Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The central bank has asked the commercial banks to open accounts for the workers of small footwear and leather goods factories under Leather Sector Business Promotion Council (LSBPC) for payment of their wages through the banking channel, officials said on Thursday.

“We’ve taken the latest move to bring the workers under the banking network to gear up the ongoing financial inclusion programme in Bangladesh,” a senior official at Bangladesh Bank (BB) explained.

Under the new provisions, interested workers at footwear and leather goods factories will able to open their own accounts with banks by depositing only BDT 100 along with submission of the National Identity (NID) cards and the ID cards, issued by their respective organisations.

The BB issued a circular in this connection Thursday and asked the chief executive officers and managing directors of all commercial banks for taking immediate action in this connection.

 “Keeping minimum balance will not be applicable to this account and no charges will be imposed,” the central bank said in its circular, adding that the banks would also be allowed to make transactions in such accounts with vouchers in case of shortage of cheques.

The banks have been  asked to submit their reports on opening of accounts for the workers on a quarterly basis in prescribed forms to the Green Banking and CSR Department of the BB within 15 days of the end of a quarter, according to the circular.

“We’ve advised the banks to submit the report accordingly. For example, the first report for up to December 31, 2013 quarter should be submitted by January 15, 2014,” the central banker explained.

There are 207 tanneries with an annual ‘installed capacity’ of processing of about 400 million square feet wet blue, 300 million square feet crust leather and 140.39 million square feet finished leather, the trade promotion body said on its website.

Bangladesh exports about 200 million square feet of hides and skin in the form of leather and leather products, the bulk of which is crust leather, the LSBPC said, adding that leather and leather products contribute more than BDT 54.69 billion annually to the country’s economy.

The LSBPC has been established under the ministry of commerce aiming to promote the export of leather and leather goods.

BBN/SSR/AD-28Sept13-12:20 pm (BST)