THE government created the Equity and Entrepreneurship Fund (EEF) by allocating a sum of Tk 1.0 billion in the budget for the financial year 2000-2001 with a mission to encourage the entrepreneurs to invest in the risky but otherwise promising two sectors, viz, software industry and shrimp hatchery. Bangladesh Bank has been authorised to manage the EEF. A sum of Tk 2.0 billion has been earmarked for the same purpose in the budget for financial year 2003-2004.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has not been dealing with the EEF money efficiently and honestly. Fostering nepotism and on receiving bribes officials of the bank are providing the loan to corrupt people.
Software firms take loan from the EEF for software development for export to the international market. But surreptitiously they are investing the money thus obtained in other profitable sectors like garments. Instead of shrimp hatching, corrupt people are culturing other fishes. The one billion taka programme has already failed. There is no sign of borrowers returning the money advanced as loans. BB has to bear the losses thus suffered. Corrupt members of its staff are included in monitoring the bank funded projects. They are overlooking where the money is spent or has been spent. By false vouchers many borrowers are now trying to show that their businesses have turned into sick projects. According to the profit sharing rule of the EEF fund, the bank has to share losses with the entrepreneurs.
The project failed in encouraging business people to invest in the risky but otherwise profitable two sectors. Under the cover of risky business, corrupt businessmen are running, in general, profitable businesses. BB has nothing to do if they would be able to prove that they incurred losses. Actually, the EEF fund gave a great opportunity to the rich but corrupt section of businessmen to make themselves more wealthy as well as to some members of the staff of the bank to earn a huge amount of money as bribes.
We are requesting the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the distribution of the EEF fund. Who are the borrowers? And how have the members of the staff of the bank been manipulating the fund? A mysterious thing is that the bank is remaining silent after receiving complaints from some people. Already some newspapers have published write-ups on the failure of the projects.