According to parliament's Rules of Procedure, the task of the ministry-based parliamentary standing committee is to scrutinise any bill or issue sent by the parliament and to review the performance of the ministry under the particular committee. The committee is to investigate any irregularities or serious allegations against the ministry and, if it so deems, to scrutinise any issue related to the committee and issue recommendations accordingly.
Experts on parliamentary affairs said the parliamentary standing committees can discuss various problems of the people and the country, can give meaningful recommendations to the ministries, can give directives. The committees can also point out any mistakes that may appear in the ministries' activities or policy decisions. But it is unfortunate that though there is a sort of unrest prevailing in market control and the economy, the parliamentary standing committee remains silent and evades its responsibility.
Member of the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry, Mustafizur Rahman Chowdhury, was asked over mobile phone why the meeting held after five months failed to discuss the state of the country's economy. He, however, was unwilling to discuss matters concerning the meeting.