The Bangladesh Bank asks MSF providers to keep sufficient money at agent points to disburse cash incentive to 50 lakh poor amid coronavirus crisis
Mobile banking has now become a very convenient platform for all types of income groups to make digital payments.
At present, there are around 8 lakh mobile financial service (MFS) accounts in the country and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself has helped to open over 1.8 crore of those through three initiatives.
On Thursday, the premier launched the distribution of Tk1,250 crore cash incentive among 50 lakh poor families who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Beneficiaries will receive the fund through MFSs like bKash, Rocket and Nagad.
Meanwhile, more than 30 lakh mobile banking accounts were opened by apparel workers following the prime minister's announcement of a stimulus packages in April.
Earlier in 2017, the prime minister launched a stipend disbursement programme for primary education which added more than 1 crore mobile banking accounts by primary school students' mothers.
On Thursday, the central bank in a circular asked mobile financial services provider banks and the Postal Directorate to facilitate the beneficiaries of the prime minister-announced incentive package to open mobile banking accounts by showing their national identity cards.
Under this package, every family will get Tk2,500 cash incentive for once.
The finance ministry had prepared a list of those 50 lakh poor families.
During the shutdown to curb coronavirus spread – for the last one and half months – poor people and day labours are suffering from financial crisis and hungers, various institutions claimed.
Economists have been suggesting every now and then that the government gives cash support to save the poor people.
Now, after the declaration of the package, the Bangladesh Bank has also instructed MFS providers to ensure sufficient money supply at agent points for smooth withdrawal cash.
This initiative of providing cash incentive to the poor will add to the MFS sector. In a broader sense, financial inclusion gets a new height with this initiative that has led to the opening of 50 lakh fresh MFS accounts.
On March 25, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared a Tk5,000 crore stimulus package for providing loans to export-oriented industries at subsidised interest to pay wages to their workers. This helped to add 30 lakh fresh MFS accounts within a month.
The first mobile banking service was introduced in the country in 2010 by Dutch-Bangla Bank.
Managing Director of Dutch-Bangla Bank told The Business Standard, "Recently, 10 lakh new MFS accounts have been opened for withdrawing wages of workers of export oriented industries. Last month, we disbursed Tk100 crore wages through Rocket, our mobile banking service."
Now, 15 banks provide mobile financial services, and till February this year the total registered clients under this services were 8.18 crore of which 2.70 crore were active accounts.
In February, the average daily transaction through mobile banking was Tk1,425 crore.
Recently, Nagad -- a digital financial service of Postal Directorate -- has got MFS license from the Bangladesh Bank for an interim period of 6 months.