Remittance grows by 18.4pc in 2020
The inflow of remittance into Bangladesh grew by 18.4 per cent to US$21.7 billion in 2020, defying the gloomy projections and inspite of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic globally. This growth in inward remittances from Bangladeshis working abroad in the last calendar year was much faster than 5.2 per cent increase in flows to South Asian countries, according to the latest Migration and Development Brief published by the World Bank.Earlier, the Washington-based international financial institution had forecast a significant decline in remittances to Bangladesh and other countries in the region because of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced nations across the world to lock down their economies and send migrant workers back home to their countries of origin.Meanwhile, the World Bank has projected that remittances to the South Asia region will slow slightly to 3.5 per cent in 2021 from 5.2 per cent of the previous calendar year due to a moderation of growth in high-income economies and a further expected drop in migration to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. In India, the region’s largest recipient country by far, remittances fell by just 0.2 per cent in 2020 to $83 billion. Much of decline was due to a 17 per cent drop in remittances from the United Arab Emirates, which somewhat offset resilient flows from United States and other host countries. In Pakistan, remittances rose by over 17 per cent to a record high of $26.1 billion; remittances from Saudi Arabia increased by over 46 per cent, from European Union countries by 25 per cent, and from the United Arab Emirates by 19 per cent.In 2020, the number of Bangladeshi migrant workers fell to 218,000, a drastic drop from the previous annual average of 700,000 to 800,000. About 67 per cent of Bangladeshi expatriate workers who were forced to return home were not paid wages, and 62 per cent had to leave behind savings and other assets, according to the World Bank. It is also reported that more than 70,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers were infected with coronavirus in 186 countries by July 2020, and a total of 2,330 Bangladeshis had succumbed to Covid-19 in 21 countries as of December 2020, reflecting a lack of free access to proper healthcare.
Pharmas rake in higher profits
Listed drug makers booked an 18 per cent growth in profit in the first nine months of the current fiscal year thanks to a decrease in marketing costs amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The figures and associated data were compiled by Prime Finance Asset Management Company, analysing 13 pharmaceuticals companies. ACI and Orion Pharmaceuticals were excluded as they are yet to disclose their earnings.The total profit of the listed medicine-makers rose to Tk 2,168 crore. Among them, the profits of eight rose. One of them was Beacon Pharmaceuticals, whose profit surged five times to Tk 75 crore.MdJubayerAlam, company secretary of Renata, echoed the same, saying higher profits mainly came from lower marketing costs.Renata’s profits rose to Tk 363 crore this year, whereas it was Tk 305 crore last year.Though sales were low for most for many reasons, the sector generated the highest hopes. Institutional investors believe that the sector would be able to sustain its performance even if the market took a plunge, he added. Among the listed drug makers and chemical companies, Renata closed 0.01 per cent higher on the Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday. Square Pharmaceuticals declined 0.23 per cent, Beximco Pharmaceuticals dropped 2.63 per cent, Ibn Sina Pharmaceutical was down 1.27 per cent, Acme Laboratories shed 0.98 per cent, Beacon slipped 0.71 per cent, and Reckitt Benckiser went down 0.15 per cent.
Japanese company to invest $25m in EPZ
Roulin (BD) Limited, a Japanese apparel manufacturing company, is going to expand its business in Ishwardi EPZ and create employment for 3,500 Bangladeshis, reports UNB. The enterprise signed an agreement to this effect with Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) on Wednesday. Recently, the major share of the company was taken over by Matsuoka Corporation, a major player in the wholesale sector of Japan. Now the new shareholder will expand the existing operation of Roulin (BD) by investing $25 million where 3,500 Bangladeshis will be employed. Roulin (BD) has been operating their business in IEPZ since 2011 and invested $4.53 million. In presence of the Executive Chairman of BEPZA Major General MdNazrul Islam, BEPZA Member (Investment Promotion) MdMahmudul Hossain Khan and Representative of Matsuoka Corporation Osamu Sasaki signed the agreement at BEPZA Complex in Dhaka.Presently, 31 Japanese enterprises have invested $525 million in the EPZs and created employment opportunity for 13,500 Bangladeshis.
Chinese co to set up 400MW power plant in Ctg
The Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase (CCGP) Wednesday approved a total of nine proposals including one for setting up a 400MW power plant at Raozan in Chattogram by a Chinese company, reports BSS. The approval came from the 18th meeting of the CCGP held in this year virtually with Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the chair. Briefing reporters virtually after the metering, Cabinet Division Additional Secretary DrSahida Akhter said that SEPCO-III Electric Power Construction Company Limited, China will set up the power plant at Raozan in Chattogram with around Tk 17.97 billion under the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). The unit price of per kilowatt hour electricity will be Tk 1.38.Meanwhile, DrSahida said in a proposal from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division, Petrobangla would procure some 3.36 million MMBtu LNG from AOT Trading AG, Switzerland with a cost of around Taka 3.41 billion where the price of per unit MMBtu would be $10.1997.The CCGP meeting approved a proposal for awarding the package number GD-27a to the joint venture of Beximco Computers Limited, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Export Import Company Limited, Bangladesh, Tech Mahindra Ltd India and Tech Valley Networks Ltd Bangladesh with around Tk 2.62 billion for supplying equipments for installing softwares, data centers, internet connections, monitoring system at all Food godowns of the country under the Modern Food Storage Facilities (MFSP) project. Besides, the package number W-21 for constructing a steel silo for rice at Barishal under the same project has been awarded to the joint venture of Confidence Infrastructure Limited, Bangladesh and the GSI Group LLC, USA with around Tk 3.31 billion. Apart from this, the meeting approved a proposal of additional around Taka 207.7 million as variation for constructing a 13-storey headquarters for Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority.