Urges enduring investments from one-off activities
Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Dr Atiur Rahman on Tuesday suggested the private sector organisations to expand their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) from one-off activities to enduring investments. Addressing a seminar on “Role of Private Sector in Humanitarian Response and Preparedness” at a city hotel, the governor said private sector should continue and broaden their CSR engagements from one-off emergency humanitarian and disaster relief to widening of advancement opportunities for the weaker and less fortunate through investing in productive farm and non-farm micro, small and medium enterprises, and environment friendly output activities. Snehal V. Soneji, Country Director, OXFAM Bangladesh; Additional Secretary and NPD of the Comprehensive Disaster Management Program (CDMP) Mohammad Abdul Qayyum and Professor Dr. Mehedi Ahmed Ansary also address the seminar, organised by OXFAM Bangladesh.
The governor hoped that the workshop would be useful in exploring innovative ways of disaster preparedness with ideas from different stakeholders from the society, including the financial institutions, telecoms, apparel exporters, power and energy, pharmaceuticals, agro and consumer goods producers, and social media. He said both the public and private sector have the responsibility to make their services more humane, and respond to any disaster or human losses as part of their social responsibilities. The governor said BB besides its core responsibility of maintaining price and macro stability, has been motivating all banks and financial institutions into a broad range of direct and indirect CSR engagements because without embracing the disadvantaged population segments into the development process, economic growth cannot be sustained.
The banks’ CSR activities include humanitarian relief and disaster responses, investment in human capital such as education and health, and training programs for the potential entrepreneurs, particularly women. According to Dr Rahman the CSR activities by banks and financial institutes have expanded several-fold over the past few years, from Taka 55 crore 40 lakh in 2009 to over Taka 500 in 2014. The activities include direct support for socioeconomic empowerment of the less well-off population segments with extensive schemes in the areas of health, education, and emergency disaster relief, he said, adding that further, lending support for environment friendly output practices- in renewable energy, effluent treatment, and adoption of energy efficient output processes has been widened.