BB drafts law bringing NBFI depositors, like bank, under insurance scheme
Bangladesh Bank has framed a draft of ‘Deposit Protection Act 2017’ bringing non-bank financial institutions, like the banks, under the deposit insurance scheme to protect the interest of depositors. The proposed act will replace the existing ‘Bank Deposit Insurance Act 2000’ under which only bank depositors get insurance coverage of their deposit in case of a scheduled bank goes into liquidation. Deposits in both banks and NBFIs will come under protection scheme if the proposed law finally gets nod of the parliament and the president. Like banks, NBFIs will also face a ban on collection of deposits for a time being for failure of depositing premium on deposits of a client, according to the draft. The central bank will ask a bank or NBFI to refrain from collecting deposit for a certain time if the bank or NBFI fails to deposit the premium successive two times. BB will also take steps to wind up a bank or NBFIs as per recommendation of the trustee board if the bank or NBFI fails to deposit the premium two or more times in a row. According to the law, banks and NBFIs will have to bring the deposits of their clients under insurance coverage with the Deposit Protection Trust Fund of the central bank. The BB, however, will determine the portion of deposits for the insurance coverage and the rate of premium through official gazette in time to time.
SoCBs, ICB yet to take decision on capital injection
Four state-owned commercial banks (SoCB) and a financial institution are yet to take any final decision on injecting capital into the troubled Farmers Bank Limited (FBL) in a bid to rescue it. Chairmen and managing directors of the Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali banks and Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) discussed the issue at a meeting at the central bank in Dhaka on Tuesday, with Bangladesh Bank (BB) Governor Fazle Kabir in the chair. The injection of nearly Tk 11 billion by the five public lenders into the FBL was discussed at the meeting, but no final decision was taken in this regard, the CEO of a leading stated-owned commercial bank (SoCB) told the FE after the meeting.
BD current account incurs deep deficit
Bangladesh’s current-account deficit widened almost eight times or by $4.76 billion in the first half (H1) of this fiscal over the corresponding figure, as outgoings far outstripped incomings. According to latest statistics of the central bank the current-account deficit in the July-December period marked a sharp widening from $0.54 billion in the same period of the past fiscal year. A yawing trade gap resulted in the current-account shortfall, adding up pressure to the county’s overall external-sector balance. Merchandise-trade deficit with the rest of the world shot up to $8.62 billion in the first six months of this fiscal year (FY18), in a quantum leap by 91 per cent over the trade gap worth $4.51 billion in the same period of FY17. “Huge increase in imports against the slow takeoff in exports widened the merchandise-trade gap,” said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). “The rise in import is mostly due to increased demand for materials required for the big infrastructure projects across the country,” he added. “Moreover, fuel price in the international market is also on rise.” The economist was of the view that little could be done on import surge as it is mostly related to the country’s production activities. “But the government should check whether some abnormal rises are there in some raw materials and the products enjoying zero-duty facility,” he said about what else may remain in the downside of the import binge. Central bank statistics also added that service-trade gap increased by around 46 per cent during the period under review. Service-trade gap stood at $2.28 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal year from $1.56 billion in the corresponding period. Thus, overall trade gap crossed $10-billion mark in the first half of the current fiscal. “The increased trade gap naturally put pressure on the current account, creating huge deficit,” said Prof Mustafiz while taking to the FE on Tuesday.
Meeting on SOBs recapitalisation today
The Financial Institutions Division is scheduled to review demands for budgetary fund from the state-owned banks in a meeting today. Eunusur Rahman, secretary of the division, will preside over the meeting aimed at supplying recapitalisation or bailout fund for the capital starved state-owned commercial and specialised banks. A senior official said that the division would urge finance division to give certain amount of money in favour of the banks from the allocation of Tk 2,000 crore kept in the current budget. With the meeting, the process of releasing the budgetary fund would start, he noted. Available data from the Bangladesh Bank showed that state-owned banks including scam-hit Sonali, BASIC and Janata were facing capital shortfall of Tk 15,830 crore until September. Sonali is facing a capital shortfall of Tk 3,140 crore, BASIC Tk 2,523 crore and Janata Tk 1,273 crore. Officials said the capital shortfall of Janata would increase following detection of loan scam of more than Tk 5,000 crore by lesser-known AtonTex in January. Two specialised banks BKB and RAJUB- are facing capital shortfall of Tk 7,540 crore and Tk 743 crore respectively.
NCC Bank puts thrust on AML, CFT compliance
NCC Bank, TMSS & MoneyGram jointly arranged a day long workshop on “AML & CFT Compliance and Augmenting Remittance in Legal Channel & Proper Distribution” in Cox’s Bazar recently, said a statement. Mosleh Uddin Ahmed, Managing Director & CEO of NCC Bank inaugurated the workshop as chief guest. Prof. Dr. Hosne-Ara Begum, Executive Director of TMSS & A Z M Saleh, Deputy Managing Director of NCC Bank were also present on the occasion as special guests. Mr. Mosleh Uddin Ahmed in his speech expressed hope such kind of workshop will create positive impact on augmenting foreign remittance through proper banking channel and distribute among the beneficiaries safely, promptly & conveniently complying with all regulatory requirements.
Southeast Bank Limited signs agreement with PRAN-RFL Group
Southeast Bank Limited recently signed an agreement with PRAN-RFL Group for ‘Nationwide Distributors Payment Collection’. S. M. Mainuddin Chowdhury, Additional Managing Director, Southeast Bank Limited and Uzma Chowdhury, Director of PRAN-RFL Group signed the MoU on behalf of their respective companies.
BSEC to take legal action against co-directors not holding required shares
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday decided to take legal action against the listed companies’ directors who do not hold at least 2% shares of their companies breaching securities rules. The commission also decided to issue an order to the companies to ensure that their sponsor-directors hold minimum 30% of total shares as per the rules. The BSEC in a recent investigation, followed by a High Court, has found that 219 directors of 78 listed companies don’t hold the required minimum 2% shares of their companies. Earlier in October, last year, the High Court asked the BSEC to explain within four weeks why it was not removing from the boards the company directors who were not holding the required shares of the companies. A BSEC investigation team presented its report on directors’ shareholding to the commission on January 30 for a decision. Officials said as per its directive on taking legal action, the commission could vacate directorship of any errant from the board if he or she continues with violating the rules. The BSEC also decided to issue an order about the joint shareholding of 30% by the directors as it found that many of companies were flouting the rules. According to a DSE December review, sponsors/ directors of 42 companies have not jointly held the required shares.
Govt plans ‘textile village’ under PPP
The government is going to set up a “textile village” on 28 acres of land belonging to Tangail Cotton Mills under Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation (BTMC) through a public-private partnership (PPP) initiative. Ramisa Group has proposed to develop the village at Mirzapur in Tangail at an estimated cost of about Tk 1,200 crore. The cabinet committee on economic affairs recently approved in principle Ramisa’s proposal as an unsolicited bidder. An official of the textiles and jute ministry said the approval does not mean that the company has got the final nod. Now the ministry will invite competitive bidding and Ramisa will have to participate, said the official, adding that the group would, however, get some bonus points for the approval.
Man-made fibres getting popular among RMG makers
The import of man-made fibres such as polyester staple, viscose, and tencel is on the rise as a substitute for cotton as their demand is increasing amid changes in global fashion trend. Bangladesh imported 78,208 tonnes of polyester staple fibre in 2016, up 11.39 percent from 70,209 tonnes in 2015 and 35.72 percent from 51,729 tonnes in 2014, according to data from Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA). The import of viscose staple fibre was recorded at 29,146 tonnes in 2016, slightly down from 29,538 tonnes in 2015. From January to June of 2017, the volume was 16,063 tonnes, the data showed. In 2014, Bangladesh imported 18,115 tonnes of viscose staple fibre. Imports of tencel, a fibre made of trees and leaves, stood at 5,034 tonnes in 2016 and 6,199 tonnes the previous year. “The import of man-made fibre is increasing every year,” said Monsoor Ahmed, secretary of the BTMA.
4G spectrum auction fetches BDT 52.7 billion
The government raised around BDT 52.7 billion from 4G spectrum auction and tech-neutrality fee Tuesday, delivering instructions for mobile operators to improve services with the latest technology.In the spectrum auction, Banglalink bought 5 megahertz spectrum in 2100 megahertz band and another 5 megahertz in the 1800 megahertz band. Country’s biggest mobile operator, Grameenphone, bought 5.6 megahertz spectrum band out of 1800 megahertz on sale. • The biggest gainer from Tuesday’s auction in terms of spectrum was Banglalink which increased its spectrum allocation from 20 MHZ to 30.6 MHz. Meanwhile, the total spectrum of Grameenphone increased to 37 MHz from 32 Mhz. Robi, which did not participate in the auctioning, will continue to have 36.4 MHZ spectrum, still leading Banglalink by a significant margin. The final auction proceeds from each megahertz of spectra in 2100Mhz was USD 27.0 million while the price of each megahertz in 1800Mhz was USD 3.0 million. The total market price of the sold spectrum is about BDT 38.43 billion. In Bangladesh, Grameenphone serves 2.0 million customers with each megahertz spectrum while Robi serves 1.1 million with each MHz. Meanwhile, Banglalink serves 1.6 million customers with each MHz spectrum, the BTRC chairman mentioned.
Bangladesh enters 4G era on Feb 19
The government is set to earn about $593.33 million from spectrum auction and offering technological neutrality to the top three mobile operators, which is less than half of its target. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will award 4G licences to Grameenphone, Banglalink, Robi and Teletalk on February 19, taking Bangladesh into the fourth generation data service era.
BTRC frustrated as Grameenphone (GP), Banglalink (BL) take only a 3rd of available spectrum
GP participated in the auction for 1800 MHz spectrum band and Banglalink participated in 2100 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum band, while none of the two mobile operators were interested about 900MHz spectrum band. The second largest mobile phone operator Robi and out-of-operation Citycell refrained from participating in the auction as they did not submit bid earnest money despite showing interest initially. BTRC director said that GP and Banglalink would be allowed to purchase spectrum at auction price in next six months. Robi, Citycell and Teletalk, however, would not get the scope as they did not participate in the auction. At the auction ceremony, expressing dissatisfaction over the mobile phone operators’ participation and sale of only 33% of the spectrum, BTRC chairman said, ‘We are definitely not satisfied.’ He also said that the existing spectrum held by the mobile phone operators would not be enough to provide quality service to the subscribers. After Tuesday’s auction, GP has a total of 37 MHz spectrum in its possession in three bands including 5 MHz spectrum that was bought on the day and Banglalink’s spectrum holding increased to 30.6MHz spectrum from 20HMz. Robi holds total 36.4 MHz spectrum in all the bands and Teletalk has 25.2 MHz spectrum under its possession.
Subscribers to get satisfactory 4G services
Grameenphone and Banglalink on Tuesday asserted that their subscribers would get more satisfactory experience in terms of using 4G service after awarding licences to them by the regulator on February 19. Top officials of the operators also said that the tech-neutrality and newly added spectrum would help the operators improve quality of service along with reduction in call drops. Top officials of the organisations made the claim after participating at the spectrum auction held at Dhaka Club in the city on the day where mobile phone operators were widely criticised for poor quality of service including call drop and poor data speed. Both the Posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman Shahjahan Mahmood expressed their dissatisfaction regarding phone operators’ participation at the spectrum auction and poor service quality. Banglalink purchased 15.6MHz spectrum in 2100MHz and 1800MHz bands, and Grameenphone acquired 5 MHz spectrum on 1800MHz band from the auction.
Honda to start assembling motorcycles in Bangladesh this year
The Japanese Honda Motor Company is going to manufacture motorcycles in Bangladesh this year as the company’s concern “Bangladesh Honda Private Limited” is setting up a motorcycle assembly and manufacturing plant in the country. This was disclosed at a meeting between Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and a delegation from Bangladesh Honda Private Limited at the Industries Ministry in the city, according to a press release.
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