Banks disburse Tk 7,489cr farm loans thru high charging NGOs in FY17
Country’s commercial banks in last fiscal year disbursed Tk 7,489.52 crore in farm loans through their linked non-governmental organisations which charged an interest rate ranging from 24 per cent to 27 per cent for the loans. Farmers get agriculture loans at 9 per cent interest rate if the loans are disbursed by the banks directly. The distribution of farm loans by the banks through NGO channel sharply increased in the FY 2016-17 despite the fact that Bangladesh Bank had earlier taken a number of initiatives to discourage the practice. Besides, 22 banks disbursed more than 70 per cent of their farm loans through their NGO linkages in the period, breaching the central bank’s directive that at least 30 per cent of the farm loans must be distributed using their own capacity, according to a central bank report The banks disbursed 35.67 per cent or Tk 7,489.52 crore in farm loans through NGO channel against their annual agriculture loan disbursement of Tk 20,998.69 crore in FY17.The banks disbursed Tk 5,371.23 crore in farm loans in FY16, Tk 4,828.14 crore in FY15 and Tk 3,351.42 crore in FY14 through their NGO linkages. Many farmers who got farm loans through NGOs counted much higher interest rate than the bank rate set by the central bank.
Banks can show operating cost of street children’s accounts as CSR spending
Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday said the commercial banks would be allowed to bear the operating cost of the accounts owned by street children and child workers from their (banks) respective fund of corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. The central bank issued a circular to managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks requesting them to arrange educational programmes and workshops on technical assistance for the street children and child workers so that they will develop themselves as qualified citizens of the country. The banks will be allowed to show the cost of educational programmes and workshops as CSR. On March 10, 2014, the BB in a circular asked all banks to allow street children and child workers to open bank accounts with Tk 10 minimum initial deposit. The central bank took the initiative to help street children develop saving habits and eventually help them step forward towards a better future. According to the latest BB data, the total deposits in the street children’s accounts stood at Tk 21.56 lakh at the end of March 2017.
Prime Bank signs loan agreement with IFC
Prime Bank has recently signed a Working Capital Solution (WCS) loan agreement with International Finance Corporation (IFC). Ahmed Kamal Khan Chowdhury, Managing Director & CEO of Prime Bank exchanged loan agreement with Ariane Di Lorio, Manager, Financial Institutions Group, South Asia Region of IFC in a ceremony, said a statement. Under this agreement, Prime Bank received loan for US$ 50 million from IFC to support and fund its US dollar trade and lending activities including those within Bangladesh Export Processing Zones. Earlier Prime Bank repaid loan of US$ 20 million borrowed in 2014. Prime Bank also enjoys Global Trade Finance Program. In addition to that Prime Bank availed USD 10 million loan for onward lending for RMG factories to improve their structural, electrical and fire safety standards.
The foundation stone of the 14-storied building of Mercantile Bank Limited ‘MBL Center’
The foundation stone of the 14-storied building of Mercantile Bank Limited ‘MBL Center’ was laid at Satmasjid Road, Dhanmondi, Dhaka on Monday. A. K. M Shaheed Reza, Chairman of the Bank laid the foundation stone as the chief guest. Directors and Managing Director & CEO Kazi Masihur Rahman seen, among others.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pubali Bank Limited and Transcom Electronics Ltd
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pubali Bank Limited and Transcom Electronics Ltd was signed at the bank’s head office in the city Tuesday. Managing Director & CEO of the bank Md Abdul Halim Chowdhury and General Manager of Transcom Electronics Ltd Md Shakil Choudhury were present at the MoU signing ceremony. Under the deal, Pubali Bank employees, Credit and Debit Cardholders will avail 5.0 per cent discount on all products of Transcom Electronics Ltd.
Karmasangsthan Bank sets Tk 9.5 billion loan target for youths
Karmasangsthan Bank Limited (KBL) has set a target of disbursing Taka 9.50 billion loans among the youths in the financial year 2017-18 (FY18) to help raise self-employment. According to a BSS report, this was informed at the 31st meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Youth and Sports on Tuesday. Held at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in Dhaka, the meeting was presided over by the standing committee Chairman M Zahid Ahsan Russel.Committee members, including State Minster for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Sikder, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy and M Nurul Islam Talukder, attended the meeting.
BIDA chief says Bangladesh to ‘adopt’ good practices of S’pore
Bangladesh government agencies will try to adopt best practices of Singapore with a view to improve in ease of doing business index and to attain higher foreign investment in the country, said Bangladesh Investment Development Authority executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam. He came up with the statement at a press briefing organised by BIDA held at a city hotel on Tuesday. The BIDA executive chairman had led a 30 member delegation to Singapore attending a business-to-business conference senior executives of Singaporean and Japanese companies. Besides, the delegation also held meetings with key government agencies of Singapore including Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Monetary Authority of Singapore, International Enterprise Singapore, Economic Development Board of Singapore and Singapore Business Federation. At the briefing, the BIDA executive chairman said, ‘Singapore is the number one country in terms of ease of doing business and Bangladesh has a lot more to learn from them as we have initiated to bring down our ranking to double digit from 189 within next five years. ’He said that the delegation visited Singapore Economic Development Board and Monetary Authority of Singapore and other organizations for better understanding of the financial and economic system of the country.
Floods in India, B’desh cause price hike in onion
The price hike in onion was the outcome of the recent floods in Bangladesh and India, the ministry of commerce on Wednesday told the parliamentary watchdog on the ministry. Motahar Hossain, a member of the standing committee on the ministry of commerce ministry, raised the issue of abnormal price hike in onion at the 22nd meeting of the committee. In his intervention, commerce minister Tofail Ahmed said the government could not control the market fully in an open economy. There are floods in both India and Bangladesh harming the production of onion, he said, adding that the traders sell onion at a high price because they buy the item at high price.
NBR seeks extension of time, cost for VAT online project
The National Board of Revenue has sought the government’s approval to a proposal to extend time and cost for the VAT Online Project following suspension of new VAT law for two more years. The project needs to be extended for two years until 2021 by increasing the cost by Tk 100 crore for the implementation of the Value-Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act-2012 which was supposed to come into force from this fiscal year, officials said. The revenue board has recently sent a revised development project proposal to the planning ministry for the consent of the ECNEC, they said. As per existing schedule, the VAT Online Project (VOP) with a cost of Tk 556 crore taken to automate the VAT system is programmed to expire in June 2019, two years after the planned enforcement of the 2012 VAT law. Of the amount, World Bank pledged to provide $60 million or more than Tk 480 crore in interest-free loan. A high official of the revenue board said that the project would require an extension by further two years for successful implementation of the VAT automation. VAT automation process including issuance of business identification number, submission of VAT returns and completion of other activities will be conducted under the Integrated VAT Administration System (IVAS), he said, adding that implementation of the new law will need to support the project for two more years.
Floating terminal at Ctg port planned
A floating terminal would be built at the Chittagong port to help making the Pangaon Inland Container Terminal on the bank of the River Buriganga operational. Finance minister AMA Muhith on Monday disclosed the decision after a meeting with stakeholders at the Pangaon containers terminal situated at Keraniganj, on the outskirts of capital Dhaka. The government built the Pangaon ICT at around Tk 400 crore to help reduce the cost of carrying goods and ease the traffic congestion on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway. But the terminal failed to attract users since its inception in November, 2013.Lack of facilities at the terminal has been described as a major impediment to making it useful to businesses. Besides, the businesspeople said carrying goods through waterways to the Pangaon ICT was time consuming and expensive compared with time and cost required for transportation through railway and road. The shipping ministry has taken a number of steps including mandatory use of the Pangaon Inland Container Terminal for transportation some part of the imported cotton and capital machinery in and around Dhaka, but failed to popularise the terminal. Muhith told reporters that establishment of a floating terminal at the Chittagong port was an ideal proposal for making idle Pangoan ICT operational.
Japanese investors now keen on investment in Bangladesh
Japanese investors have expressed their willingness to come to Bangladesh to explore areas of their investment after their reluctance following militant attack on the Holey Artisan in Dhaka. The interest was shown in a Bangladesh-Japan business-to-business conference held on August 03 and 04 in Singapore. A high-level Bangladesh delegation, led by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) chairman Kazi Aminul Islam, attended the conference. This was disclosed at a press briefing held Tuesday in a city hotel organised by BIDA to disseminate outcome of the delegation’s visit to Singapore.
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