52pc users apply for power thru middlemen
Fifty-two per cent of electricity consumers in Bangladesh apply for the connection through middlemen instead of going to the distribution offices directly, according to a new survey. The survey was conducted by Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Company, an advisory body of the government under the Economic Relations Division at the finance ministry.Initiatives should be taken to inform the consumers about the services provided by the power distribution companies, where the services are available, or how much fees are charged for the service. The survey covered 700 consumers in the sadar upazila of Narayanganj and 700 consumers in Burichang upazila in Comilla. It was conducted on four issues—electricity connection, complaint resolution service, billing, and metering. It found that 88 per cent of consumers were satisfied with the overall electricity service.Ninety-four per cent of the respondents were content with electricity connection, 77 per cent with complaint handling service, 95 per cent with billing, and 88 per cent with metering service.Of the respondents, 71 per cent are residential customers, and 29 per cent are commercial and other customers. Of them, 39 per cent are the customers of Dhaka Power Distribution Company, 39 per cent are customers of Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board, and 22 per cent are consumers of Bangladesh Power Development Board.
Stock index near 6,000: Will it sustain the growth?
The stock market index is hovering around 6,000 points now, raising questions among investors over whether it would remain stable here or take a plunge like before. The DSEX, the Dhaka Stock Exchange’s (DSE) prime index, went past 5,900 points four times since its inception in 2013.Analysts are saying that this year there was a huge possibility for it to not roll back because confidence was prevailing among many people alongside a lower interest rate in the banking sector. The sustainability of the index around the 6,000 points level depends on many things, said Mokta Rani Sarker, assistant professor of the Department of Finance at Jagannath University.The market was sluggish for the past seven or eight years and now the index is at its closest to the 6,000 points level, where many stocks are still undervalued. Due to the increase in confidence for the presence of a new regulatory commission, lower interest rate in banks and limited scope for investment in other instruments, the stock market has been undergoing a rising trend, said the association leader. If the index crosses the 6,000 points level, funds will be mobilised in larger quantities, all of which are now stuck. Corporate tax may also be lowered next fiscal year, meaning all the indicators are positive for the market.
One-person company law off to a dismal start
The one-person company (OPC) law is off to a disappointing start as no single entrepreneur has come forward to incorporate firms under the provision although six months have passed since its passage. OPC means a company formed with only one person as a member, unlike the traditional private companies with at least two members.The OPC was rolled out through an amendment to the Companies Act (Bangladesh), 1994 with a view to improving the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index as a single-person company encounters lesser complexities and is easy to run.Any natural person, either a born citizen or a foreigner, can set up an OPC following registration with the RJSC. The paid-up capital will be a minimum of Tk 25 lakh and a maximum of Tk 5 crore. OPC has to be written at the end of the company’s name.The minimum paid-up capital requirement should be brought down to Tk 5 lakh because many startups do not have such a high amount of funds at the beginning of a company. Currently, the corporate tax rate of the OPC is 25 per cent. It needs to be reduced by 2.5 percentage points in the next budget along with all other companies. The changes to the Companies Act have been part of a $250 million budget support the government has received from the World Bank. Allowing the formation of single-member companies would enable entrepreneurs and family businesses to move out of the shadow of informality and gain access to financial and business services available in the formal economy, said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in a letter to the multilateral lender in April last year. Because of the opportunity to form an OPC, 50,000 new firms would be set up in the country, according to an estimate.
Agriculture to get increased subsidy in next budget
Government subsidies in the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 are likely to increase by almost Tk 100 billion (10,000 crore) with the agriculture sector slated to get the highest allocation, official sources said on Saturday, reports UNB. The agriculture gets the priority in line with the government’s policy to ensure food security during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the sources at the Finance Ministry and the National Board of Revenue (NBR). They hinted that the total subsidy amount for the next fiscal might reach Tk 490 billion, up from Tk 386 billion in the current budget. This amount is almost 8.0 per cent of the proposed Tk. 6.02 trillion budget. An amount of Tk 95 billion was earmarked for subsidising the agriculture sector. According to the sources, the revenue target for the next fiscal has been set Tk 3.89 trillion, where Tk 3.30 trillion will be contributed by the NBR. Power sector will get a subsidy of Tk 90 billion, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Tk 85 bilion and Tk 73 billion for export support.According to Bangladesh Bank data, Tk 175.34 billion came in April, Tk 162.05 billion in March, Tk 151 billion in February and Tk 166.37 billion in January. The amount in food subsidy would be Tk 65 billion.So far the government has announced 23 packages involving Tk 1.24 trillion which is over 4.0 per cent of the GDP.