Bangladesh to take part in Dubai expo
Bangladesh will showcase its 50 years of achievements to the world at an international expo in Dubai, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said yesterday. The minister was speaking at a press briefing at the ministry in the secretariat on the participation of the “Expo 2020 Dubai”.The country’s achievements in various sectors, products, concept innovations, national brand, tourism and history would be highlighted in the six-month-long expo scheduled to begin on October 1. The United Arab Emirates is going to host the “Expo 2020 Dubai” with the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and sub-theme — Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. The expo will end on March 31, 2022, according to the press release.
Agent banking transactions see robust growth
Funds transacted through agent banking accounts rose 14.3 per cent year-on-year to Tk 32,523 crore in July as more and more people are joining the financial system using the new window, Bangladesh Bank data showed. This is compared to Tk 28,454 crore in July last year.Since 2013, the central bank has awarded 28 agent banking licences with the aim to provide a secure alternative delivery channel of banking services to the underprivileged and under-served population who live in remote locations. Agent banking accounts totaled 1.24 crore at the end of July, up about 62 per cent from 76.86 lakh in the same month a year ago. The number of agents across the country stood at 13,086 at the end of July, which was 9,180 in the same month last year. Agent banking outlets rose to 17,332 from 12,861 during the period.In July, 66.42 lakh males had agent banking accounts, up 60 per cent from 41.62 lakh, year-on-year. Female customers owned 52.66 lakh accounts, which was 33.7 lakh in the same month last year, an increase of 56.26 per cent, according data from the central bank.The deposit balance was Tk 20,671 crore as of July, doubling from Tk 10,788 crore in the same month in 2020. Banks disbursed Tk 109.9 crore in loans through the agent banking system, up from Tk 94.9 crore in the same period last year. Utility bills amounting to Tk 88.9 crore were paid through agent banking accounts in July. It is, however, down from Tk 93.7 crore in July last year. Remittance to the tune of Tk 1,949 crore was channelled to the beneficiaries, a decrease of 41.42 per cent from Tk 3,327 crore a year ago, central bank data showed.
Banks now free to invest in Green Sukuk bond
The central bank has allowed all scheduled banks to invest in a private Green Sukuk bond from their special funds meant for investment in capital market. Officials say allowing bank investment in the newly devised financial tool aims at facilitating the use of renewable energy in the country. Under the new provisions, the banks are now eligible to invest money from their special funds in 100-per cent asset-backed listed or supposed-to-be-listed-within-a- year tools from the subscription-closing data Green Sukuk, issued by a private entrepreneur, to run the project with minimum 70-per cent renewable energy. Sukuk is an Islamic financial certificate, similar to a treasury bond and structured to generate returns in compliance with Islamic finance principles.The central bank has set some conditions on use of Sukuk funds. As part of the conditions, the letter of credit (LC) will be opened by paying 100-percent margin.In case of the Green Sukuk, the banks will be allowed to invest from their special funds for capital market until December 31, 2028 instead of 10 February 2025 earlier. Earlier on February 10 last calendar year, the banks were allowed to create special fund worth Tk 2.0 billion, each of five-year tenure, only for investment in the capital market.Currently, the size of the fund stands at Tk 41 billion. Of the amount, around Tk 17.0 billion has already been invested in the capital market.
BD gets highest $1.14b foreign aid in July-Aug
Bangladesh received the highest foreign aid worth US$ 1.14 billion in the first two months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2021-22, as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released loans amounting to more than half a billion US dollar, officials said on Monday. The amount of medium- to long-term (MLT) loans is $194.75 million higher than the amount, received in the same period of last FY, 2020-21. In July-August period of FY 2021, the multi-lateral and bilateral donors disbursed $948.18 million as foreign assistance, the Economic Relations Division (ERD) provisional data showed. The development partners, including the World Bank, ADB, Japan’s JICA, UK’s DFID, and Islamic Development Bank, disbursed concessional aid every year for development of Bangladesh.The ADB had already released some $557 million worth of loan, of which, nearly $450 million was given for procuring COVID-19 vaccines from abroad. The ERD data also showed that the government repaid $298.22 million worth of interest and principal from its total outstanding loans during the July-August period of current FY. Of the amount, the government paid $212.28 million as principal of the outstanding loans and $84.94 million as interest.