In order to ensure banking services on a limited scale, the Bangladesh Bank has asked lenders to provide allowances to their employees at reasonable rates if they could not ensure transport facility in the ongoing lockdown.
The central bank, in a circular on Thursday, said banking services were limited in the lockdown put in place to rein in the spread of the coronavirus. But the bank officials and employees are suffering due to the closure of public transport.
As per the 13 April directive, banks are supposed to ensure the travel facility of their own employees under their own management in the lockdown. However, it is noticed that the banks are failing to provide the necessary vehicles for the officers and employees in all cases.
On the other hand, due to the inadequacy of public transport, employees are facing more expenses and suffering in travelling to banks. The central bank again directed the authorities concerned to ensure proper travel facilities to resolve this situation.
According to the new guidelines, if for any reason the travel facility cannot be ensured under one's own management, the travel allowance has to be paid. It has been said about the allowance, now bankers have to pay more than usual because there is a crisis in public transport.
The travel allowance should be fixed at a reasonable rate considering the issue of higher expenses and the related expenses should be approved at the next board meeting.
In line with the extension to the ongoing lockdown, the limited banking activities have also been extended till 28 April.
Although there is no objection to providing banking services in lockdown, many bankers said that they are suffering from the crisis of public transport.
In this context, some bankers said on condition of anonymity that they are suffering due to lack of public transport and not taking proper action from their offices. It is costing 10 to 20 times more than usual. Going to banks costs more than Tk200-400. It is true that giving them an allowance will reduce their expenses, but they are sceptical about how much they will get.
An official of Islami Bank said that their company is not providing any travel facility under its own management. Although a BRTC bus has been arranged from the bank's co-operative society, the fare to the office is Tk150 while the fare on public transport was Tk20-30.
Employees said they do not get a bus on their way back home from the office even by paying five times more than usual. The reason given is that although the office starts at the same time, it ends at different times for the employees of different departments. But as the bus leaves at the specified time, many people have to return home on their own initiative.