Nine banks asked to tighten forex vigilance at Dhaka airport
The Bangladesh Bank yesterday instructed nine banks, including four state-run lenders, to transfer officials who have been in charge of their foreign exchange booths at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for more than one year.
The banks are Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Janata Bank, Probashi Kallyan Bank, City Bank, Jamuna Bank, Pubali Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, and Standard Bank.
The central bank also asked the lenders to bring the booths under round-the-clock CCTV surveillance to tackle capital flight and illegal foreign currency transactions.
The instructions came during a meeting between Bangladesh Bank officials and managing directors and representatives of the nine banks that have forex booths.
BB Deputy Governor Kazi Sayedur Rahman presided over the meeting, where Md Sarwar Hossain, director of the central bank's foreign exchange policy department, and other officials were present.
Contacted, Md Mezbaul Haque, executive director and spokesperson of the central bank, told The Daily Star that banks had been asked to strengthen monitoring of forex booths considering media reports about capital flight.
That is the reason the central bank had called the meeting, he said.
Mashrur Arefin, managing director of City Bank PLC, said that City Bank doesn't have any foreign exchange booths at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at present.
Mirza Eliash Uddin Ahmed, managing director of Jamuna Bank, said the central bank had instructed banks to transfer existing in-charges and appoint new ones.
"It also asked to ensure that the new in-charges are appointed for only one year."
The BB added that booths must also be under constant surveillance. If the CCTVs are switched off, forex transactions must also remain suspended during the period as well.
Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank, said he did not attend the meeting but had received the instructions.
He added that transferring booth officials or in-charges from the airport is a lengthy process because it is a secure zone.
"It may take at least two months to transfer them."
Md Abdul Jabbar, managing director of Janata Bank, attended the meeting and confirmed that they had received instructions to strengthen monitoring at booths to tackle capital flight.
Generally, outbound passengers can purchase foreign currencies from the booths.