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Cenbank Unveils Roadmap to Slash Default Loans Below 8% by 2026

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The Bangladesh Bank has unveiled a roadmap aiming to reduce default loans to below 8% by June 2026. As of September last year, default loans in the banking sector amounted to Tk1.55 lakh crore, approximately 10% of the total outstanding, according to Bangladesh Bank data.

he new roadmap is in line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions as part of a $4.7 billion loan package. It emphasizes the pivotal role of shareholder directors and managing directors in the recovery process. Furthermore, the central bank has modified the loan write-off policy, allowing banks to write off loans in two years instead of the previous three, potentially reducing default loans by 2.76%, equivalent to Tk43,300 crore.

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Top Bank Executives Ordered to Address Currency Exchange Scandal

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The Bangladesh Bank has issued orders to the top executives of nine commercial banks, instructing them to transfer officials allegedly involved in foreign currency exchange irregularities at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. In a Thursday meeting, Deputy Governor Kazi Sayedur Rahman cautioned CEOs against the recurrence of such incidents, urging heightened oversight and security measures at airport booths.

Bangladeshi expatriate workers and travelers typically convert foreign currencies to Taka at bank booths and money exchangers upon returning to Bangladesh. However, some officials were found to be involved in exchanging foreign currencies directly without issuing proper vouchers or with fake vouchers, a practice considered money laundering.

The implicated banks include state-run Sonali, Janata, Agrani, and Probashi Kallyan, along with five private banks: Pubali, Jamuna, City, Mutual Trust, and Standard. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) verified the allegations following a formal complaint, conducting a raid and investigation at Shahjalal Airport on Monday.

ACC officials discovered that foreign currency arriving at Shahjalal Airport, meant to be deposited through the banking channel, was being manipulated by unscrupulous officials. Some were purchasing dollars and selling them in the open market without proper documentation, and in certain cases, currencies were being smuggled abroad.

In-bound passengers frequently exchange US dollars, euros, riyals, ringgits, pounds, and dinars at the airport, according to ACC officials. The central bank’s directive aims to curb malpractices and ensure the proper handling of foreign currency transactions at the airport.

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Cenbank Grants Approval to 8 Additional CA Firms for Auditing

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Following a thorough assessment of appeals from various audit firms in alignment with the enlistment policy, Bangladesh Bank (BB) has opted to augment the existing roster by incorporating eight additional chartered accountant (CA) firms.

With this recent inclusion, a total of 39 audit firms now meet the criteria for auditing banks and finance companies, according to a circular issued by BB today.

This circular has been disseminated by Bangladesh Bank, exercising its authority as stipulated under section-39(1) of the Bank Company Act, 1991 (Amended up to 2023) and section-37(1) of the Finance Company Act, 2023.

As per the circular, a single firm is permitted to audit a maximum of six banks and finance companies within a financial year.

The enlisted audit firms (Chartered Accountants) are: Qasem & Co; Wahab & Co; ACNABIN; Ahmed Zaker & Co; Ahsan Manzur & Co; Anil Salam Idris & Co; Arun & Company; Aziz Halim Khair Choudhury; Basu Banerjee Nath & Co; Chowdhury Bhattacharjee & Co; Das Chowdhury Dutta & Co; Dewan Nazrul Islam & Co; G Kibria & Co; Hoda Vasi Chowdhury & Co; Hoque Bhattacharjee Das & Co; Howladar Yunus & Co; Hussain Farhad & Co; Islam Aftab Kamrul & Co; Islam Jahid & Co; K M Alam & Co; Kazi Zahir Khan & Co; Khan Wahab Shafique Rahman & Co; M J Abedin & Co; M M Rahman & Co; M Z Islam & Co; MABS & J Partners; Mahamud Sabuj & Co; Mahfel Huq & Co; Malek Siddiqui Wali; Masih Muhith Haque & Co; MRH Dey & Co; Nurul Faruk Hasan & Co; Pinaki & Company; Rahman Rahman Huq (KPMG); S. K. Barua & Co; Shafiq Basak & Co; Snehasish Mahmud & Co; Syful Shamsul Alam & Co; Zoha Zaman Kabir Rashid & Co.

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Int. Finance Corp. Names Imad N. Fakhoury Regional Director for South Asia

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IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has appointed Imad N. Fakhoury as Regional Director for South Asia. Fakhoury, based in New Delhi, will lead IFC’s strategy and operations in the region, strengthening ties with the private sector, governments, and regional partners to enhance development outcomes.

Riccardo Puliti, IFC’s Regional Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, highlighted Fakhoury’s expertise in private capital mobilization for sustainable infrastructure and climate transitions, emphasizing the pivotal role in driving economic growth and job creation in South Asia. Puliti expressed confidence in Fakhoury’s leadership skills contributing to resilient economic growth.

IFC’s focus in South Asia encompasses strategic investments and advisory interventions across countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The organization aims to foster inclusive sustainable growth, promote global and regional integration, strengthen capital markets, enhance competitiveness, and address gender disparities.

Imad N. Fakhoury emphasized the importance of private sector investment in achieving South Asia’s development goals amid global challenges. He stressed IFC’s commitment to offering innovative and scalable solutions for a greener, more inclusive, and resilient development model. Fakhoury outlined IFC’s dedication to creating opportunities, sustaining jobs, supporting climate goals, improving inclusion, and expanding digital and financial access in the region.

In the fiscal year 2023, IFC provided nearly $3.45 billion in long-term investments in South Asia, including $1.3 billion mobilized from other investors. Fakhoury acknowledged IFC’s commitment to climate investments and delivering impactful outcomes post-COP28. He expressed eagerness to collaborate with stakeholders, focusing on sustainable infrastructure, empowering small businesses, and facilitating public-private partnerships to enhance the region’s resilience.

Imad N. Fakhoury joined the World Bank Group in 2019 and previously served as Global Director for Infrastructure Finance, PPPs & Guarantees. Prior to his World Bank tenure, Fakhoury held ministerial positions in Jordan from 2010-2018, contributing significantly to flagship PPP transactions and national strategic infrastructure projects. Fakhoury holds degrees in Biomedical Engineering, Engineering Management, Public Policy, and an MBA.

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