80 lakh bank accounts of farmers remain inactiveAKM Zamir Uddin
Around 80 lakh farmers’ bank accounts out of a total 95.86 lakh, which were opened with Tk 10 initial deposit, remained inactive in the just concluded financial year of 2011-12, according to Bangladesh Bank data.
Among the 16 lakh active farmers’ accounts in FY2012, farm loans were disbursed through 5.41 lakh accounts while 10.01 lakh accounts were used for savings, 35,806 for receiving local remittance and 26,801 for foreign remittance, the latest data of the central bank revealed.
Officials of Bangladesh Bank said that most of the farmers’ accounts, which were opened with the seven state-owned banks as per the central bank directive, remained inactive because of the banks’ reluctance to disburse farm loans through the accounts and their lack of initiative to popularise banking among rural farmers.
Although the seven banks, which opened the accounts between 2010 and 2011, disbursed Tk 8,426.39 crore in farm loans in the FY 2011-12, only Tk 223.54 crore, or 2.65 per cent loans, were distributed through 5.41 lakh farmers’ accounta.
An official of BB told New Age on Tuesday that the central bank had earlier asked the banks to distribute farm loans through farmers’ accounts in order to ensure transparency in loan disbursement.
‘But most of the banks did not follow the BB directive. As a result, the real farmers were deprived of getting farm loans,’ he said.
The official said that the BB had asked banks to open bank accounts for farmers with only Tk 10 deposit in 2010 to ensure farm loans and subsidy distribution and bring the savings of the farmers into the banking channel.
The seven banks operating the farmers’ accounts to disburse the loans and subsidy are: Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Agrani Bank, Rupali Bank, BASIC Bank, and two specialised banks — Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank.
BB data showed that only Tk 114.50 crore was deposited with 10.01 lakh accounts in FY2011-12.
Besides, only Tk 38.80 crore and Tk 22.25 crore were deposited as foreign remittance and local remittance respectively through the farmers’ accounts in the FY 2011-12.
‘The banks have taken no programme to popularise banking among farmers resulting in poor deposits and remittance disbursement,’ said another BB official.
He said that the farm loan distribution policy of the BB for 2012-2013 had asked banks to disburse loans to farmers through their bank accounts. ‘If the bank accounts also remain inactive this fiscal year, BB might take tough stance against the banks,’ he said.
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