Wednesday, January 20, 2021 | ePaper

Illegal capital outflow hinders adequate investment

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As per the recent Bangladesh Finance Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) reports, the corruption money from Bangladesh finds safe haven in top ten countries - Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, the UAE, Australia, Hong Kong, and Thailand. According to a news report on Thursday, since launderers are politically very influential persons, most of them always remain out of the touch of law enforcement agencies.
In fact, money laundering remains a major pain in countries like ours as it has everything to do with tax evasion and smuggling of monies across transnational borders with no oversight. These illegal activities are a major threat to the our development as the country finds it increasingly difficult to deliver sustainable growth in the face of diminishing resources for the economic activities like building infrastructures. To put things in right perspective, we could have built many mega infrastructures with the money siphoned off.
The report says the dirtied money was generated from crimes like tax evasion, trade proceeds, loan scams, smuggling, drugs, human trafficking and other underworld activities. Besides, trade over-invoicing remains an obstacle to achieving sustainable and equitable growth in the developing countries like Bangladesh. It further says investment visa, permanent residency, long-term residency; second home project and comfortable foreign exchange control regime are some of the major reasons that led many Bangladeshis to launder money to those countries.
The Washington-based research and advisory organization -- the Global Financial Integrity (GFI) - in its report has said that Bangladesh lost as much as Tk 5 lakh crore in illegal fund outflows in 2019. According to the latest Swiss Bank report, the Bangladeshis' have around Tk 5,500 crore deposits with the bank.
Besides, illegal remittance of foreign employees and untaxed and illegal transfer of remittance by foreign workers are also the sources of the illicit fund. The report says illicit outflow of funds from the country was 17.5 per cent of the country's total trade during the 2006-2015 periods.
It is shocking that money laundering abroad also shows the businesses' lack of confidence in investing in the country. Such a huge illegal outflow of capital is happening at a time when the country is suffering from lack of adequate investment. It has to be reversed at all cost.  

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