India’s banking sector regulator, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has asked lenders to be watchful with Mozambique and Tanzania figuring on the Financial Action Task Force’s grey list.
India imports almost a quarter of its pulses from these two countries and there is concern that outward remittances could be impacted following restrictions on lenders in dealing with entities in countries on the FATF grey list.
A senior bank executive confirmed the RBI has shared this concern with the lenders, as this could potentially lead to non-clearance of outward remittance by banks, impacting import payments. A similar issue had sprung up when Myanmar was placed in the grey list.
“After Myanmar, the RBI has indicated that similar problems are anticipated by Indian importers of pulses from Mozambique and Tanzania as these countries are also listed on the FATF grey list that may affect normal trade deals in essential commodities,” he said, requesting anonymity.
Another bank executive confirmed the development and noted that last month, after RBI’s observation, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) also told banks to sensitise their units dealing with importers on the matter.
“The RBI guidelines are clear that compliance to FATF norms does not prevent financial institutions from legitimate trade and business transactions with the countries under increased monitoring or enhanced due diligence,” he said, adding that the regulator wants lenders to be cautious to avoid disruptions with Myanmar.
Traders say there is no impact yet. “Till now, there is no problem with Mozambique and Tanzania from where we import toor daal (pigeon pea),” said Bimal Kothari, chairman, India Pulses and Grains Association. An official of a Kolkata-based pulse processing company said: “Most transactions with these countries happen through Dubai and Singapore.”
SOURCE: THE ECONOMIC TIMES