Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called upon the government not to burden people with foreign debts.
The anti-graft watchdog also urged the government to prevent tax evasion and money laundering by adopting "Common Reporting Standard", which helps banks and the financial sector to automatically exchange information on transactions.
In a statement issued Tuesday (9 August), TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said, "Although borrowing from the IMF and other international organisations is considered a common step to deal with foreign exchange shortages, the burden of repaying the loan with applicable interest will fall entirely on the public."
He said TIB wants to know whether the government has any alternative way in its consideration other than imposing the burden of debt on the public.
In this context, the organisation said the government can earn many times more than the proposed foreign loan by curbing tax evasion and money laundering at almost no cost.
According to Global Financial Integrity data, $8.2 billion was laundered annually through invoice fraud between 2008 and 2015.
Mentioning that the updated amount would be at least $12 billion, Iftekharuzzaman said, Bangladesh needs to adopt an effective CRS to prevent large-scale money laundering as well as enhance revenue collection.
Bangladesh has recently sought $4.5 billion balance of payment support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The country's foreign exchange reserves stood at $39.66 billion in August due to continued dollar selling while it was $48 billion in August 2021.
Bangladesh's trade deficit also hit a historic high of $33.25 billion in the fiscal 2021-22 due to surged up import and commodity price hikes in the global market.