Defaulted loans bleeding Chattogram economy with no visible steps from authorities20 April 2023
The report is very disconcerting. Loan defaulters of the port city of Chattogram in their large numbers are leaving Bangladesh and settling abroad rather easily under the very watch of this government. Quoting sources of banks, industry insiders, lawyers, and court officials, a national daily yesterday reported that 33 owners of 22 business organisations in Chattogram left the country in the last one decade after borrowing around Tk 20,000 crore.
Among these names of businesses are Habib Group, Nurjahan Group, Mostofa Groups, Mahin Enterprise, Mishmak Group, Yasir Enterprise, Crystal Group, Imam Enterprise, etc. These loan defaulters have brought the economy of the port city to a serious crisis in particular and the overall economy of the country in general.
These deviant businessmen are now residing in countries around the world including Canada, England, the USA, Malaysia, the UAE, Turkey, Australia, Montenegro, and Singapore, and are operating various businesses abroad, including star rated hotels, money exchange businesses, real estate, super shops, and petrol pumps. The newspaper report further says that these businessmen are facing multiple financial and cheque dishonour cases as well as arrest warrants. Still, 26 of them were banned from leaving the country. When 13 of them left the country before the ban was imposed, the other 13 fled after the ban was imposed.
Bangladesh is perhaps the only country in the world where the business people against the interest of the state get direct patronage from the power allegedly because people within the power are beneficiaries of these loan defaults. Not surprisingly, the authorities are not serious about bringing the loan defaulters and recovering the loaned money. They have not taken any initiatives in this regard.
Bangladesh is currently hit by a balance of payment crisis with living costs having gone beyond the capacity of most people. In this situation, bringing the laundered money as well as recovering the defaulted loans is vital.
To bring these defaulters back to the country, as have been pointed out by banks, it is necessary that the lender banks, the Bangladesh Bank, and law enforcement agencies need to collaborate and work together. But such an effort perhaps can hardly be possible under this government that itself is largely responsible for the present economic mess.