The CSR (corporate social responsibility) expenditure of banks in the health sector has more than doubled in the first six months of the current year during the Covid-19 pandemic compared to the previous six months.
The banking sector spent almost Tk238 crore in the health sector from January to June. Compared to July – December last year, CSR expenditure in the health sector has increased almost Tk160 crore.
This information was obtained from the CSR activities report on banks and financial institutions published by Bangladesh Bank on Thursday. The central bank publishes this report every six months.
According to the report, CSR expenditure in the health sector has increased as banks spent more to distribute Covid-19 related health aid to the public, like face masks, sanitisers, PPEs, testing kits, and oxygen cylinders. Banks also spent significantly more on hospitals and clinics to ensure treatment of those infected with Covid-19, which contributed to the spike in CSR expenditure.
Earlier, in a June notification last year, the central bank directed all banks to spend 60% of their CSR budget in the health sector.
Other expenditures at a glance
On the occasion of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina directed that no one in the country should be landless and homeless.
In accordance with the directive, banks spent more of their CSR money on infrastructure development. In the latest six months, expenditure in this sector has increased more than 700% compared to the same period last year.
In the education sector, banks have spent Tk23 crore, which is 90% less than in the July – December period last year.
Banks spent on scholarships for lower secondary, secondary, higher secondary, undergraduate and postgraduate students as educational institutions were closed during the period under review. They also provided various educational materials and contributed to the development of education infrastructure.
State-owned commercial banks spent around 0.68% of their total CSR budget. Specialised banks did not spend any money on CSR. Of the remaining 42 private commercial banks, 38 banks disbursed 98% of their total CSR expenditure from January– June this year.
According to the Bangladesh Bank report, out of 34 financial institutions in the country, 13 financial institutions spent only about Tk3 crore in the CSR sector from January – June this year.