Kazi Zahidul Hasan : The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has asked all banks and financial institutions to provide information on loan defaulters contesting in the upcoming Upazila Parishad election to be held on February 19. It also asked the central bank to collect and provide information on loan defaulters from the respective banks and the financial institutions. Earlier, the Election Commission (EC) sent a letter to the Bank and Financial Institutions Division of the MoF for information about loan defaulters. In response the letter of the EC, the Bank and Financial Institutions Division of the MoF directed the banks and financial institutions to provide the information to the respective returning officers by issuing a circular on Thursday. As per the Upazila Parishad Act 1998, loan defaulters are not eligible to contest in the polls. Any candidate found to have failed to pay a loan instalment on time would be disqualified regardless of their post- be it the Upazila Parishad chairman, vice-chairman or a member, said the circular. It also said the loan defaulters’ information must be submitted within the last date for examining the nomination papers. The candidates can withdraw their nomination papers by February 3. “Branch managers or authorised officers of respective banks and financial institutions will be responsible for giving any incorrect information and will be penalised,” added the circular. The circular also said that all officers concerned of the banks and financial institutions have been asked to be present in the offices on holidays and after regular office hours until the completion of scrutiny of the nominations papers in order to provide the information to help the returning officers as per requirement. “The central bank will collect information about loan defaulters from the banks next week in line with the directives from the ministry,” a senior Bangladesh Bank (BB) official told The New Nation yesterday. He said, the concern department of BB, i.e. Credit Information Bureau (CIB) has been asked to complete the task by sending letters to banks and financial institutions in this regard. “A draft of the letter to be sent to banks and financial institutions has already been finalised. The letter would be dispatched from the next week after completion of official formalities,” he said.