Its Teknaf branch becomes a party office
Special Correspondent: The government banks stopped issuing letters of credit (LC) long ago because of dollar crisis. But the C&F traders of Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf land port could not stop their business. They have to approach private banks to redeem goods imported from Myanmar.
And in this opportunity, private banks are grabbing more prices than the dollar price set by the government to open FDD (Franchise Foreign Demand Draft). Traders are keeping the price of imported products from Myanmar including ginger, fish, onion, garlic and pickles to withdraw this extra money. The market is becoming unstable due to this.
C&F traders said that FDD is not given unless they get Tk 7 to Tk 10 more than the fixed price of Bangladesh Bank.
If you want to release the goods that came in the order, you have to pay the extra price. Although the price of dollar was Tk 106.90 on Tuesday, AB Bank, the only bank offering FDD in Teknaf, kept it at Tk 115.23 per dollar. However, the bank is not giving the receipt of additional collection. Again, to get these FDDs, Awami League’s district and divisional leaders and officials of various departments need lobbying.
They also said that due to the high price of the dollar, the import of food products is being hindered. Naturally, prices of all types of goods imported from Myanmar have increased. In addition to traders, ordinary consumers are also in trouble.
Omar Farooq, the owner of M/s Farooq Traders, the top businessman of Teknaf port said, “Tk 34.50 lakh has to be paid against $29.990 dollars in an LC on Monday. In this case, the price of the dollar has fallen to Tk 115.23. But I have been given a receipt of Tk 106.90. Still, I was forced to take FDD at that rate due to the fear of wasting raw material. He said that Sonali Bank stopped trading long ago due to the dollar crisis. Since then, this complication has been created.
Another businessman Abu Ahmed said, ‘Now only AB Bank is giving FDD. As the supply is less than the demand, we are forced to buy dollars at an additional price set by the government.
It is known that at least 17 FDDs are given every day. But AB Bank is grabbing Tk 35-40 lakh per day by taking Tk 7 to Tk 9 more than the fixed rate of Bangladesh Bank. When traders go to withdraw this extra money, market volatility increases. Not only that, FDD does not happen without the lobbying of the leaders. Serials of FDD are done before and after lobbying by district and divisional level leaders or MPs of the government party. Lobbyists also have to be ‘supervised’. And to withdraw this money, consumers’ pockets are being cut.
Some businessmen complained that AB Bank Teknaf branch has now turned into a party office. Every day Awami League leaders are lobbying FDD on behalf of some businessman. And on this occasion, the AB Bank authorities are keeping the price of the dollar unethically high.
Complaints of traders, defending the lobbying of leaders or big bureaucrats, many serial traders do not get FDD as per rules. And due to not getting FDD on time, raw material wastage also happened. Abdu Salam, owner of Salam and Brothers, said, “I got the FDD serial in December last year. Since then, I have not been given another chance citing the dollar crisis. However, those who are lobbying with the leaders of the ruling party, they are regularly getting the opportunity of FDD.
AB Bank Teknaf Branch Manager Manjur Alam Chowdhury has admitted the fact of increasing the dollar price. However, without giving any explanation, he told, “If you want to know anything, contact the AB Bank head office.”
Meanwhile, since his (manager’s) statement on Wednesday, the businessmen of the port have said that the business has stopped in that branch.
Relying on revenue to meet budget deficit Savings certificates, bonds and loans taken from…