Bangladesh ranks 26th among 149 countries in the ‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013’ report, draining more than $5.58 billion money per annum.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-based research and advisory organization, stated this in its report published on Wednesday.
Bangladesh had ranked 51st among 145 countries in the 2012 report of the GFI which was published in 2014.
According to the study, nearly $9,666 million in illicit money was siphoned from Bangladesh in 2013 which is $2,000 million more than the previous year.
In the past one decade, illicit financial flows from the country tripled, as the amount of black money was 3,347 in 2004.
The country is placed 26th while neighbouring India ranks 4th on the list.
The report added that illicit financial flows from developing and emerging economies surged to US$1.1 trillion in 2013.
Authored by GFI Chief Economist Dev Kar and GFI Junior Economist Joseph Spanjers, the report pegs cumulative illicit outflows from developing economies at US$7.8 trillion between 2004 and 2013, the last year for which data are available.
The study, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013,″ reveals that illicit financial flows first surpassed US$1 trillion in 2011, and have grown to US$1.1 trillion in 2013—marking a dramatic increase from 2004, when illicit outflows totaled just US$465.3 billion.
“This study clearly demonstrates that illicit financial flows are the most damaging economic problem faced by the world’s developing and emerging economies,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, a longtime authority on financial crime.
“This year at the UN the mantra of ‘trillions not billions’ was continuously used to indicate the amount of funds needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. Significantly curtailing illicit flows is central to that effort,” he said.
Former caretaker government adviser AB Mirza Md Azizul Islam recommended that the finance ministry, the Bangladesh Bank and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) launch a joint investigation to combat siphoning off money from Bangladesh.
Mirza Azizul said the investment scenario in the country has remained stagnant in the last two-three years. “This might be one of the big reasons behind siphoning off money.”
When contacted, the NBR chairman Najibur Rahman told the Prothom Alo that NBR was seriously looking into how to stop the money siphoning. “We have set up a special cell to combat money laundering.”
Dwelling on the GFI’s previous report in 2104, Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur had told the Prothom Alo in 2014 that the money siphoning would continue in future and no law would be able to resist the money laundering as it was involved with good governance.
“Those who amassed wealth using political influence siphon off money from the country. Besides, a large section of country’s entrepreneurs and businessmen send money abroad through different means for ensuring safety and security for their family and children,” he had said in 2014.
Ahsan H Mansur predictions have proven true. The volume of money siphoned out of the country has increased in the last one year which downgraded Bangladesh from position 51 to 26 in the GFI’s report.