BB extends deadline for import payments
The central bank yesterday issued multiple notices and extended the deadline of the relaxed rules for foreign exchange businesses in various sectors until March 31 next year. Banks have been asked to accept advance payments of up to $500,000 from businesses seeking to import Covid-19-related lifesaving drugs and essential medical items until March 31, according to a notice of the Bangladesh Bank. The deadline expired on September 30. Importers are usually allowed to make advance payments of a maximum of $10,000 for the import of general items, including raw materials meant for industrial purposes and consumer goods.Many exporters have already imported a good amount of raw materials to produce items meant for export, said a central bank official. But they are facing hurdles when attempting to export their products in the wake of a fall in global demand. The same instruction will also be applicable for the importers in the agriculture sector, according to another notice issued by the central bank. Importers of agriculture equipment and chemical fertilizers will be allowed to get the support.
Govt seeks US support in jute, agro-processing
Bangladesh has sought US investment and technological support in agro-processing, agricultural trade and jute sectors as it could promote food security and address environmental degradation caused by the use of polyethylene-based items. The indication was given after a review of the country’s post-Covid-19 recovery strategy to expand domestic demand through public investments in infrastructure and service delivery and to increase the rate of foreign direct investment in export diversifying sectors. It came at a meeting of the newly formed US–Bangladesh Economic Partnership Dialogue held virtually on September 30. The meeting participants observed that efforts should continue to support cooperation in areas of science and technology, including innovative plant breeding technologies, science-based standards, and the principles of risk analysis. This will help meet the agricultural challenges and consumer needs of the 21st century, according to a joint statement issued by the US Department of State yesterday. Earlier in the last Trade and Investment Cooperation Forum Agreement, Bangladesh had invited US investment in the economic zones. Bangladesh may continue to bring reforms for the labour sector, including in the labour act and rules and export processing zones act in alignment with recommendations of International Labour Organization, the joint statement said. The two sides shared their mutual interest in stable bilateral trade in cotton and related products. They encouraged both governments to remain engaged on this issue and agreed to move towards further expanding 4G connectivity and developing 5G networks and services in Bangladesh. The US side praised Bangladesh for hosting the Third Indian Ocean Rim Association Blue Economy Ministerial Conference in 2019.
Regulator asks DSE to improve its IT platform
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has ordered the country’s premier bourse to improve its IT services so that investors can easily trade their stocks online. The existing online trading platform of the Dhaka Stock Exchange is problematic as investors are often unable to view updated data on stocks and trade, which is a cause for concern, said Professor ShibliRubayetUl Islam, chairman of the BSEC.Turnover, an important indicator of the market, currently hovers around the Tk 1,000 crore mark but the BSEC intends to increase this value to Tk 1,500 crore within the current year. Bangladesh needs huge investment in the coming years to achieve the government’s development goals and this may impact the stock market. And so, market capitalisation will increase significantly by 2030.In a separate event organised by the BSEC on Monday, Islam said they have rusticated the directors who did not hold at least a 2 per cent stake in their own company. Now, the BSEC has turned its sights to take action against companies where the directors do not collectively hold a 30 per cent stake.
Ecnecokays four projects of Tk 1,659cr
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday revised three projects and approved a fresh one worth a total of Tk 1,659 crore. The first revision of the National Poet KaziNazrul Islam University Physical Infrastructure Development project saw its cost go up by 71 per cent to Tk 840.56 crore from the initially-approved Tk 491.34 crore. The university will implement the project between January 2018 and June 2023.The approval came at a meeting at the NEC conference room in Sher-e Bangla Nagar. Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting from her official GonoBhaban residence through video conferencing.The Ecnec approved the first revision of an emergency-basis multi-sector project to address the Rohingya crisis, raising the cost by 88 per cent to Tk 1,987.84 crore from the original Tk 1,058.64 crore. Of the total cost, World Bank and German state-owned development bank KfW would provide Tk 1,967.48 crore as grants and the rest would come from the government.The project aims to create jobs and entrepreneurs by increasing the skills of 15,000 men and women through hands-on training on various trades and increasing the training capacity of Bitac.
Brokerage licence now just Tk 6 lakh
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has finalised new regulations regarding issuance of brokerage licence allowing such businesses to be opened at a cost of just Tk 6 lakh. The same licence was selling anywhere between Tk 30 crore to Tk 100 crore when the market was going bullish in 2010, according to a top Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) official. According to the new regulations, a company or individual will have to spend Tk 1 lakh in applying for a Treclicence and once they get the approval, they will have to provide another Tk 5 lakh as registration fee.he DSE’s daily average turnover now ranges from Tk 350 crore to Tk 400 crore, which was around Tk 1,200 crore to Tk 1,500 crore on an average during the late 2010 bullish period to mid-2011. On the other hand, the lower paid-up capital for the new Trec holders may give rise to risks for stock investors, the broker added.According to the new regulations, new Trec holders will need to keep Tk 5 crore as paid-up capital and an extra Tk 3 crore as deposit money.Stock brokers who are also owners of the stock exchange are bound to keep a paid-up capital of Tk 15 crore as per a risk-based capital adequacy notification of the BSEC.At present, there are 250 Trec holders. Of them 238 are active.