Remittances to reach $20b by Dec
Bangladesh’s remittance inflow is projected to grow by 8.0 per cent this year, bucking the falling trend in the world and the region. The country’s external income from the migrant workers could reach US$20 billion by December this year from the current level of $16 billion, the WB report on “Migration and Development Brief,” released on Friday, said. In contrast, the Washington-based lender has said the global remittance flow to low and middle-income countries is projected to fall by 7.0 per cent to $508 billion in 2020, followed by a further decline of 7.5 per cent, to $470 billion in 2021. Although the remittances inflow to South Asia is projected to suffer a protracted decline of around 4.0 per cent in 2020 and 11 per cent in 2021, Bangladesh’s foreign exchange income will be in a better position, the bank said.A more important reason for a stunning 53.5 per cent year-on-year increase in remittance flows in Q3 (Jul-Sep) could be the damage from the floods, affecting nearly 1.0 million homes and 4.7 million people, the WB said.It said the remittances are projected to fall by about 9.0 percent in India, to $76 billion in 2020, 12 per cent in Nepal and 9.0 per cent in Sri Lanka. However, the external income for Pakistan would grow at about 9.0 per cent rate, totalling to about $24 billion in the current calendar year.According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training in Bangladesh, the number of migrants was 181,218 for January to May 2020 compared to 700,159 in the same period last year. The WB, in its Migration and Development Brief report, said since the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis continue to spread, the amount of money migrant workers send home is projected to decline 14 per cent by 2021 compared to the pre COVID-19 levels in 2019.
IFC supports businesses in poorest countries with $4.0 billion
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has said it has so far extended $4.0 billion to private sector businesses in the poorest countries to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, reports BSS. The IFC, which is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, in March committed $8.0 billion in fast track financing to help pandemic-hit private sector companies. Of the $8.0 billion in IFC Covid-19 fast-track financing approved by the IFC Board in March 2020, $4.0 billion has been committed to date, of which close to half is expected to benefit people in the poorest countries and fragile states, with the remainder helping to support the fight against Covid-19 across other developing countries and emerging markets.IFC’s Board in March approved $8.0 billion in financing to help companies affected by the outbreak. IFC, the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, has since fully deployed the $2.0 billion allocated under the trade-finance envelope of the fast-track facility.IFC has committed an additional $2.0 billion under the facility, benefiting every region in which IFC operates. This financing is being used for a range of purposes, from bolstering healthcare providers to helping the battered tourism sector and keeping viable businesses afloat, thus saving jobs. Another $623 million has been mobilised for these clients from private sector partners.In Bangladesh, IFC supported Mymensingh Agro Limited, a company within the PRAN Group, to expand its capacity to manufacture affordable and quality food products with a $25 million investment. In Vietnam, IFC offered relief to businesses, including more than 300 SMEs, by providing $75 million to the Phu My Hung Development Corporation.
HSBC executes country’s first cross-border blockchain LC transaction
HSBC Bangladesh has executed the first-ever cross-border blockchain letter of credit transaction in Bangladesh, in a development that would reduce LC processing time from the standard 5-10 days to under 24 hours. The first transaction involved the import of 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil by United Mymensingh Power Ltd from Singapore for its power plant.The transaction was completed under the Contour platform which is built using R3’s Cordablockchain technology, connecting a global network of banks, corporates and digital solutions.Fuel oil LCs are highly time-sensitive where every second counts and United Group believes the blockchain technology will help manage time efficiently and ensure increased efficiency and better cost management, he said. For the first half of 2020, Bangladesh’s trade under LCs was more than $34 billion, according to the SWIFT, a global provider of secure financial messaging services.The bank serves customers worldwide from offices in 64 countries and territories with assets of $2.92 trillion as of 30 June, making it one of the world’s largest banking and financial services.
BRAC Bank Wins Global SME Finance Awards
BRAC Bank has received the Global SME Finance Awards in the Silver Category of SME Bank of the Year – Asia. This is the second consecutive year that BRAC Bank has been awarded with this accolade, said a statement. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum jointly organised the 2020 Global SME Finance Awards on a virtual platform. They announced the winners on October 27, 2020.Commenting on the win BRAC Bank’s Managing Director and CEO, Selim RF Hussain, said: “Our SME team has delivered yet again, and this award is an acknowledgment of their tireless efforts and strive for excellence. With its network of 456 SME unit offices, BRAC Bank’s focus has always been on SMEs and it will remain there for a long time. The bank takes financing solutions to the doorsteps of the SME entrepreneurs in both rural and semi-urban Bangladesh.”