BB for issuing large loan amount in phases
The Bangladesh Bank has suggested that banks should disburse any large loan amounts in phases rather than in a lump sum in order to ensure proper utilisation of the loans and check money laundering. The central bank made the suggestion in its quarterly report on ‘Money and Money Exchange Rate’. The report was released on Tuesday. The BB in its report said that banks must make proper assessments before providing loans and ensure that the loans were utilised properly with a view to reducing the banks’ total classified loans. The amount of defaulted loans in banks soared to Tk 1,20,656 crore at the end of December 2022 from Tk 1,03,273 crore in the same period of 2021, according to the BB data released on Sunday. Non-performing loans amounted Tk 88,734 crore in December 2020. Despite promises from the government and the central bank to reduce defaulted loans, the situation is deteriorating, bankers said. Of the total defaulted loans, Tk 1,06,982 crore or 88 per cent turned into bad loans which the central bank apprehended were not recoverable. The total loans disbursed were Tk 14,77,788 crore at the end of December 2022 and 8.16 per cent of them became classified. The ratio was 7.93 per cent at the end of December in 2021.
‘Foreign currency reserves to be stabilised by June this year’
Prime Minister’s Private Industries and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman has said the process of opening letters of credit (LCs) would be eased further in coming days and foreign currency reserves would be stabilised by June this year. Regarding the shortage of foreign currency reserves in the last few months, he said that the central bank took immediate steps to address the issue, like controlling imports, especially the luxurious items for which the import bills came down at $5.0 billion in December. The adviser to the prime minister came up with the information at a pre-budget discussion of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) for the next fiscal year (FY23) held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital on Wednesday, reports BSS. He also informed that the single exchange rate would be effective by June this year, while the interest rate cap would be made market-based. Citing that the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio is still lower compared to other countries in the world, the adviser said that there is a need to further widen the tax net, for which automation is very much needed. He opined that if the revenue board could develop a uniform import duty, it would be possible to address various problems, but the revenue would fall in such a case. Noting that the small traders in the country are often reluctant to pay tax and VAT, the adviser said there is a need to change their mindset while the business community leaders should make a serious propaganda about the necessity of paying tax.
Bangladesh, Bhutan sign transit deal
Bangladesh yesterday signed a transit agreement with Bhutan allowing the landlocked South Asian nation to transport its imported and export-oriented goods by using ports, mainly the Mongla seaport. Under the “Agreement on the Movement of Traffic-in-Transit and Protocol”, Bhutan would also be able to use Bangladesh’s land, waterways, railways and airways to move goods to and from third countries. Similarly, Bangladesh will be allowed to use Bhutanese land to export goods to other countries such as China, according to the commerce ministry of Bangladesh. Tipu Munshi, commerce minister of Bangladesh, and Karma Dorji, industries, commerce and employment minister of Bhutan, signed the agreement in Thimphu. The development comes years after discussions on the transit facility between the two nations. Under the pact, Bhutan will pay fees and charges to Bangladesh for using the ports.