August 16, 2022, 12:16 am

Staff Correspondent

2021-07-03 17:20:03 BdST

MFS finally ensures public money transparencyBangladesh to become cashless country soon: Minister

Post and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Saturday said Bangladesh is going to become a cashless country very soon due to the advancement in digital financial services.

He also urged the authority concerned to make services available to all by setting up an interoperability system in the shortest possible time.

However, the inclusion of mobile financial service (MFS) for government allowance disbursement has finally ensured transparency of public money usage, said speakers at a webinar on Saturday.

The webinar titled ‘Disbursement of Government Allowances: Use of Mobile Phone Technology’ was organized by the Telecom Reporters Network Bangladesh.

Posts and Telecommunication Minister Mustafa Jabbar, Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed, Director General of the Social Services Department Sheikh Rafiqul Islam, Project Director of Primary Education Stipend Project Md Yusuf Ali, Managing Director of Postal Department’s MFS wing Nagad Tanvir A Mishuk, Former Secretary General of Association of Mobile Operators Bangladesh (AMTOB) TIM Nurul Kabir and President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Syed Almas Kabir spoke at the event among others.

The event was presided and moderated by TRNB President Rashed Mehdi while its General Secretary Samir Kumar Dey presented the keynote.

While speaking at the event, Mustafa Jabbar said that mobile phones are the most-used tools in the country in its journey towards Digital Bangladesh.

“So the mobile financial services are in the limelight. Specially, considering the way they are working for financial inclusion, I believe that day is not far when we will be able to become a cashless country,” he said.

Jabbar said they are not interested to see any printed currency anymore and that’s why trying to promote electronic money.

Tanvir A Mishuk, Managing Director of Nagad, said the government’s vision of Digital Bangladesh will only come to reality with the digitalization of the economy.

“And for the first time in country’s history, we have a refund case of undisbursed government allowance by Nagad. The false beneficiaries now can be identified and we have refunded more than Taka 385 crore to the Bangladesh Bank. Even the central bank had to take time to process the refund as there were no such precedence,’ he said.

“The MFS service in the country started 12 years back, but the disbursement of public fund started with Nagad. We were laughed at when we started, because the hassle is huge and the profit is near to zero. But with the vision of Nagad we went ahead,” he added.

Social Welfare Minister Nuruzzaman Ahmed said the Honorable Prime Minister was committed to keeping the economy running during the difficult times of Covid 19 pandemic.

“With her guidance, we have started to disburse the social safety net fund digitally with companies like Nagad. And now the rightful beneficiaries in remote places are getting the allowance without any hassle,” he said.

Md Yusuf Ali, Project Director (Additional Secretary), Primary Education Stipend Project, said "with Nagad, the transparency of the funds was ensured due to the process upgradation. Earlier, we used to do digital fund transfer for such disbursement provided by the banks. But when Nagad came, we had to move to electronic fund transfer (EFT), and that made all the differences. So with EFT, the fund now is transferred via Bangladesh Bank and we can see the actual disbursement amount."

DG of Social Services Department Sheikh Rafiqul Islam said, “One of the key issues was beneficiaries’ eligibility and how to reach them. In both cases, the digitalization helped and transparency is ensured now.”

TIM Nurul Kabir said, “With the growth of the MFS, the digital inclusion had a big jump. In technological advancement there will always be challenges, but it is very assuring to see that entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative solutions.”

Syed Almas Kabir said that benefit MFS operators are now providing to the society and the country is an outcome of the declaration of Digital Bangladesh. And MFS can play the best part for enhancing the financial inclusion and using the network of postal division Nagad can be the best in this field.

“MFS are ensuring financial inclusion in a way that ensures transparency and lowers the government cost,” Almas Kabir added.

In the keynote presentation, Samir Kumar Dey, said, in the 2021-22 fiscal year the government allocation for social safety net was Tk 108,000 crore.

“The MFS are playing an important role in disbursing government fund in different sectors and Nagad is leading the way with disbursement of 75 percent of the allowances under the social safety net,” he said adding, this MFS carrier has also helped to reduce the cost of government’s disbursement to Tk 7 for sending Tk 1,000; which was earlier Tk 22 for the same amount.

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