A delegation from the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) headed by its President, Md. Saiful Islam, called on the newly appointed Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB), Mr. Abdur Rouf Talukder, at his office on Wednesday (27 July).
The President congratulated the Governor for assuming his new role. He also appreciated his clearly indicating his three priority areas from the very beginning: controlling inflation, managing the exchange rate, and increasing the foreign exchange reserves, read a media release.
He praised the professional excellence displayed by BB during crucial periods and commended its efficient management of the money market.
The other members of the delegation were Senior Vice-President Mr. Kamran T. Rahman, Vice-President Mr. Habibullah N. Karim, Members of the Board of Directors Mr. Syed Tareque Md. Ali, Mr. Rubaiyat Jamil, Ms. Nihad Kabir, Mr. Anis A. Khan, Mr. Syed Nasim Manzur, and the Secretary-General and CEO, Mr. Farooq Ahmed.
Md. Saiful Islam drew attention to the recent reduction of the exporters' retention quotas (ERQ) by BB which would impact the export. The Governor mentioned that it was a temporary measure to face the immediate challenges of the Dollar scarcity and would not last beyond December 2022.
Mr. Syed Nasim Manzur, another member of MCCI's Board of Directors and a former President, mentioned about the devaluation of the Bangladeshi Taka as per market demand instead of what is being done presently. He suggested the introduction of a real effective exchange rate. The rates could be fixed separately for import and export.
The Governor emphasized on inflation control through various innovative means geared to facilitate job creation. He also mentioned about supporting the people whose purchasing powers have diminished. He indicated some of the steps, including controlling demand and keeping the supply side response at ease, for managing smooth and effective supply chain operations.
The Governor also discussed the inflow and outflow of dollars and Bangladesh reaching out towards a secured position, hopefully by December 2022. He indicated to consider keeping the interest rate spread at a reasonable level.
The MCCI delegation requested the Governor to enhance the allocation for Export Development Fund at a lower interest rate to boost the country's export. The Governor expressed concerns regarding some of the odd practices of non-payment of EDF loans in foreign-currencies by converting those into Taka loans. This was not desirable, and it needed to stop at any cost.
The MCCI delegation also suggested considering a second currency other than the dollar for international trading, particularly with those nations from whom Bangladesh imported in large volumes. In particular, reference was made towards using the Chinese currency Renminbi (RMB) as a second currency for international trading, especially for importing raw materials from China.
This would be a great relief in easing up the demand of the US Dollar to a great extent. RMB was already officially recognized as a second reserve currency in Bangladesh.
MCCI re-emphasized for activating the same through another circular from Bangladesh Bank to the relevant stakeholders. The Governor assured his support and mentioned that a necessary circular will be issued to clarify that importers can use RMB in case of import from China.
He requested MCCI to support the government in overcoming the challenges together. MCCI members assured all possible support and cooperation to mitigate the challenges. MCCI also assured of responsible conduct by its members.
Both MCCI and BB representatives agreed to have more frequent interactions and exchange of views.