Important Business News Extract – September 05, 2017
BB sends team to Manila to push for heist money recovery
Bangladesh’s central bankwill send a team of officials to the Philippines on Tuesday to push for the recovery of more of the $81 million stolen from its account at the New York Federal Reserve last year and routed through a bank in Manila. Bangladesh Bank has been able to retrieve only about $15 million of the money stolen in one of the world’s biggest cyber heists. A Bangladesh Bank lawyer, Ajmalul Hossain, told Reuters on Monday the bank was working on “various ways” to get back the rest of the money from institutions in the Philippines.
July import payment soars on the back of rice inflow
Import payments in July, the first month of this fiscal year 2017-18, increased by 44.3% year-on-year due to a substantial amount of rice import amid crop losses caused by floods this year. According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the total import bill payments stood at USD 4.0 billion in July this year, while the figure was USD 2.8 billion in the same month of 2016. The BB data showed that rice import increased to USD 71.3 million in July from USD 1.3 million during the same month a year ago. Higher back-to-back imports for readymade garment products and capital machinery also contributed to the rise in the import payments, a BB official told New Age on August 31. The rising import of food grains, practically rice, may continue in the coming months to keep the prices of the staple stable on the local markets by boosting its supply, he said.
Government retakes eight mills as private operators fail
The government has taken back eight jute and textiles mills from their private entrepreneurs as the latter breached the major terms and conditions of privatization, officials said. Failure to create jobs, keeping mills closed for long time, converting some of the divested mills into different production units and even selloff of land are construed as a gross breach of the deals. In 2017, a total of six mills were taken back with the latest reacquisition of Fouzi Jute Mills at Ghorasal in Narsingdi and Madaripur Textile Mill in mid-July. The rest of the re-nationalized mills are Kokil Textile Mills Limited in Brahmanbaria, A R Hawlader Jute Mills Limited in Madaripur, Eagle Star Textile Mills Limited in Chittagong, Jalil Textile Mills Limited in Fouzdarhat, Chittagong, Dhaka Jute Mills Limited and Gausia Jute Mills Limited in Dhaka. The last two were taken back in 2015, according to the officials. One of the main objectives of handover of the mills to private sector is to create employment, which has not been met for long closure of the mills, a ministry official said.
Business and economic activities in cities including capital Dhaka remained dull on Monday, the first working day after Eid-ul-Azha vacation, as city dwellers were still in holiday mood. The government offices, most of the private offices and commercial establishments opened on the day after a three-day holiday on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, one of biggest religious festivals for Muslims, with as usual low presence of officials, workers and service seekers. A good number of officials and employees at Bangladesh Secretariat, banks and financial institutions and private offices were yet to join their workplaces after the Eid which was celebrated on Saturday. Most of the retail shops, restaurants, shopping malls and kitchen markets, however, remained closed and those which opened on the day experienced a very thin turnout of customers. Volumes of transaction at banks other financial institutions were also very insignificant with few clients seeking services as the overall economic and commercial activities were yet to get momentum after the vacation.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to file cases against a number of public switched telephone network operators to recover the government’s long pending dues from the operators. The telecom regulator initiated the move following a decision taken at a recently-held meeting presided over by BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood. A BTRC official said that the commission has been preparing files to lodge cases against the private land phone operators as the enteritis’ dues to the government have remained unpaid for years. Although the companies’ dues to the BTRC have been on the rise, the entities have no initiative to make any payment, prompting the regulator to take legal move, they said. The PSTN operators which would face cases include National Telecom, Dhaka Telephone Co, World Tel and SA Telecom.
The prices of rawhide and skins have dropped significantly this year as a section of tanners and traders were reluctant to raise its prices. Many believe the government’s announcement on keeping its prices unchanged is one of the key reasons behind the fall in the prices of rawhide and skins. The prices should be increased by at least 5.0% considering the average inflation rate, they added. The prices of rawhide, if the market forces work, will be higher as hide traders believe that the number of sacrificial animals was at least 10% lower this year compared to than that of last year due to floods and non-availability of cattle in many parts of the country a day before Eid-ul-Azha.
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