Safety net budget to cross Tk1 lakh crore for first time
The budgetary allocation meant for the poor and vulnerable is set to go past Tk 1 lakh crore mark for the first time as the government sets aside additional funds to support the needy during the coronavirus-induced income collapse. The government may earmark Tk 103,600 crore in the next fiscal year to meet its growing expenditure for social protection and safety net programmes, which is up 8.4 per cent from the revised allocation of Tk 95,574 crore in the current fiscal year, according to an official of the finance ministry. The budget for food assistance programmes such as vulnerable group development (VGD), the vulnerable group feeding (VGF), and test relief (TR) could go up to Tk 19,000 crore in FY22 from Tk 17,981 crore in FY21, an increase of 5.66 per cent. The next fiscal’s allocation for stipend may stand at Tk 5,000 crore, up by Tk 10 crore up from FY21.The fund for the allowance programmes for the elderly and widows would see the highest hike by 42.97 per cent to Tk 14,600 crore against the current fiscal’s allocation of Tk 10,212 crore. The allowance programmes covered 112 upazilas in FY21, and it would be expanded to 150 upazilas in FY22 to add 11 lakh new beneficiaries. For this, the government will have to bear an additional expense of around Tk 1,000 crore. The allotment for other social protection programmes may go up to Tk 65,000 crore, up 41.47 per cent year-on-year.Tk 23,000 crore was allocated for the payment of pension, which accounted for more than 24 per cent of the total allocation in FY21. Tk 6,625 crore, or 7 per cent, was set aside to provide interest support to savers.
Most listed banks offer higher dividends for 2020
Most of the listed banks have declared higher dividends for the year ended on December 31, 2020 than that of the previous year as the profit margins rose due to relaxed provisioning amid ongoing pandemic. Of the 31 banks listed with the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), 26 have declared dividend for 2020 as of Monday. Twelve banks declared higher dividends than that of the previous year, five recommended lower, eight declared similar to previous year while one declared ‘no’ dividend, according to statistics available with the DSE.Eastern Bank, Dutch-Bangla Bank, Premier Bank, City Bank, Al-ArafahIslami Bank, Prime Bank, Pubali Bank, ShahjalalIslami Bank, Jamuna Bank, ONE Bank, Dhaka Bank and newly listed NRB Commercial Bank have declared higher dividends in 2020, compared to the previous year.The Eastern Bank came up with the highest dividend — 35 per cent (17.50 per cent cash and 17.50 per cent stock) for 2020, also the highest allowable limit. The bank had disbursed 15 per cent cash in 2019. The Dutch-Bangla Bank is the second highest in terms of dividend amount, as it declared 30 per cent (15 per cent cash and 15 per cent stock) for 2020. In 2019, the bank paid 25 per cent dividend (15 per cent cash and 10 per cent stock). The Uttara Bank declared 25 per cent dividend (12.50 per cent cash and 12.50 per cent stock) for the year 2020, the third highest. However, the bank disbursed 30 per cent dividend in 2019 (7.0 per cent cash and 23 per cent stock). The City Bank declared 22.50 per cent dividend (17.50 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock) for the year 2020. In 2019, the bank disbursed 15 per cent cash dividend. The Premier Bank declared 20 per cent dividend (12.50 per cent cash and 7.50 per cent stock) for the year 2020. The bank paid 10 per cent dividend (5.0 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock) in 2019. The Jamuna Bank declared 17.50 per cent cash dividend for the year 2020. In 2019, the bank disbursed 15 per cent cash. Al-ArafahIslami Bank recommended 15 per cent cash dividend for 2020. In 2019 the bank paid 13 per cent cash. The Prime Bank also declared 15 per cent cash dividend for 2020. The bank disbursed 13.50 per cent cash in 2019. The Brac Bank declared 15 per cent dividend (10 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock) for 2020. In 2019, the bank gave 7.50 per cent cash and 7.50 per cent stock. NCC Bank recommended 7.50 per cent cash and 7.50 per cent stock dividend for 2020. In 2019, the bank disbursed 15 per cent cash and 2.0 per cent stock. Mercantile Bank declared 10 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock for 2020. The bank gave 11 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock dividend in 2019. ShahjalalIslami Bank declared 7.0 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock dividend for 2020. In 2019, the bank disbursed 5.0 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock dividend. ONE Bank declared 6.0 per cent cash and 5.50 per cent stock dividend for 2020. In 2019, the bank disbursed 5.0 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock. Pubali Bank declared 12.50 per cent cash dividend for 2020. The bank gave 10 per cent cash dividend in 2019. Dhaka Bank recommended 6.0 per cent cash and 6.0 per cent stock dividend for 2020. In 2019, the bank paid 5.0 per cent cash and 5.0 per cent stock.
School banking getting popular
School banking is increasingly gaining popularity among students as the total deposits in such accounts reached around Tk 2,000 crore last year, sidestepping the pandemic-induced economic hardship. As of December last year, students deposited Tk 1,950 crore in the accounts, up 20 per cent from a year ago and 7 per cent three months earlier, according to data from Bangladesh Bank.The number of accounts under school banking rose 10 per cent to 26.90 lakh last year. A number of banks earlier took a set of measures to widen the banking operations as per instructions of the central bank, which mainly gave a boost to financial inclusion among students, said a central bank official having substantial knowledge on the matter.So far, 55 banks have rolled out school banking operations, allowing students aged 11 years to 17 years to open accounts. The accounts come with a number of advantages, such as waivers on fees and charges, free internet banking, lower minimum balance requirement and debit card availability at lower costs. Accounts can be opened with a minimum deposit of Tk 100.As of December last year, the lender had opened 527,397 accounts, which amounts to 20 per cent of the total number of accounts under the school banking programme. The bank accounted for 27 per cent of total deposits in school banking accounts operated by all lenders.