BB asks banks to report daily international card transaction
Bangladesh Bank has asked the authoritised foreign exchange dealers to record every transaction made through international credit or other cards on daily basis. The central bank issued a letter to foreign exchange departments of banks on Sunday to make records under international card monitoring system. They were asked to report transactions conducted through international cards by their respective customers as well as inward remittance received from usage of international cards in Bangladesh issued abroad. The banks are no longer required to submit monthly statements to Bangladesh Bank as per regulation. But the foreign exchange departments of banks are now responsible to submit the statements.
Govt repays banks Tk 25,785cr in Jul-Mar with costly NSC loans
The government repaid bank loans amounting to Tk 25,785.55 crore in nine months (July-March) of this financial year as it continues taking loans through selling national savings certificates and bonds which carry high interest rates. According to the Bangladesh Bank data released on Sunday, the government repaid Tk 8,120.98 crore to the scheduled banks and Tk 17,664.57 crore to the central bank in the nine months of the FY 2016-17 against its previous loans, making the government’s overall bank borrowing negative of Tk 25,785.55 crore. The government’s net bank borrowing was also negative of Tk 7,299.66 crore in the first three quarters of FY16. BB officials said the government would have to count a huge amount of money as loan interest to manage its budget deficit as the rates of interest on savings certificates and bonds were much higher than that of the treasury bills and bonds through which the government takes loans from banks. The BB data showed that the overall government borrowing from the banking sector decreased to Tk 82,862 crore as of March 31, 2017 from Tk 1,08,648.50 crore as of June 30, 2016.
Negative remittance growth may dampen domestic demand
Falling remittance inflow registers a negative growth that might cast some dampening effects on domestic demand, according to the central bank. An expected growth in private-sector credits and a fresh wave of capital-machinery import indicated buoyant domestic demand, the Bangladesh Bank observed in its latest quarterly report on the country’s economic health. “However, the negative growth of remittance inflow (-17.8 per cent) might have some dampening effect on the domestic demand,” it says in the Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (BBQ) for October-December 2016 period, released Sunday. The latest BB observations came against the backdrop of a falling trend in the flow of inward remittances in the recent months. The remittance receipts came down to $9.19 billion during the July-March period, from $11.06 billion in the same period of the last fiscal, the latest BB data showed.
Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (Oct-Dec, 2016) has revealed the projection. The periodical, officially released on Sunday, also said that the growth projection is based on current and projected trends of a number of variables including global economic growth, domestic and foreign investment, private sector credit growth, electricity production, growth of capital goods import. In the current fiscal year’s budget, the government has set a target of 7.2 per cent growth while expressed optimism to contain annual rate of inflation within 5.8 per cent.
PM rejects bank modernisation plan with World Bank help
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC), has cancelled the proposed ‘Modernisation of State-owned Financial Institutions Project’ because the financial involvement of the World Bank (WB) has been envisaged. According to sources present at the ECNEC meeting, PM Hasina postponed the project because of security concerns of the state-owned financial institutions. She said the project should be implemented with the government’s own funds and institutions concerned, as high security issues were involved. The government has become cautious about the security of financial institutions following the cyber heist at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) in February last year. Sheikh Hasina further directed the Economic Relations Division (ERD) to discuss with the WB the possibility of diverting this project’s funds to other areas. Sources said the PM raised the issue when the project proposal was tabled for the ECNEC’s approval on Tuesday.
Southeast Bank to issue rights, form subsidiary company
The board of directors of Southeast Bank has decided to issue rights share and approved to form a fully owned subsidiary company to run the bank’s mobile financial services, said an official disclosure on Sunday. A rights issue is an issue of additional shares by a listed company to raise capital from existing shareholders. The existing shareholders have the privilege to buy a specified number of new shares from the firm at a particular price within a specified time. The board has decided to issue one rights share for two existing shares at an issue price of Tk 12.50, including premium of Tk 2.50 per share, subject to approval of shareholders in the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) and regulatory authorities – Bangladesh Bank (BB) and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), said a disclosure posted on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website on Sunday.
Ministry forms joint body on issues related to ease of doing business
The commerce ministry has formed a joint committee to review the issues related to ease of doing business and trade facilitation in the country and ensure better coordination among the agencies concerned. The export wing of the ministry has recently formed the committee headed by commerce secretary as part of its efforts to simplify business process in the country. Commerce ministry officials said that the committee would identify the obstacles in simplifying the business and suggest the authorities concerned for taking steps to remove those obstacles. It will also review the programmes taken to simply the business process and recommend the authorities to determine the next course of actions in this connection, they said. The committee having representatives from 29 government ministries, divisions and other offices and 13 trade bodies and businesses associations will also instruct the agencies to ensure coordination among and continuation of the policies, rules, regulations and activities adopted for the purpose, they added.
Govt to start drive May 15 to ensure use of jute bags for packaging
The government would launch from May 15 a special drive across the country to ensure mandatory use of jute bags for packaging of 17 commodities including paddy, rice, wheat, maize, fertiliser and sugar. The decision of conducting the special drive was taken in an inter-ministerial meeting held at the conference room of the textiles and jute ministry in the capital Dhaka on Sunday. State minister for textiles and jute Mirza Azam presided over the meeting. Azam said the government enacted the Mandatory Jute Packaging Act in 2010 to boost the use of environment-friendly jute bags for packaging of essential commodities. But, he said, polythene or polypropylene bags are still being used for packaging of the commodities instead of jute bags despite a ban on their use.
Exports of jute goods to India have been affected after New Delhi imposed antidumping duties on the natural fibre-based products from Bangladesh, industry operators said yesterday. India slapped the antidumping duty – ranging between USD 19 and USD 352 a tons — on January 5, following which, shipments from Benapole land port, which handles over 90% of Bangladesh’s jute exports to India, fell in both January and February this year. Year on year, jute goods exports slumped 52% to 6,872 tons in January and 37.0% to 6,155 tons in February, according to data from Beanpole customs. Jute is the third largest export earning sector of Bangladesh, after garments and leather, and India is one of the biggest markets for these goods. India accounted for 17%, or 1.41 lakh tonnes out of 0.8 million tons of jute goods exported in fiscal 2015-16, according to data compiled by the Department of Jute (DoJ). Considering overall exports worth USD 689 million to India, the share of jute and jute goods was 37% in fiscal 2015-16, according to data from the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
The Indian private sector has signed a number of agreements that will result in investment of over US$9.0 billion in Bangladesh. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the growth in trade and investment in the recent years. Meanwhile, another report by bdnews24.com adds: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee offered export of up to 1,000 MW electricity to Bangladesh during her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh is receiving 500MW electricity from West Bengal and 100 MW from Tripura. Another 60 MW will be given from Tripura, according to Indian officials. The two prime ministers directed their respective officials to set up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for Indian companies quickly at the identified locations, according to the joint statement.
Developing special economic zones will be one of the agendas of the new $4.5 billion Indian line of credit to Bangladesh, extended during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s three-day visit to New Delhi. A total of 17 projects have been identified by the two sides for implementation under the line of credit, the third from India. At least three of the projects involve the development of economic zones, a priority for the Bangladesh government as it looks to ramp up private sector investment. Of the total amount of the credit, about $500 million will be used for setting up new economic zones for Indian and other investors, according to officials of the finance ministry and the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority.
Set ceiling for taxfree dividend income at Tk 1 lakh: DSE
The Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday urged the government to increase the ceiling for tax free dividend income to Tk 1 lakh in a bid to attract more investors to the market. At present, the ceiling for tax-free dividend income is Tk 25,000. “If the proposal is taken into consideration, it will help reduce the liquidity crisis of the capital market,” the premier bourse said. It was one of the proposals the bourse placed at a pre-budget meeting with the National Board of Revenue yesterday. However, the DSE placed almost the same proposals last year. Small investors will be benefited if the ceiling is set at Tk 1 lakh as they have suffered a lot due to the market turmoil previously, especially during the debacle in 2011, the DSE said.
Garment shipments to Canada, one of the major export destinations for Bangladeshi manufacturers, dropped 7 percent to $437.78 million in the first half of this fiscal year on the back of lower demand. “The decline is due to global slump in demand for apparel,” said Faruque Hassan, vice-president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Expor-ters Association. In 2015, the demand for apparel items slid 7.8 percent globally and the decline continued in 2016 at the same rate, he said. As a result, Bangladesh’s garment exports to some other major countries declined as well.
Poultry sector cuts poverty, meets nutrition, say experts
Experts said the growing poultry sector has been largely contributing in poverty alleviation and meeting nutritional demand of the population side by side bringing self-reliance to the rural people, reports BSS. They put importance on providing training, technology and assistance to the poultry bird farm owners and common people for accelerating growth of the prospective sector to strengthen national economy. The opinion came at the daylong workshop on ‘Problems in the Poultry Sector and Way-out’ organised by Rangpur Poultry Industry Owners’ Association (RPIOA) at conference room of the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) in the city recently. Rangpur Divisional Deputy Director of the DLS Agriculturist Mahbubur Rahman attended the workshop as the chief guest with President of RPIOA Akbar Hossain in the chair.
Bangladesh has remained an unattractive destination for tourists, with the country coming in at No. 125 in a ranking of 136 countries. The country was the least attractive destination in South Asia for foreign tourists in the 2017 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report, which was released by the World Economic Forum recently. Neighbouring India was ranked 40th, Sri Lanka 64th, Bhutan 78th, Nepal 103rd and Pakistan 124th. Bangladesh’s overall score stood at 2.9 out of 7, which was the same as in the previous edition of the biennial index. In 2015, Bangladesh was ranked 127 out of 141 countries. “Yes, we are lagging behind other Saarc countries because India, the Maldives and Nepal offer better products and services than us,” said Md Rafeuzzaman, first vice-president of the Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh.
The introduction of high-speed 4G mobile services is one step closer to fruition as Ericsson will start trial runs this month in Dhaka and Chittagong. The Swedish telecom equipment maker has already brought in the equipment needed for the test runs, which will be done using a top mobile operator’s network, said Abdus Salam, chief technology officer of Ericsson Bangladesh. The objective of running such trials is to get a better grasp of the technology and to figure out the kinks such that they can be ironed out before commercial deployment.
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