BB restores interbank cheque clearing system
Bangladesh Bank yesterday restored the interbank cheque clearing system in a major relief for users but a backlog of cheques and the non-operational electronic fund transfer (EFT) platform are still causing sufferings to clients. Interbank electronic cheque transaction and fund transfer activities through the Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH) of the central bank were suspended on April 13 due to the disconnection of an optical fibre cable between two data centres of the BB.The BACH, the first-ever electronic clearinghouse in Bangladesh, has two components – an automated cheque processing system (ACPS) and the EFT. The ACPS has been restored. The EFT was restarted for a while yesterday, but it collapsed again. Banks submitted 1.46 lakh inter-bank cheques involving around Tk 150,000 crore to the BB.The central bank assured banks of settling EFT transactions through the RTGS today if the BACH does not restore fully. Clients of a bank are allowed to send Tk 1 lakh and above to customers of other banks through the RTGS. On the other hand, 95 per cent of the values, which are settled through the EFT, are below Tk 1 lakh. The interbank transactions through the two digital modes are the largest in terms of number and volumes. For instance, clients submit around one lakh interbank cheques, amounting to around Tk 12,000 crore, per day. The ACPS uses a cheque imaging and truncation technology for electronic presentment and payment of paper-based instruments. Under the EFT system, around 1.5 lakh transactions are settled by clients every day, amounting to Tk 1,000 crore.
Govt launches $7.5m Covid response fund
Entrepreneurs will now get financial support from the government to produce medical and personal protective equipment (MPPE) for both local and international markets as the fight against Covid-19 continues. Commerce Minister TipuMunshi yesterday launched a $7.5 million Covid-19 response fund to help private enterprises procure the necessary equipment in this regard as the demand for MPPE products has ballooned amid an ongoing second wave of infections.Highlighting some salient features of the CERF, World Bank’s Country Director for Bangladesh Mercy Tembon said the CERF would boost production of MPPE by local entrepreneurs, increase domestic supply and subsequently exports. The EC4J project was initially a $10 million matching-grant programme that provided financial support to eligible Bangladeshi firms in four targeted sectors — Leather goods, footwear, plastics, and light engineering — to identify gaps, catalyse investment and improve environmental, social and quality standards in an effort to enhance their competitiveness in export markets.
Stocks extend rising streak
The stock market continued to rise for a fourth day yesterday following the two-day weekend thanks to a curious increase in share prices of non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs). The DSEX, the benchmark index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), rose 21 points, or 0.39 per cent, to 5,33142.There is apparently no reason for the rise of the stocks and index, said a merchant banker preferring anonymity. However, one recent development is of a group of people taking up stakes of the NBFI sector, he added. While most stocks at the Dhaka bourse dropped, 20 out of 23 NBFIs made gains. The banking regulator asked lenders not to consider businesspeople as defaulters if they failed to repay instalments until June 30 last year. With the prolonging of the crisis, the deadline was extended initially to September 30 and then to last December. Another stock broker also cited that there was no significant reason behind the rise of the NBFIs.Singer Bangladesh gained 1.79 per cent to Tk 170.8 a share after it posted an increase in its quarterly earnings. The electronics and home appliance maker said its earnings per share rose 52 per cent year-on-year to Tk 1.81 in the January-March period of 2021. Overall, 103 stocks advanced, 165 declined and 80 remained unchanged. An upward trend is also prevailing at Chittagong Stock Exchange. The CASPI, the general index of the port city bourse, rose 34 points, or 0.22 per cent, to stand at 15,413. Among 209 stocks to witness trade, 78 rose, 95 fell and 36 remained unchanged, shows the CSE data.