Per capita income rises to $2,064
Bangladesh’s per capita income (GNI) went up by US$ 155 to US$ 2,064 in the final quarter (April-June) of the last fiscal year, official data released on Tuesday showed, despite severe adverse impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economic activities during the period. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data showed that the country’s total GDP stood at $300.11 billion in the last fiscal year (FY 2019-20).However, the per head earnings of the population at current price was lower than the preliminary target of $ 2,173 estimated before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the FY2019, the per capita GNI (Gross National Income) was recorded at $ 1,909 and in FY2018, it was $ 1,751.Meanwhile, the per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the FY2020 had also been estimated at $ 1,970 from that of $ 1,828 in the FY2019. In FY2018, the per head GDP earnings was recorded at $ 1,675. An official at the BBS said the per head earnings could be much higher than the provisional estimation for the FY2020 if the country was not affected by the devastating coronavirus pandemic. In the FY2020, the GDP growth increased by 5.24 per cent, according to the BBS estimate. Meanwhile, the government has targeted the per capita GNI at $ 2,326 for the current FY2021, despite the economic impact of the pandemic.Bangladesh has been one of the top five fastest growing economies in the world with its stunning GDP growth rate of more than 7.0 per cent over the last few years. Breaking the five-year “6.0 per cent growth trap”, the economy chalked out the 7.0 per cent growth band in FY2016. Then it took only two years to surpass the 7.0 per cent rate in FY2019 when the economy expanded at a rapid clip of 8.15 per cent. The current fiscal year’s target has been eked out at 8.2 per cent GDP growth, but the coronavirus pandemic has made reaching that goal highly unlikely.
Banks seek Tk 18 million as interest subsidy
The banks which have disbursed working capital to industrial and service sector units under the government’s Covid-19 recovery package have sought over Tk 18 million as interest subsidy in the April-June quarter. They have provided the loans under the Tk 300 billion incentive package which was announced by the government on April 5 to provide working capital at on interest rate of 9.0 per cent. Of the 9.0 per cent interest, the borrowers will pay 4.5 per cent and the government will provide 4.5 per cent as a subsidy to the banks which are disbursing the loans.Bangladesh Bank has forwarded a letter to the finance ministry for releasing the fund. Of the total sum, Sonali Bank has sought Tk 15.56 million, Agrani Bank Tk 97,321, Exim Bank Tk 1.059 million, Trust Bank Tk 907,896, City Bank Tk 438,750, Prime Bank Tk 72,786, IFIC Bank Tk 102,875, Eastern Bank Tk 197,020 and Mercantile Bank Tk 19,125.
Abdul HaiSarker elected chairman of Dhaka Bank
Mr. Abdul HaiSarker has been recently elected as the Chairman of Dhaka Bank Limited. He is the owner of Purbani Group, a leading conglomerate of the country.Mr. Sarker is also the Founder Chairman of Dhaka Bank Limited, Former President of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), the Former Vice Chairman of Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) and a former Director of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). Mr. Sarker is the Present Chairman of Education, Science, Technology and Cultural Development Trust (ESTCDT) of Independent University Bangladesh (IUB), Dhaka. He is also the Member of the Board of Trustees of Independent University of both Dhaka and Chittagong.Mr. Sarker was born in a respectable Muslim family of Sirajgonj district. He accomplished his Post Graduation Degree (M.Com) from the University of Dhaka in 1970. Later he was involved in international trade and business and became a reputed industrialist in the country.
Agreement on first bio-tech plant signed
A tripartite agreement was signed between Oryx Bio-Tech Limited, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) and the Summit Technopolis Limited in the city on Tuesday to set up the first bio-tech plant in the country with an investment of US $300 million. The Oryx Limited will develop the factory on 25 acres of land at the Bangabandhu Hi-tech City in Gazipur, which is expected to create high value employment for nearly 2,000 people.According to the investment proposal, the bio-tech venture will facilitate manufacturing of drugs for the treatment of critical diseases like cancer and different types of infections. The company will establish the factory with the handling capacity of around 1,200 tonnes of plasma for manufacturing import substitute and life-saving biomedicine and derivatives. The company will also set up some 20 plasma collection stations.
Chinese firm to invest $300m to set up plasma fractionation plant
The good news on the economic front has started to roll in once again, with the latest being China-based Oryx Biotech’s announcement to invest $300 million to set up a plasma fractionation plant in Bangladesh.The company yesterday inked the tripartite agreement with Summit Technopolis, a company of Summit Group, and the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) for the country’s first biotech investment at a programme at the ICT Division in Dhaka. Oryx will set up the plasma fractionation plant on 25 acres of land and building provided by Summit Technopolis to produce plasma derivatives, also known as life-saving therapeutics and other related products.Oryx will now invest $10 million, said Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, in a press release. The plant would have a capacity to process 1,200 tonnes of plasma annually and will be connected with 20 plasma collection centres. Patients from all over the world rely on plasma protein therapies to treat rare, chronic diseases, said Oryx Biotech on its website.Summit Technopolis is the concessionaire for developing infrastructure for a hi-tech industry comprising of information technology, IT-enabled services, bio-tech, non-polluting manufacturing assembly lines and precision engineering companies on 91 acres area in the Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City in Kaliakoir. Spanning more than 355 acres, the Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City is the first and largest high-tech park in Bangladesh. So far, 37 companies have been allocated land and five companies have already started production.
Ceramic industry breathes easier as sales start picking up
Bangladesh’s ceramic industry have enjoyed some relief from the coronavirus fallout in the past two months as domestic sales are showing signs of some recovery following the collapse in demand caused by the nationwide shutdown.Exports dropped by around 60 per cent after the coronavirus outbreak was labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in March as the demand for ceramic products declined in the global market.As all economic activities were put on hold during the two-month general holiday that ended on May 30, the sector fell into trouble. The industry could fetch just $27.97 million from the export of ceramic products in fiscal 2019-20, down 59.45 per cent from the previous year.In fiscal 2018-19, local manufacturers shipped about $68.97 million in ceramic goods to more than 50 destinations, including the US, the UK, Canada and a few EU and Latin American countries, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. This was a 32.79 per cent increase in exports compared to the fiscal year of 2017-18, when the sector brought home $51.94 million.So far, around Tk 9,000 crore has been invested in the sector that employs about five lakh workers, including two lakh women. More than 25 crore pieces of tableware, 20 crore square metres of tiles and more than 83 lakh sanitaryware items were produced in Bangladesh in fiscal 2017-18, BCMEA data showed.
Uber calls for new deal for ‘gig economy’ workers
Uber outlined proposals Monday for a new type of relationship with “gig” workers, including its own drivers, that would keep them as independent contractors but with some guaranteed benefits. The ride-hailing giant described “a new model for independent platform work” in an 18-page document it hopes can be used as blueprint for Uber and similar firms relying on independent workers. The move comes with Uber and other firms facing legal pressure to comply with a California law that would require its drivers to be classified as employees, eligible for unemployment, medical and other benefits. Uber has backed a referendum in the state to overturn the law, while pledging to provide benefits for a social safety net that would keep gig workers independent. Uber has argued that most of its drivers want to remain independent even if they also are looking for benefits.”Uber would not be as widely available to riders, and drivers would lose the flexibility they have today if they became employees,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “The vast majority of drivers have said they don’t want to be employees because of how much they value flexibility.”
Karmasangsthan Bank launches loan product
Karmasangsthan Bank introduced BangabandhuJuboRin (Bangabandhu Youth Credit), a loan programme for the trained unemployed youth to observe the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Under this programme, massive initiatives have been taken to create employment opportunities by disbursing loans among 200 thousand (two lakh) trained unemployed youths.