Two draft laws were placed in parliament on Monday with one to sanction higher punishment than before for taking loans from Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation using false information and another to support the digitalised banking system.
A law was also passed to regulate the salt market in the country.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal introduced the "Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (Amendment) Bill-2021". It was later sent to the parliamentary standing committee concerned for scrutinising. The committee will file its report within a month.
As per the existing law, if anyone intentionally provides false information or uses false details to take out loans from the Corporation, he will face imprisonment for two years and fine up to Tk2,000 or both.
The bill proposes increasing the prison sentence to five years and fine to Tk5 lakh.
The use of the Corporation's name in the prospectus or advertisement without a written consent was earlier punishable by six months in prison and a fine of Tk1,000. The draft amendment suggests increasing the fine to Tk50,000.
The draft law also proposes increasing the capital of the Corporation. The authorised capital under the existing law is Tk110 crore and the paid-up capital is the same.
The proposed law, if passed, will allow up to Tk1,000 crore as authorised capital and Tk500 crore as paid-up capital.
The bill also states that the Corporation will be able to take long-term loans from the government.
Meanwhile, the finance minister placed another bill -- Bankers' Book Evidence Bill 2021 – in parliament. It was also sent to the respective parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny and the committee will submit its report by a month.
The proposed law is going to replace Bankers' Book Evidence Act 1891 as many things in the current law are not consistent with the present-day situation. The draft law was brought to facilitate inclusion of digitally-recorded evidence.
The banks are now working digitally but the existing law does not make digital record keeping mandatory.
The proposed law has provisions of punishment and trial to prevent unauthorized and behind-the-scenes leak of information. It, however, suggested making information public except for data about banks' own operation. An individual/organisation will need permission from the court to get such information.
Further, the proposed law defines the jurisdiction of the court while the existing law does not have such provision.
Apart from the two bills, a new law, Iodised Salt Bill, 2021 was passed.
The law is aimed at ensuring proportionate use of iodine in salt, and regulating the salt market in the country, replacing Iodine Deficiency Disease Prevention Act-1989.
Under the law, there will be a separate cell under the industries ministry to ensure the proportionate mixing of iodine in salt.
A 14-member national salt committee, headed by the industries secretary as its chairman, will be formed to oversee production, processing, refining, storage, transportation and marketing of salt.
The committee will oversee the supply of iodine and salt import and ensure iodine in salt as well as place recommendations on salt management policy.
As per the new law, if anyone wants to produce, process, store, import and supply salt or set up a salt factory, he has to get his organisation registered.
If anyone produces, processes and imports salt and runs a salt factory without registration, or does not maintain the standard, the person will be sentenced to one to three years in jail and fined Tk50,000-Tk15 lakh or both.
Law violators can be punished through mobile courts.