Deputy Leader of the Opposition in Parliament GM Quader on Tuesday said though the irregularities in the health sector is now the key point of discussion in the country, no effective step is in sight to check the graft.
Joining the general discussion on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 in parliament, he also opposed keeping the scope for whitening black money as he thinks it is tantamount to legalising corruption.”
“Reports are being published in the newspapers every day on the irregularities and corruption in the Health Ministry. But it seems the minister and others concerned are not taking it seriously. A mask worth about Tk 4 is being bought at Tk 350. If there’s any factual truth, then action needs to be taken,” he said.
GM Qauder, also the chairman of Jatiya Party, said it is not possible to implement the budget, no matter how much money is allocated, due to corruption and lack of coordination and good governance. “They don’t get the benefit for whom the money is allocated just for lack of good governance.”
He said the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) found evidence of 1,024 cases of money laundering in the last five years and it has sent reports with evidence to various government agencies to take action against those involved in siphoning off money. “But there’s no information that punitive action has been taken against anyone.”
Referring to media reports, GM Quader said Bangladeshis’ deposits in Swiss banks have also been increasing, “According to Global Financial Integrity, about Tk 64,000 crore is siphoned off abroad from Bangladesh every year undercover of trade with false information.”
He said the scope for whitening black money has been kept in the national budget for many years, but it is contrary to the good governance and the Prime Minister’s zero-tolerance policy against corruption.
He said the black money whitening opportunity definitely encourages corruption and it should be stopped.
The Jatiya Party chief said the banking sector is now at a sorry state due to plundering and corruption, but no visible action has been taken against those involved in Bangladesh Bank’s reserve heist, Hallmark Tk 4,000 core loan scam, Bismillah Group's financial irregularities and Basic Bank's scam.
He said it was mentioned in the proposed budget that Tk 1,13,453 crore will be borrowed from the central bank. “How realistic is it to be dependent on banks which are now in a bad shape!”
Voicing concern over the uncertainty of Covid vaccine, he said it was mentioned in the budget about bringing most people under the vaccination programme, but no specific allocation was given to implement it.
The Jatiya Party chief said no one knows when the vaccination programme resumes and when it will end as there is an uncertainty about the collection of the vaccine.
He said crores of people lost their livelihoods while around 2.5 crore people became poor due to the Coronavirus fallout. “This number is increasing every day. If the lockdown and the recession in trade are prolonged, a state of famine may arise in the country.”