World Bank’s response to Dhaka Tribune report
The letter claims that the World Bank has not sent any letter alone, or jointly with the IMF World Bank has sent a letter to Dhaka Tribune refuting statements made in a Dhaka Tribune report titled “World Bank, IMF unhappy with VAT law suspension” published on July 7, 2017.The report says World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) send a letter to the Ministry of Finance regarding the postponement of the law. The letter claims that the World Bank has not sent any letter alone, or jointly with the IMF, to the Ministry of Finance or Bangladesh government regarding the delay in implementing the VAT law.
No political will to clean up banking sector: CPD
Loan scam grips one bank after another and the overall financial sector mainly because of a lack of political will to address the problem, said the Centre for Policy Dialogue yesterday. Now the first generation banks have started to get affected by loan scandals after state-owned banks and the new ones. And the reason behind the repeated incidents is the absence of good governance and a lack of oversight on banks, said CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya at a media briefing held at the Brac Centre Inn. The private think-tank organised the meet to share its observations on the budget for fiscal 2017-18.“Such incidents would not take place if there was a political will.”The CPD once again called for a temporary financial sector commission to suggest and implement reforms.“The finance minister also mentioned the banking commission in his budget speech and on several occasions before. But we have seen that it losses steam somewhere”
CPD calls on govt to form reform commission to stop looting of banks
The Centre for Policy Dialogue has called for steps to form a transparent reformation commission to put an end to banking scams.The local think tank also stressed on the need for political goodwill to this end.CPD made the observations at a national budget discussion titled National Budget FY2017-18: Post-Approval Observations, held in Brac Centre Inn in the capital on Monday.Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow of CPD said: “Lack of political goodwill is responsible for the theft or looting in the banking sector. So a transparent reform commission is necessary to end this practice.“Besides, absence of good governance in the banking sector, lack of Central Bank oversight and poor supervision by the finance department are factors that have led to the present situation. Even if there was no political interference, the situation would continue to persist due to lack of institutional capacity”.
EBL holds pix exhibition
A 3-day exhibition featuring 33 photographs by Eastern Bank employees ended at Drik Gallery in the city recently. Hashem Khan, renowned painter, inaugurated the photo exhibition as chief guest. Ali Reza Iftekhar, MD & CEO of EBL was present at the inauguration ceremony among others. Mr. Iftekhar in his welcome speech said, ‘At EBL we believe that employees are our greatest asset. Many of them possess unique talents. The competition is designed to spot the latent talents in them and connect them emotionally with the brand EBL.’ Earlier the jury board of the contest comprising renowned photographers Hasan S. Chandan, Shafiqul Alam Kiron and Jannatul Mawa selected 12 best images for the 2017 calendar and picked up the winners from among a staggering 111 entries. The theme for the contest was ‘Landmarks of Bangladesh.’ The Incomplete Mughal Monument by Syed Ahasanur Karim Antor of Product and Channel Support, Cards, Consumer Banking won the first prize.
Thrust on advocacy with banking sector for pro-worker policies
MRDI under a CSR initiative with HSBC is implementing a project ‘Understanding finance by the youth’ in partnership with the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA).A two-day training programme on financial literacy for social councillors of Chittagong and Karnaphuli EPZs was arranged under this project, at the Foreign Investor’s Club of the port city Monday. Appreciating the initiative, Md. Ashraful Kabir, Chief Engineer & Project Director Capacity Building of BEPZA called for greater engagement of the corporate sector in CSR activities that directly address the welfare of the EPZ workers.
Top 100 loan defaulters’ list placed in JS
The amount of default loans in the country now stands at Tk 111,347 crore as of April 2017, Finance Minister AMA Muhith told parliament yesterday. In a scripted answer, Muhith also provided names of top 100 loan defaulters, but he did not mentioned how much money they have defaulted on. The top 20 loan defaulters are: Mohammad Elias Brothers Pvt Ltd, Jasmir Vegetable Oil Ltd, Max Spinning Mills Ltd, Benetex Industries Ltd, Dhaka Trading House, Anowara Spinning Mills, Yasir Enterprise, Quantam Power Systems Ltd, MM Vegetable Oil Products Ltd, Alppa Composite Towel Ltd, Western Marine Shipyard Ltd, Mak International, Hall Mark Fashion Ltd, Monno Fabrics Ltd, Fair Trade Fabrics Ltd, Saharish Composite Towel Ltd, Nurjahan Super Oil Ltd, Saleh Carpet Mills Ltd and SK Steel and Chowdhury Knitwear.On June 20, the finance minister told the parliament that a total of 202,623 persons and companies, which had borrowed money from 55 state and private commercial banks, defaulted on their loans as of March 2017.Muhith also said the National Board of Revenue has seized around 4,490 kilograms of gold in the last seven years from the airports and different other checkpoints.
Govt to identify depositors, take action
The government after proper investigation would take action against the Bangladeshis who have deposited money in Swiss banks, Food Minister Qamrul Islam said in parliament yesterday while filling in for the finance minister. He made the comment while replying to a supplementary question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman. Qamrul said the government would take steps to identify those with money in foreign banks. “We will also try to get the money back.”He read out Muhith’s scripted answer to a question from AL MP Nazrul Islam Babu. Muhith in the statement said a strong system had already been developed to prevent individuals and organisations from using money in terrorist activities.“Directives have been issued to inform the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, if any individual or organisation is found involved with terror acts.”Meanwhile, a number of opposition and treasury bench MPs yesterday criticised Muhith for his absence in the hour-long question-answer session. Of the first 10 “star-marked” questions, seven were related to the finance division, financial institution division, external resources division and economic relation division.
Bangladesh should go for high-end apparel
Bangladesh should focus more on value added, high-end apparel items rather than basic, traditional products to make the business sustainable amidst the fierce competition in the global garment trade, a group of European garment buyers said yesterday. The European fashion market is rebounding as the retail sales of garment items have been increasing by 3-4 percent year-on-year over the last few years, the retailers said. The sale of denim products is especially on the rise, said Serge Leon, a freelance adviser to the Modint, a European clothing brand. Bangladesh’s performance with denim has been very strong having already overtaken China and capturing 21.8 percent of the market share, so this is a new opportunity, Leon said. Bangladesh exports over $1 billion-worth denim products to European markets in a year and one out of every three jeans being worn is from Bangladesh. Had the country exported more value added items, Bangladesh could have earned $35 billion from the same quantity of goods sold for $28 billion in 2015-16.
Export growth dips to 15-year low
A massive drop in shipment of garment items has caused Bangladesh’s export growth to nosedive to a 15-year low in the just-concluded fiscal year. Exporters racked up $34.83 billion in 2016-17, an increase of only 1.69 percent year-on-year, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The earning is 5.85 percent less than the government’s annual target of $37 billion. June’s export receipts fell by 15.27 percent to $3.04 billion from the previous month, which is again 16.52 percent lower than the monthly target of $3.64 billion.EPB Vice Chairman Bijoy Bhattacharjee said they are scrutinising reasons for the decline in exports to major markets. One reason might be the volatility of exchange rates, he said while making public the official export data at the EPB office in Dhaka.
Technology neutrality fee for 4G irks stakeholders
The long-awaited guideline for roll-out of the 4th generation cellular mobile phone services in the country is set to trigger further debate within the telecom industry over the issue of technology neutrality fee. The draft guideline, which was posted on the website of the Post and Telecommunication Division last week, is now being reviewed by telecom operators and other major stakeholders. The 4G guideline, in its latest draft, has stated that in addition to annual license fee and 5.5% of gross revenue, the licensees will “have to pay the conversion fee for technology neutrality of spectrum already assigned in favour of Cellular Mobile Phone Operator”.
Trade deficit widens alarmingly to over USD 9.0 billion
The country’s trade deficit crossed USD 9.0 billion level in July-May period of the last fiscal year (FY17), according to the latest statistics of Bangladesh Bank (BB). The trade deficit stood at USD 9.19 billion in the first 11 months of FY17, showing that the deficit widened by about 42.50% from USD 6.45 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year (FY16). Relevant statistics showed slower growth of merchandise exports compared to higher growth of imports during the period under review, leading to widening of the trade gap.
Export earnings from Germany cross USD 5.0 billion as US, UK markets slump in FY17
Country’s export earnings from Germany crossed USD 5.0 billion in the just concluded financial year 2016-17 while exports to the United States and the United Kingdom, the major markets for Bangladesh, slumped by more than 6.0% in the year. Experts and exporters said that the export earnings slumped in the major markets due to global fall in apparel demand and appreciation of local currency (Taka) against Dollar as well as fall in price of Euro and Pound. Export earnings from Germany, the second highest destination of RMG product from Bangladesh, in the FY 17 grew by 9.78% to USD 5.47 billion from USD 4.98 billion in the same period of the FY 16, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Monday.
Bangladesh seeks Singapore investments in pharma, shipbuilding, ceramics, leather
Three separate Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed Monday with Singapore Business Federation (SBF) aiming to promote bilateral trade and cooperation. The first MoU was signed between Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FBCCI), the second one between Bangladesh Business Chamber of Singapore (BDCham) and the FBCCI and the third one between Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA).
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