Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The central bank of Bangladesh has allowed shipping lines, airlines and multimodal transport operators to open and maintain foreign currencies (FC) accounts with the banks to facilitate foreign trade, officials said.

“The central bank has relaxed its foreign exchange regime aiming to facilitate payments in foreign currency for handling of FOB (free on board) imports from their receipts in foreign currency against handling of FOB exports,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.

Under the relaxations, shipping lines, airlines and multimodal transport operators licensed as freight forwarders by customs authorities have been allowed to open and maintain accounts in the US dollar or other freely convertible currencies with authorised dealer banks in Bangladesh, in which their receipts in foreign currency against their handling of FOB export cargos from Bangladesh will be credited.
“Funds from these accounts will be usable in foreign currency for payments abroad towards costs and charges relating to their handling of FOB imports into Bangladesh,” the BB said in a circular, issued on Monday.

For FOB imports, the banks may at request of their importer clients make payments of freight charges in the local currency or in equivalent foreign exchange to shipping lines/airlines/eligible licensed freight forwarders, out of the total value of the LCAF (letter of credit authorisation form) issued for the import covering costs of goods and freight, according to the circular.
“The receipts in foreign exchange will be used through the foreign currency accounts maintained by shipping lines/airlines/eligible licensed freight forwarders,” it explained.
The circular also said shipping lines/airlines may accept freight charges on FOB exports in foreign currencies from the eligible licensed freight forwarders. “In such cases, the shipping lines/air lines will themselves submit necessary encashment certificates with routine monthly returns to the BB.”
The banks will inform the Foreign Exchange Operation Department (FEOD) of head office, or relevant area office of BB immediately (by the next business day) as and when each such foreign currency account is opened, it added.
The central bank said all receipts and payments transactions through these accounts will have to be included in the monthly collection and disbursement statements routinely submitted to the BB by shipping lines/airlines through their authorised dealer banks.
“Eligible licensed freight forwarders shall, through authorised dealer banks, also submit monthly statements to the BB of collections and disbursements against the handling of FOB exports and imports,” it noted.
Transaction statements of these foreign currency accounts will also have to be submitted to the FEOD at head office or relevant area office of the central bank on a quarterly basis for post facto checking to satisfy that reasonable amounts from the foreign currency accounts have been encashed to Bangladesh Taka (BDT) towards defraying of local costs and tax liabilities, according to the circular.

BBN/SSR/AD-24Feb14-11:42 pm (BST)