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Cabinet approves Foreign Exchange Regulation Bill

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Staff reporter
The Cabinet on Monday approved in principle the draft of the 'Foreign Exchange Regulation (amendment) Bill, 2015' aimed at making the existing law more time befitting considering the increase in the volume of international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI).
The approval was given at the regular weekly meeting of the Cabinet held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Under the proposed amendment, the law would be applicable for both the Bangladeshi citizens residing in Bangladesh and also for those foreign citizens living in Bangladesh, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said while briefing reporters after the meeting.
The proposed amendment has also widened the definitions of meaning of currency, securities, export, import, person, and residents in Bangladesh, services, current account transactions, goods, and capital account transactions.
Besides, the definitions of currency, export, import and goods including electronic transactions have been incorporated in the proposed amendment.
The Cabinet Secretary said the Bangladesh Bank under the proposed amendment have been given authority to realize administrative fines from those foreign exchange dealers violating the conditions of the license or not complying with the government or central bank directives.
The proposed amendment also removes the provision of taking prior permission from the Bangladesh Bank for working as agents of the foreign firms as the Board of Investment (BoI) or any such government Organization could give licenses to this end.
In case of setting up branch office, representative office or liaison office of the foreign institutions, the proposed amendment keeps a provision for taking approval from the BoI while the central bank should have to be informed within 30 days of giving approval to create business- and investment-friendly environment.
Besides, the power of the Bangladesh Bank has been enhanced to seek information related to foreign exchange, securities and permanent assets of the people residing in Bangladesh.
Asked about the amount of fine to be posed by the central bank, the Cabinet Secretary said the method and amount of fine would be prescribed by rules.
Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act was first formulated in 1947 and then it was revised twice in 1976 and 2003.
The Cabinet meeting also ratified the agreement signed between Bangladesh and Malaysia during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to the country last month on the partial abolition of visa requirement between Bangladesh and Malaysia for diplomatic and official passports.
The Cabinet was also apprised about the participation of the State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroze Chumki in the ministerial-level conference on 'Asian and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment: Beijing +20 Review' and the workshop on 'Asia Regional Consultation on Violence against Women and Girls' held at Bangkok on November 19-27, 2014.
Ministers, state ministers and secretaries concerned attended the meeting.