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The minister said while replying to a cut-motion placed by opposition MPs over allowing additional grant demand for the Finance Institution Division in the Supplementary Budget of 2020-21 fiscal.

The finance minister said, “The syphoning off people’s hard-earned money hurts me like others. I’m always against any irregularity, disorder and corruption in any place under any circumstances. We all and our government want these to be stopped.”

He said there was a time when sand used to be imported in the name of cement and one product used to be brought in the name of another product. “Now, under-invoicing and over-invoicing are hardly done. But I don’t say such things have stopped completely. We hardly see these things in the newspaper anymore,” he added.

The finance minister said the government will frame new laws aiming to reform the systems in the financial sector. “We’ll enact new laws so that our banks and financial institutions can run their activities smoothly with responsibility. We’ll create the scope. I’m assuring you.”

Pointing at the opposition MPs, he said, “If you know who siphon off money, please give us their names. Since you (MPs) are in parliament, you also have the responsibility like us. If you do so, it’ll be easier for us to take action against them.”

Kamal said many of those who committed such irregularities are still in jail and face trial unlike in the past.

Replying to criticisms from the opposition lawmakers, the finance minister said the loan interest rate in scheduled banks came down to 7.3 per cent from 12.3 per cent in the last 12 years. There were 6,425 banks and their branches in Bangladesh in the 2005-06 fiscal. Now the number has doubled.

He said banks have set up their branches in villages amid the growing demand of people and they are now getting services.

About default loans, Mustafa Kamal said the rate of default loans was 13.2 per cent in 2006, which has come down to 8 per cent now.

He said the amount of total outstanding loans was only Tk 1,520 billion in 2006, which has increased eight times, and now stands at Tk 1,187 billion now.

About the stock market, the finance minister said the market capitalisation now stands at over Tk 5,000 billion, up five times from Tk 1,040 billion. The daily average transaction in the capital market was only Tk 280 million in 2009, which also has gone high 30 times and stands at Tk 9.1 billion.

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