BB raises ceiling of shifting funds from OBUs to DBUs
In a latest move to ease import settlements, the central bank has increased the ceiling of shifting funds from OBUs (offshore banking units) to DBUs (domestic banking units) with immediate effect. Under the latest development, the DBUs can receive 40 per cent of the funds from the OBUs of a bank, up from the existing 25 per cent, according to a circular – issued by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Sunday. At the same time, the BB also extended the time of availing the facility for six more months from June 2023 to December 2023. The circular said the OBUs are allowed to place funds to their DBUs with a limit not exceeding 25 per cent of the respective bank’s total regulatory capital – to settle the import payments of capital machinery and industrial raw materials as well as the government imports. To bring further flexibility in external transactions, the DBUs may receive funds from the OBUs – amounting up to 40 per cent of their total regulatory capital – to settle permissible payment obligations as per the prevailing foreign exchange rules and regulations. Seeking anonymity, a BB official said many banks are facing difficulties in settling import payments because of the US dollar shortfall and as securing short-term loans from external sources is becoming harder now.
Industrial loan increases by Tk1 lakh crore in 2022 amid crisis
Industrial loans in 2022 amid the Ukraine-Russia war and the liquidity crisis in the banking sector have increased by Tk1 lakh crore due to the increase in import cost of raw materials, capital equipment and low interest rates on bank loans. According to a report of the Central Bank, the banks have disbursed Tk5,31,000 crore loans to the sector in 2022, while in 2021 the figure was Tk4,29,000 crore. In other words, the loan amount has increased by Tk1,01,321 crore. Bankers say prices of all products including oil and gas have increased significantly since February last year after the Russia-Ukraine war began. The price of a dollar against the taka increased by at least 25% over the last year, due to which the overall industrial loan has increased. Since August 2022, private sector credit growth has been slowing as imports dropped. In February 2023, private sector credit growth was 12.14%, which was the lowest in 11 months. While the private sector credit growth has declined, industrial sector credit growth increased.
Bangladesh eyes to earn $10b in leather-product export
Bangladesh’s leather sector holds all the potential to earn US$10 billion in the next five years but appears to be hamstrung by the flawed central effluent-treatment plant (CETP) in its potential hub. The absence of properly functional CETP deprives the country of having the certification from the Leather Working Group (LWG) which is mandatory for exporting leather products to top global brands, sector entrepreneurs said. And thus, despite having all the ingredients like high-quality raw leather, expertise and cheap labour for producing world-class finished products, the industry is virtually forced to limit its export earning to around one-billion dollars. The government has devised a ten-year perspective plan that includes a target to increase the leather sector’s export earnings to $10-$12 billion by 2030 but getting to the goal without addressing the compliance issue would be impossible, experts and the entrepreneurs forewarn.Industry-insiders told the FE that the global leather-goods market is estimated to grow to $424 billion by 2025 and they have the expertise to take a chunk of it if the compliance issue can be solved.