Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The central bank of Bangladesh, for the first time, has undertaken an initiative to adopt a five-year strategic action plan to bring more people under the banking network coverage.

“We’ll announce the plan formally early January next year,” Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) Murshid Kuli Khan told a press conference at the central bank conference room Sunday.

Around 75 percent people of the country are still remaining outside the coverage of the banking system, which has prompted the central bank as well as the policymakers to think about bringing the maximum number of people in the society under the banking network.

The central bank and its top executives have long been stressing the need for “financial inclusion” of the vast majority of the population by bringing them under the banking coverage as they thought economic development would not possible in a faster pace without having these population in the formal economic channel.

Financial inclusion means ensuring broader availability of financial services and credit to the financially-excluded sections of the society.

The BB had interactions with senior officials of the central bank and also other stakeholders outside the central bank to formulate the draft action plan, which was also discussed at a two-day workshop held at Jamuna Resort, a tourist attraction on the bank of the mighty river Jamuna, at Bhuapur in Tangail district with BB Governor Dr Atiur Rahman in the chair.

“It’s a new concept of the central bank,” the deputy governor said. “We’ve been working for the last three months on how the central bank will be functioning in future,” he added.
He said at the initial stage of the financial inclusion, an aggressive agriculture credit campaign already kicked off across the country.

“We’ve given a big push to the agriculture sector, which would be followed by another big push to the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector to create jobs,” Mr. Khan said, adding that the remaining people would come under the strategic plan as part of the financial inclusion.

Under the plan, much importance will be given to the one-product, one-village or one-product, one-Upazilla (sub-district) concept to help promote area-wise products through bank loans.

The five-year plan will also focus on some major areas like monetary policy, banking system automation, skill development, capacity building and credit policy. The plan will be reviewed each year to update it with new measures.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-16November09-1:52 am (BST)