WITH Bangladesh off the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) 'grey list', local companies will now pay less for financial transactions internationally. Previously, foreign banks charged up to 1 per cent from Bangladeshi business houses to facilitate payments. This should now drop significantly. The country has consistently improved on its track record to fulfilling some 28 tasks including concrete steps taken against money laundering and terrorist financing by introducing various laws such as Anti-terrorism Act, 2009 and its amendment.
This is most certainly a step in the right direction to bring Bangladesh back into the list of countries compliant with the various conventions of the United Nations on money laundering and terror financing. With the setting up of a separate Finance Intelligence Unit (FIU), memoranda of understanding with 16 foreign similar institutions have been signed that will help facilitate the exchange of information, training and sharing of expertise. On a more local level, the government has appointed contact points in 21 ministries, divisions and agencies to help detect anomalies in transactions and better coordinate state agencies in the fight against terrorism financing and money laundering.
As financing of terror campaigns has gone global, it had become imperative to set in place the regulatory framework for detection and apprehension of such illegal activity. That Bangladesh is a compliant state has been recognised by the international watchdog is welcome news and the reduction in cost of doing business will provide reprieve for the business community.