Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The central bank is empowered to seek information on movable and immovable property abroad from any citizen of Bangladesh including non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) and foreign nationals staying in Bangladesh as resident to check illegal fund transfer, officials said.

“The central bank is now empowered to seek statement from the persons any time to make a return of their holdings of foreign exchange, foreign securities, and of any immovable property or industrial or commercial undertaking or company outside the country, held, owned, established or controlled by him,” a senior official the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, said.

The central bank of Bangladesh has been authorized to implement the Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Act, 2015 that was passed by the National Parliament on Sunday last.
An individual staying in Bangladesh for six months or more in the last twelve months will be treated as a person resident in Bangladesh, according to the central banker.

“But the person resident in Bangladesh shall not include foreign diplomatic representatives or accredited officials of such representations located within Bangladesh.”

Earlier, the BB could only ask for submitting information from Bangladeshi citizens about their holdings of foreign currency and foreign securities.

The government’s latest moves came against the backdrop of rising trend in illicit money outflows from Bangladesh, as reported by the Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

The latest findings of Washington-based GFI that was formed in 2006 to analyse unrecorded money disappearing out of developing countries – show that ‘illicit financial outflows’ from Bangladesh averaged, on an annual basis, at US$ 1.3 billion between 2003 and 2012.

Besides, the central bank is empowered to penalise any banks or money changers for non-compliance of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 as amended up to September 6 last.

Talking to BBN, a BB senior official said the government will issue a rule for implementation of the newly passed Act after receiving its gazette notification.

“The government has amended the Act aiming to create enabling business environment in Bangladesh,” the central banker explained.

He also said it will also help expedite trade and services activities in the country.

Under the Act, foreign companies are allowed to set up their branches, representative and liaison offices in Bangladesh only receiving permission from the Board of Investment (BoI).

Earlier, permissions were required from both the BoI and the central bank to establish such offices.