Spoon feeding state sector banks

It appears the country’s state run banks have become like a bottomless pit devouring huge public resources year after year to keep them artificially afloat. Needless to say, the monies are being poured into these institutions just to cover up fearful capital shortages they have been incurring without a pause or a turnaround. The injection of public resources progressively have been going into an endless black void. The deficits of these banks cosmetically made up with taxpayers’ money would make sense if their management showed any sign that the continuous loss making had at last stopped and a strong comeback was noted.
But this is not the case which raises inexorably the question :why go on spoon feeding these banks without a structured plan and its execution to ensure that their management are truly streamlined, made accountable and obliged to work towards ways and means to cut losses, really improve credit management and attempt swiftest recoveries of bad debts. As it is, it appears that none of these goals are being pressed with any great enthusiasm. Only at every fiscal year’s end, fresh additions of public funds are made into these banks to give them an apparent look of normalcy and perpetuate in their loss-making culture.
A recent media report quoting an official study said Taka 2,000 crore has been already pumped into the ailing state sector banks in the on going fiscal year. It further says the government has provided some 10,000 crore Taka to these banks for the window dressing of their balance sheets in the last five years. All these figures are not only head-spinning but outrageous surely for the reasons that inefficiencies, corruption and sheer thievery are being so unconscionably allowed by the very guardians of our financial system namely the Finance Ministry and the Bangladesh Bank (BB).
The Finance Minister at times have admitted to these gross irregularities in the state run banks. In characteristic fashion he heaped scorn on their management, political interference, cronyism and other ills for the situation in the state run banks. But the obvious question that cannot help but arise is :what he himself, as the supreme regulator of the financial system in this country has done so far to ensure the stemming of the rot in the state run banks. As it is, he is presiding over the entire financial sector and cannot disown or distance himself from any grave mal functioning in it just saying that he is powerless to do anything about it or it’s not his business.
He must take responsibility for any major pitfall in the financial sector. Nor he can pass the buck explaining that BB also as the regulator is not delivering as expected. All insiders know that independence of the BB is a theoretical construct. The Banking Division of the Finance Ministry remains to curb the independent moves of the BB as it choses. And successive Governors of BB are on record for stating to the media how their specific directives for taking curative and punitive actions against unscrupulous elements in the management tiers of the state run banks were thwarted by the busybodies in the Ministry.
The state of affairs in the state run banks have crossed the threshold of risk affordability and reasonableness. The same must be addressed immediately and decisively with unsparing measures set in motion from the highest level of the government.


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