Govt for stricter performance criteria for state-run banks
The government is considering punitive actions against officials of eight state-run banks for dispensing bad loans to little known clients, the Bank and Financial Institutions Division has said. The authorities concerned are also contemplating the idea of revealing the names of top loan defaulters in newspaper advertisements to check an upward trend in defaulting. The recommendations form part of a new set of conditions to be imposed on the state-run banks as fresh performance criteria. They will be discussed in a meeting at the Finance Division auditorium in Dhaka today of the Bank and Financial Institutions Division and the managing directors of eight state-owned banks. The state-run institutions are: Sonali Bank Ltd, Janata Bank Ltd, Rupali Bank Ltd, Bangladesh Development Bank Ltd, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation, and Investment Corporation of Bangladesh. In September this year, participants at a conference organized by the Bank and Financial Institutions Division demanded to know why the managing directors of the state-run banks – who draw monthly salaries of Tk4 lakh on average – had not yet taken any stern action against loan defaulters. Defaults in loans issued by the country’s state-owned banks account for 27% of the total in the banking sector.
Remittance surge by 6.9pc in four months
Remittance in the first four months of current fiscal surpassed last fiscals corresponding period by a decent amount. Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhith said this to treasury bench lawmaker M Mamunur Rashid Kiron of Noakhali-3 in at the parliament on Tuesday, says a BSS report. The remittance of the first four months from July to October in fiscal 17-18 was US$ 4,550 million which is 6.9 per cent more compared to the remittance of the corresponding period in the last fiscal, he said.
7 SIBL directors resign in another major reshuffle
Seven directors of Social Islami Bank on Monday resigned while nine new directors were inducted in the board on the same day as the Chittagong-based S Alam Group further tightened grip in the bank. The latest changes came following the changes in chairman, vice-chairman and executive committee chairman and managing director posts amid the takeover of a significant number of shares of SIBL by companies linked with S Alam Group. SIBL’s new chairman Anwarul Azim Arif, who represents a company of S Alam Group, in the bank’s board, told reporters seven directors resigned from the bank showing ‘personal reasons’. Bank sources, however, said that there was a pressure on them to resign following the recent changes in the bank board. Among the seven directors four were independent directors while the other three directors were shareholders. The independent directors are Md Abdur Rahman, Abdul Mohit, AFM Asaduzzaman and Muinul Hasan while the three shareholder directors are Hakim Md Yousuf Harun Bhuiyan, Lily Amin and Afia Begum. Bank sources told New Age that Monday’s board meeting also appointed nine new directors for the bank of whom seven are independent directors and other two are shareholders. The names of the new directors, however, could not be known on Tuesday. Earlier in last week of October, bank’s the then-chairman Rezaul Haque, executive committee chairman Anisul Haque and managing director Shahid Hossain resigned from their posts.
Standard Bank’s new additional managing director
Md Tariqul Azam has recently joined Standard Bank as additional managing director, the bank said in a statement yesterday. Prior to joining the bank, he was the additional managing director of United Commercial Bank. He started his banking career at Sonali Bank in 1980. Azam holds an MBA degree from the Institute of Business Administration under Dhaka University.
DSEX hits all time high
Dhaka stocks rebounded on Tuesday after a marginal fall in t he previous session with the key index hitting all time high as investors continued injecting funds, especially in the large capitalised scrips including Grameenphone, Square Pharma and British American Tobacco. The key index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, DSEX, advanced 0.57 per cent or 35.52 points to close at 6,252.14 points on Tuesday after a marginal fall in the previous session. The core index reached the peak point after its launch with 4,055 points on January 28, 2013. The equities opened with bullish vibe in the very beginning of the session that sustained until the end of the session mainly due to optimistic share purchasing from the investors. Despite declining share prices of most of the scrips, the core index witnessed a bullish day as some of the large capitalised stocks shoot up on Tuesday. The surges in share prices of Square Pharmaceuticals, British American Tobacco, BRAC Bank and GP by 3.90 per cent, 2.67 per cent, 2.00 per cent and 1.73 per cent respectively were the bellwethers of the day’s record making rally. Share prices of Shahjalal Islami Bank and AB Bank continued to surge by 2.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively amid rumours that the Chittagong-based S Alam Group would take control of the banks after the Group has taken control of a number of other listed banks through hostile takeovers.
Govt revises GDP growth upwards to 7.28pc
Bangladesh’s economy finally grew at 7.28 per cent, the highest growth rate in the history of the country, up by 0.04 percentage points than the provisional projection, in the last fiscal year 2016-2017, according to the final calculation of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. In May, the BBS projected that gross domestic product (GDP) of the country grew by 7.24 per in the fiscal year against the target of growth rate at 7.2 per cent for the year. Per capita income of the country has also increased to $1,610 or Tk 1,28,800 (considering each dollar conversion rate at Tk 80) in the FY 2017 from the previous estimate at $ 1,602. Planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday revealed the data at a press briefing after the ECNEC meeting held at NEC conference room at Agargaon in Dhaka. Kamal said that the size of the GDP stood at $ 250 billion in the year. BBS report on GDP was also placed before the ECNEC meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. He said that it took almost 34 years after independence to cross the GDP size of $ 100 billion and later the size of the GDP has increased with a good pace. Only three countries—Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Cambodia—in the world achieved GDP growth at more than 7 per cent in two consecutive years, he said. He also said that for the first time in the history of the country investment-GDP ratio exceeded 30 per cent. Investment-GDP ratio increased to 30.50 per cent in the FY 2017 from that of 29.63 per cent in the previous fiscal year.
Inflation drops in Oct
The point-to-point inflation slightly eased to 6.04 per cent in October from that of 6.12 per cent in September mainly because of declining trend of food price, said planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Tuesday. He revealed the inflation data partially at a press conference after the ECNEC meeting held at NEC conference at Agargaon in Dhaka. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics prepared the inflation data based on information collected from few hundreds of markets across the country. ‘The rate of inflation eased due to decline in prices of rice and winter vegetables following sufficient supply in the market,’ he said. Inflation rate will drop further in November as the supply of food items including vegetables will increase in the market, he said. Kamal, however, did not disclose the details of inflation including food and non-food inflation and comparative scenario of inflation in rural and urban areas for the month. The BBS also did not release the data in its website till Tuesday evening. The BBS has become irregular in releasing inflation data since March this year when the government’s statistical body decided to release the inflation data on quarterly basis instead of historical practice of releasing the data every month.
Govt goes for incremental increase of VAT
Unable to implement the Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 for a number of years, the government is looking the gradually increase VAT revenue across the board to avoid adverse reactions when the Act is finally implemented. As part of the move, the government is likely to increase VAT in many of Bangladesh’s service sectors from the next fiscal year. With this goal in mind, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has taken initiatives to revise the Value Added Tax Act, 1991. The revised draft is set to be placed before the cabinet committee for evaluation, and the revised VAT law will be announced along with the budget for the next fiscal year, NBR sources told the Dhaka Tribune. Under the existing VAT law, some of the service sectors in the country enjoy special benefits, such as a reduced VAT rate, which is known as the ‘Truncated Base Price’. Apart from the tax benefits, the service sector and also some of the goods produced locally enjoy fixed tariff rates. According to insider sources from the NBR, some of the special facilities will be removed in the revised VAT law. Speaking on the issue, experts and businessmen warned that the cost of services and products will surely go up if the compressed base price and fixed tariff value facilities are withdrawn. Local consumers will be indirectly affected by the increased service costs.
Apparel exporters fall prey to Tk 600cr fraud
Bangladeshi garment exporters have fallen victim to fraudulence recently, with some 26 companies apparently manufacturing goods worth around Tk 600 crore for a non-existent British company. Two local garment buying houses, Vanguard and ASM Apparels Ltd, placed the work orders on behalf of the “importer”, Y&X, saying that the latter is owned by a Bangladeshi-born British citizen named Manjur Billah. The duo offered higher prices, on condition that the raw materials have to be bought from select textile factories in China. The deception came to light after the first batch of consignments were left unclaimed for over one month at a UK port. The Daily Star could not reach anyone from the two accused buying houses. “It is a big accident for our company as we never faced such fraudulence in our 20 years’ garment business,” said a general manager of one of the victim export-oriented garment factory. “We have shipped garment items worth Tk 50 crore,” he told The Daily Star asking not to be named fearing that it would tarnish his company’s reputation. A few consignments are in the factory and some are on the way to the UK port and some have already reached the UK, he said. The official also said his company started shipping the goods, such as denim shirts and trousers, in the last week of September and continued to do so in the first week of October. The company is part of a conglomerate which annually exports $80 million worth garment items.
Number of mobile users crosses 14cr
Number of active mobile phone subscribers surpassed 14 crore in September this year amid a marginal decline in market share of two mobile phone operators— Banglalink and state-owned Teletalk. A Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission data released on Tuesday showed that the number of active mobile phone subscribers increased to 14.07 crore at the end of September this year from 13.93 crore a month ago. The actual number of mobile phone users would not be that much as there is scope to hold multiple SIM cards by an individual, an official of the BTRC said. Under the present rules, an individual can own up to 20 SIM cards against his or her national identification number, he said. Of the increased number of subscribers, Grameenphone availed the highest 7.55 lakh new subscribers during the period. GP’s subscriber base increased to 6.39 crore at the end of September from 6.31 crore at the end of August. The leading mobile phone operator’s market share has increased a bit to 45.39 per cent in September from 45.31 per cent in August. Robi has already became second largest mobile phone operator after merger with Airtel and got 5.42 lakh new subscribers with its total subscribers base increasing to 4.12 crore at the end of September from 4.06 crore a month ago.
Paper cup: the business of protecting environment
Not all were lucky enough to benefit from the stockmarket bubble of 2010 and roll money for a bigger cause. But Kazi Sazedur Rahman could. He became a stockmarket investor in 2008 with the money he had made from supplying to a power plant and sold off all the shares just couple of days before the bubble bust. He was all of 24 years of age then. “I did not have any clue about the market crash. I liquidated shares to chase the dream of making environment-friendly paper cups,” said Rahman, who had set up a small factory to make paper cups two years from later. The idea came when he was performing Hajj with his mother in November 2010. He was given some dates for iftar in a disposable paper cup. “I was fascinated by the cup. This was eco-friendly and still made of food grade products. I felt that I got what I was looking for.” Upon returning home, Rahman sold off his holdings in stocks and started looking for information on paper cup. He mainly found plastic cups. In his quest, he went to Malaysia and later to China, where he stayed one and a half months to receive training on the technology to make paper cups.
4G service launch delayed
It may not be possible to roll out the much-awaited 4G service in Bangladesh this year as the related guideline is yet to be finalised due to concerns raised by mobile phone operators over certain issues in it. “The possible deadline for the launch of the 4G service is yet to be confirmed,” said an official of the Posts and Telecommunications Division. “Mobile phone operators have raised some issues of concern regarding the 4G guideline. BTRC has made certain changes in the guideline on the instruction of Posts and Telecommunications Division. It’ll be placed before the Prime Minister (PM) again for her approval. We’ll go for an auction after its approval by the PM, who is also the minister for posts and telecommunications,” a senior official of the Posts and Telecommunications Division told The Independent yesterday. According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the regulator will go for auction soon after getting the fresh approval. Mobile phone Subscribers could expect to get the 4G service right from January or February next year.