Govt caps MFS’s cash-out charge for safety net funds
The government decision to distribute the fund under its social safety net programme through mobile financial services will ensure transparency and bring more unbanked people under the formal financial system, according to industry people. As part of its move to release the fund smoothly through the mobile financial service (MFS) providers, the government has fixed Tk 7 as the cash-out charge per Tk 1,000 withdrawal for the funds to be disbursed under the social protection programmes, according to a finance ministry circular on Thursday.The government disburses cash support in the form of allowances, honorarium, scholarships and stipends. Besides, other programmes also provide cash support. Currently, Bangladesh runs more than 125 social protection programmes through 20 ministries and divisions. The government has allocated Tk 95,570 crore for social protection purposes in the current fiscal year, which is 16.83 per cent of the entire budget and 3.01 per cent of the GDP.
Bangladesh on track to becoming a $6b pharma market by 2025
The pharmaceutical market of Bangladesh is expected to surpass $6 billion by 2025 with an absolute growth of 114 per cent from its 2019 levels, according to a report from a Dublin-based market insight and analysis firm, Research and Markets. “The pharmaceutical market has been witnessing excellent growth in recent years, and it is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of more than 12 per cent during the 2019-2025 period,” said the report titled “Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Market Future Opportunity Outlook 2025”.Market players estimate that the local market size of the sector was about Tk 25,000 crore ($3 billion) in 2019. In 2012, it stood at about Tk 9,390 and in 2017 it hit Tk 18,755.6 crore, according to the IMS Health Care Report.The pharmaceutical industry, a winner of the global market through dynamism and technology, experienced tremendous growth in the last decade and currently contributes 1.83 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to industry people.Local pharmaceutical makers still have immense potential in the healthcare sector, as Bangladeshis spend around $2.04 billion abroad annually for medical treatment, which is 1.94 per cent of the country’s GDP, according to a market analysis by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida).Pharmaceutical shipments soared 4.49 per cent year-on-year to $136 million in fiscal 2019-20 following improvements in product quality and policy support. The industry is one of the handful of sectors that ended the fiscal year in the black when national exports fell 16.93 per cent. The sector fetched $130 million in export earnings in fiscal 2018-19 and $103.46 million in fiscal 2017-18.
Industries vexed at no-gas plan outside economic zones
A decision by the energy ministry to stop providing new gas connections to the industries outside economic zones and industrial parks from April next year has drawn the ire of industrialists. Trade body and business chamber leaders said they did not fully agree with the initiative as such a sudden move will act as a hurdle to industrialisation. A circular from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division on October 5 said the government would not allow any new gas connections to the industries located outside of economic zones from March 31 next year to bring about industrialisation in a planned way.The government’s decision on planned industrialisation is vital. I am also in favour of the move. However, the investment will be affected as economic zones are not ready to set up industrial plants, he said. The energy and mineral resources division issued the circular citing an instruction of the prime minister at a meeting of the governing body of the Bangabandhu Sheikh MujibShilpa Nagar on October 20, 2019.In order to discourage unplanned industrialisation, all utility services, including power and gas connection will have to be stopped in phases except for that inside the economic zones.” The directive does not apply to the economic zones under the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), and the industrial sites under the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC).There are more than 8.8 million cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises, many of which cannot buy land at the economic zones to set up industries.
Robi, UGC sign MoU
University Grants Commission (UGC) signed an MoU with Robi on Sunday. Robi’s Chief Enterprise Business Officer Md. Adil Hossain and UGC’s Secretary Dr. Ferdous Zaman signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. Robi’s Managing Director and CEO Mahtab Uddin Ahmed and UGC Chairman Prof. Dr. KaziShahidullah were present at the MoU signing ceremony. Under the agreement, Robi will provide 30 GB data pack with 30 days’ validity at an affordable rate to any University willing to take up the facility.