Govt plans university-based tech innovation hubs
University-going students aspiring to be tech-entrepreneurs are set to get a shot in the arm as the government is planning to create innovation hubs at both public and private universities to develop digital entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystems. Primarily seven universities will be selected as the hubs where interested students will be shortlisted, selected and trained and then facilitated with funds and office space to start their own business. The implementing agency, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority, already received names of 19 universities from the University Grants Commission of Bangladesh. Universities which can facilitate spaces of 3,000 sq ft to 5,000 sq ft will be eligible for the innovation hub, a high official of the authority told The Daily Star. The Tk 353.06 crore project will also take up initiatives such as establishment of an environmentally friendly “Janata Tower Software Technology Park-2” in the vicinity of Software Technology Park in Janata Tower at Karwan Bazar in the capital. Of the cost, Tk 98.06 crore will come from government sources and the rest Tk 255 crore from World Bank as a loan.
Export drops 5pc in January
Earnings from merchandise exports fell 4.99 per cent year-on-year to $3.43 billion in January because of slower recovery of garment shipment from the pandemic-induced business slowdown, official data showed yesterday. January’s receipts were 9.58 per cent lower than the monthly target of $3.80 billion, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). Between July and January, the first seven months of the fiscal year, the shipment of garment, which typically contributes more than 80 per cent to the national export, declined 3.44 per cent year-on-year to $18.40 billion. Of the earnings from the apparel export, $9.98 billion came from the knitwear shipment, which was up 3.84 per cent. The export of woven items declined 10.85 per cent to $8.41 billion. The latest export data published by the EPB shows that garment export in January declined 7.01 per cent year-over-year and woven export dropped 13.89 per cent. Kazi Belayet Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Frozen Foods Exporters Association, said frozen fish was sold for $12 to $12.5 per pound before the pandemic. Now the same quantity of frozen fish is being sold for $9 to $9.5 per pound. Jute and jute goods shipment rose 27.08 per cent year-on-year to $765.63 million between July and January. Home textile export was up 44.34 per cent to $638.96 million. Shipment of leather and leather goods declined 5.78 per cent to $526.58 million, terry towel shipment slipped by 2.79 per cent to $23.31 million, frozen and live fish export fell 8.62 per cent to $308.26 million, and agricultural product shipment went down 2.06 per cent to $591.49 million.
BB warns of some inflationary pressure
Bangladesh may face some inflationary pressure in the coming months as general prices rise globally, said the central bank. The monetary policy committee (MPC) of the central bank analysed the trend of commodity and food price indexes of the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The MPC expects that inflation will remain with the target, which is 5.4 per cent for the current fiscal year. The central bank has revised monetary policy for the second half of the fiscal year by taking an expansionary stance is consistent with its previous programme. The MPC kept the private sector credit growth unchanged at 14.8 per cent for 2020-21. It was 8.37 per cent in December. The central bank has not changed its policy rate, keeping it at 4.75 per cent. The central bank has decided not to change the private sector credit growth as the economy may get normalcy from the ongoing slowdown in the near future. The public sector credit growth target revised down to 31.7 per cent from 44.4 per cent. The MPC came up with the decision at a meeting on January 31 at the central bank headquarters. The target of the reserve money (RM), which was set at 13.5 per cent in July last year when the BB announced the monetary policy, did not see any change. RM is also called central bank money, monetary base, base money, or high-powered money. It is the base level for the money supply or the high-powered component of the money supply. The growth of RM stood at 21.3 per cent in December. The central bank purchased American greenback worth a record $5.49 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year to keep stable the exchange rate of the local currency. The central bank has lowered the growth of broad money to 15 per cent in contrast to its previous target of 15.6 per cent. Board money growth stood at 14.3 per cent in December. Broad money is a category for measuring the amount of money circulating in an economy. The government has recently revised its GDP growth to 7.4 per cent for FY21 from 8.2 per cent. Excess liquidity in the banking sector surged 95 per cent year-on-year to Tk 204,700 crore in December, data from the central bank showed.
Stocks keep losing amid lackluster trading
Stocks witnessed yet another bearish session on Tuesday as risk-averse investors continued their sell-offs on major sector issues amid persistently lackluster trading. DSEX, the key index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), slumped further by 35.10 points or 0.62 per cent to settle at 5,564. The prime index lost more than 160 points in the past three consecutive sessions. The daily trade turnover on the DSE remained below Tk 8.0 billion-mark, hitting two months low to Tk 7.02 billion, as investors were reluctant to take fresh exposure in the market. It was the lowest single-day transaction since December 1, 2020, when the turnover totalled a record Tk 6.63 billion. Two other indices also ended lower. The DSE 30 Index comprising blue chips shed 16.03 points to finish at 2,109 and the DSE Shariah Index (DSES) fell 8.04 points to close at 1,246. The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) also fell sharply with the CSE All Share Price Index – CASPI -losing by 99 points to settle at 16,197 and the Selective Categories Index – CSCX shedding 61 points to close at 9,771. Of the issues traded, 105 declined, 71 advanced and 64 remained unchanged on the CSE.