Business confidence ticking up: Sanem
Business confidence in Bangladesh improved in the last quarter of 2020 as the economy strived to recover from the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study. The Business Confidence Index (BCI) of the South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (Sanem) went up to 55.24 per cent in the October-December. It was 51.06 per cent in the previous quarter. Firms are hopeful about the first quarter of 2021 as the BCI is expected to rise to 57.90 per cent. As much as 71 per cent out of 502 firms surveyed said the economy was on its way to recovery, unchanged from the second round of the survey, which covered the third quarter of last year. The Sanem, in collaboration with the Asia Foundation, initiated the quarterly survey in July among the firms in the manufacturing and services sector. The third round was conducted in January. Forty per cent of the respondents were expecting a moderate recovery of the economy, 16 per cent a strong recovery, and 15 per cent a weak recovery. Of the firms, 22 per cent received assistance from the stimulus packages, according to the survey. The services sector has been performing better than the manufacturing sector, Prof Raihan said. The improvement in business status in October-December compared to July-September was minimal. Compared to the status in the same quarter in 2019, the situation is still worse. The rates of logistic services have increased a lot, affecting the profitability of exporters, he added. “We will have to create an enabling business environment for our business sustainability.” Arshad Jamal Dipu, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said productivity improvement and innovation were significant to survive businesses. Buyers are not paying fair prices for the exported garment items. The unsold stock of garment items is another problem for the exporters.
Local firms more optimistic than global counterparts
Some 93 per cent of Bangladeshi family-owned businesses are optimistic about seeing growth in 2022, which is higher than what those around the globe hope for, according to a survey by PwC Bangladesh. In the year, 86 per cent of global family firms expect to see growth, the report shows. In 2021, 74 per cent of Bangladeshi family-owned businesses expect to see growth while it is 65 per cent among those around the world. The report on “Family Business Survey” was published online yesterday. The survey was run among 54 Bangladeshis running family enterprises, mostly as CEOs, managing directors or board chairperson. Over 2,800 family firms were surveyed across 87 territories. Some 33 per cent claim to have a robust, documented and communicated succession plans in place, compared with 30 per cent globally. Over 90 per cent of Bangladeshi family businesses engage in some form of social responsibility activities. Around 44 per cent feel they have a responsibility to fight climate change and its related consequences. Only 37 per cent have a developed and communicated sustainability strategy. Some 31 per cent expect Covid-19 to lead to a reduction in sales, somewhat more positive than the global picture where 46 per cent expect such a reduction.
Card use hits all-time high
Use of both credit and debit cards hit an all-time high in December as people continued to fulfil their demand using the digital means, sidestepping the fear of economic losses caused by the pandemic. Total card loans held by lenders stood at Tk 1,561 crore in December, which is a fresh record in terms of the lending amount. The December’s figure is up 8.84 per cent from that a month earlier and 23.78 per cent year-on-year, showed Bangladesh Bank data. Clients also posted another spending record through debit cards, as the figure stood at Tk 18,795 crore, up 8.44 per cent from that a month earlier and 16.51 per cent year-on-year. The last time credit card loans hit a high was in August 2020 of Tk 1,552 crore while debit card spending last July of Tk 18,123 crore. Card-based transactions have been on the rise in the recent period as people are preferring e-commerce more than ever before to protect themselves from the virus, Rahman said. The issuance of credit cards was on the increase in December when the outstanding number of bank credit cards stood at 16.78 lakh whereas it was 16.51 lakh the month before. Similarly the number of debit cards issued by banks were 2.13 crore and 2.09 crore respectively.
Tk 212cr project to expand cashew, coffee cultivation
The government has undertaken a project to introduce new varieties of cashew nuts and coffee while introducing modern technology and research to develop and expand their cultivation. The project aims to increase cashew and coffee cultivation from the existing 2,000 hectares to a combined 6,000 hectares in order to increase production by 50 per cent. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) endorsed the initiative, “Cashew nut, coffee research, development and expansion”, involving Tk 211.84 crore. During the implementation period, the DAE will organise a total of 5,250 exhibitions on cashew nut cultivation and 5,250 exhibitions for coffee. It will also provide training to 49,500 farmers and 480 officials of the department. This includes foreign training and exposure visits for DAE employees and scientists. The farmers will be provided 1,350 coffee processing sets while a total of 500 solar irrigation units will be set up in hilly areas. According to the DAE office in Bandarban, cashew nuts were cultivated on around 1,797 hectares of land last year while about 1,323 tonnes of cashews were produced in Bandarban. Besides, cashew nuts are not perishable and easy to carry to the market. Currently, a total of 1,600 farmers in the district are involved in cashew nut cultivation. The DAE provides training on proper cultivation methods for better harvesting and quality output. The Ecnec also approved a project involving Tk 448.37 crore to help people establish family gardens for nutrition on unused land and home estates.
ACS Textiles highest taxpayer in RMG sector
ACS Textiles (BD) Ltd in Rupganj of Narayanganj has been awarded as the highest taxpayer in the tax year 2019-2020 in the home textile and RMG sector and its Managing Director Masood Dawood Akbani got a tax card. On February 11, the Tax Circle – Narayanganj arranged a programme to honour the highest taxpayers with cards and crests.