Concern about outflow of resources

Bangladesh has lost between US$6 billion and US$9 billion to illicit money outflows in 2014, according to a Global Financial Integrity (GFI) report. The Washington-based research and advisory organisation recently released the report based on a research on 150 countries.Bangladesh lost a total of  US$75 billion due to trade misinvoicing and other unrecorded outflows between 2005 and 2014, according to the report.
A country will experience inflows and outflows of resources from it and these are to be considered as legitimate activities in many cases. But when the outflows to a large extent are the outcome of illegitimate operations, then the economy of the country stands threatened. This has been the case in respect of Bangladesh, a relatively poor country in the world which should normally aspire to keep within its boundaries as much resources as possible for  its own utilisation when  the realities seem to very different. It is no more a matter of speculation but a well known fact that huge resources are being drained away from Bangladesh by a class of wastrels and parasites  who are least motivated by ethical or patriotic feelings.
In the pre independence days, the entire economic argument for the establishment of Bangladesh was based on retention of local resources for the benefit of the local economy. But to what extent  this principle is being applied now in the free country ? Any  impartial assessment would show up a  substantial outflow of resources  out of the country through  illegal and unethical means. This flight of resources from the country, its level and impact on the economy, calls for an urgent study and if it is carried out the same would likely establish that the resource flight is on a  large scale.
Persons with modest salaries as civil servants in Bangladesh are seen building palatial houses in no time .  In many cases, they educate their offsprings abroad and for that purpose  and their maintenance remit large amounts of money on a regular basis many times over and above the legitimate bounds of foreign currency available  to them for the same. Many of  them on retirement– or even before their retirement–  decide to acquire permanent resident status abroad. They then sell off their houses and  other assets and remit the whole amounts  in foreign currency. Clearly, they cannot do so legally  and resort to the unlawful ‘hundi’ or the  clandestine way of resource transfer. In many cases, even rents and other income, derived locally, are unlawfully going out of the country to foreign lands and getting invested there which should have been retained by the country for its own use. Then, there are also aspects of undeclared incomes of businesses similarly leaving for foreign destinations. One may point to the inflow of remittance from expatriate Bangladeshi workers as a positive sign. However, the cumulative effect of such inward remittances could be much greater if it was matched by a hard brake put on the illegitimate outflow of resources.
It  is so necessary to strengthen the barriers against such freestyle and unauthorised transfer of resources. The enforcement bodies presently are little equipped to take actions against such financial crimes. They should be better trained and enabled for an effective role in this sphere. The legal gaps in the laws to tackle money laundering and related crimes are also noted. The laws, specially the Money Laundering Prevention Act (MLPA) should be suitably upgraded  or amended to give them more bite and facilitate the law enforcers. The recommendation for the establishment of an inter-agency strike force against financial crimes also needs acting upon positively and urgently.


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