Govt forms body to run universal pension scheme
The government has formed a National Pension Authority to administer universal pension scheme which aims to support country’s growing elderly population by providing annuity. The ministry of finance published Sunday a notification stating that the authority has been formed under the section 4 (1) of Universal Pension Management Act 2023. Earlier, the government on January 31 published a gazette notification of the Universal Pension Management Act 2023 which was passed in the parliament on January 24 this year. The act mentioned that all Bangladeshi nationals aged between 18 and 50 years are eligible to participate in this pension scheme and get pension each month when they reaches at 60 years. However, people aged over 50 also can participate in the scheme but they will be eligible to receive pension until their death, only after providing premium for at least 10 years uninterruptedly. The act mentioned that government will soon establish a National Pension Authority to run the scheme headed by an executive chairman and four more members. A 16-member governing body, headed by finance minister, will be formed to oversee the activities of the pension authority.
Liquidity crunch in banks begins easing
Liquidity crunch in Bangladesh’s banking system shows signs of improvement as key indicators are showing positive signs, largely following monetary interventions, officials and bankers said. Such a tangible turnaround is giving a little respite to the country’s financial sector that has been passing through tough times because of panic withdrawal of money riding on rumours of severe liquidity shortfalls. Rumours stemmed from alleged massive-scale loan forgeries in some banks, apart from the global crisis caused by pandemic and war. After those unwarranted developments, the rate of treasury bills, inter-bank repo rate and call-money rate were moving up. But, in recent days, these overheated barometers are showing a downturn. According to Bangladesh Bank data, the average rate of treasury bills in January was 7.34 per cent. Starting from this month, it is going down to reach 6.84 per cent as of February 12. The interbank repo rate overheated to 7.45 per cent on January 24 last but now it declined to 6.42 per cent, as of February 12, while the call- money rate dropped to 6.09 per cent last Sunday from 7.0 per cent recorded on January 25, 2023. “These key indicators are, now, showing positive signs after days of concern and it shows that the liquidity situation in the banking system has started improving,” said a BB official.
Steel industry businesses seek govt support
Steel industry businesses on Monday sought the government’s support on an urgent basis, saying that increased prices of raw materials on the global market and shortage of electricity and gas in their factories posed a threat to their sustenance. In the second meeting of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s standing committee, the businesses said that the prices of raw materials, including steel, rods, and cement, increased on the world market. Because of the shortage of electricity and gas in the factories, production has also decreased, they said. They said that low production made it difficult for them to repay bank loans, creating a risk of default. The businesspeople called for the government’s support to sustain the steel, rod, and cement industries of the country. FBCCI president Md Jashim Uddin said, ‘It is very important to turn this sector around to continue industrialisation and other development progress of the country.’ He said, ‘A dollar fund for the import of raw materials should be created and uninterrupted electricity and gas supply to factories must be ensured.’ He urged banks to cooperate businesses in opening letters of credit.