Submit action plans to bring down ADR limit: Bangladesh Bank asks banks
The central bank has asked the banks to submit their specific action plans to its department concerned by April 30 to help bring down the advance-deposit ratio (ADR) limit at required level, officials said. The banks, having the ADR above re-fixed limit, will have to submit monthly progress reports to the Department of Off-site Supervision (DOS) within 10 working days each month, according to a notification issued by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Monday. “We’ll monitor the progress reports regularly to know about the ADR trend in the banks concerned,” a BB senior official told the FE while explaining the objective of the notification. He also said the banks will have to implement the asset-liability management (ALM) guidelines strictly to manage their liquidity risk properly. As per the notification, the banks having over ADR limit will have to avoid sanctioning fresh loans without complying with other prime indicators of the ALM guidelines. The prime indicators include liquidity coverage ratio (LCR), net stable funding ratio (NSFR) and wholesale borrowing limit, commitment limit and swapped fund limit funding, according to the central banker. “Actually, all scheduled banks will have to comply with all key indicators under the ALM guidelines before sanctioning any fresh loans,” the central banker noted. Besides, the central bank extended the deadline by three more months to implement the revised limit of ADR by the banks. Under the extended timeframe, the banks having ADR above re-fixed limit are allowed to implement the revised limit of ADR by March 31, 2019 instead of December 31, 2018. The decision was taken at a tripartite meeting among the Ministry of Finance, BB and Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) in the city on April 01 to mitigate the present liquidity crunch in the banking system.
‘Deteriorating Health’ of Banking Sector: It’s a big worry for economy: WB
The deteriorating health of banking sector has become a major concern for the economy, the World Bank said yesterday. The multilateral lender came up with the observation at the launch of its April issue of the Bangladesh Development Update. The report, published twice a year, cited large nonperforming loans (NPL) in both state-owned and private banks, continued recapitalisation of state-owned banks, poor risk management practices, and corruption as some of the causes behind the ailing health of the sector. “Little actions were taken to penalise defaulters, improve risk management and strengthen bank management,” Zahid Hussain, lead economist of the WB in Dhaka, said presenting the report at the WB office. “From risk management point of view, situation in the banking sector is a matter of big concern,” he said. Despite some push from the Bangladesh Bank, asset quality and governance has not improved. State-owned banks performed poorly with large NPLs, bad governance and continued recapitalisation, according to the report.
NBR seeks explanation from Agrani
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has issued a show cause notice on Agrani Bank following the state-owned bank’s failure to pay value added tax (VAT) and excise duty worth Tk 400 million to it (NBR). The large taxpayers unit (LTU) under the VAT wing of the NBR sent a letter Sunday addressing the managing director (MD) of the bank seeking explanation from him within next fifteen days for non-payment of the revenue to the public exchequer. In the letter, LTU commissioner Matiur Rahman said legal process will be initiated if reply to the show-cause notice is not received within the given time-frame. Talking to the FE, Md Bodrujjaman Munshi, deputy commissioner of LTU VAT, said the unit detected the non-payment of VAT by scrutinising the financial statement of the bank between December 2017 and January 2018.
PKB manages Tk 4b paid-up capital to be scheduled bank
Probashi Kallyan Bank (PKB) has finally mobilised the entire amount of fund for meeting the paid-up capital requirement to convert it into a commercial bank, sources said. Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) handed over Tk 1.0 billion on Monday. The amount has helped PKB to manage a total amount of Tk 4.0 billion, which is the required paid-up capital for a scheduled bank, they also said. With this Tk 1.0 billion, the contribution of WEWB to the specialised bank has stood at Tk 3.80 billion. Finance Division gave only Tk 200 million to the bank to raise its paid-up capital. “We have received the remaining amount of the paid-up capital from WEWB,” said Badre Munir Firdaus, deputy managing director (DMD) of PKB. PKB will send a letter to Bangladesh Bank today (Tuesday) to take necessary steps to transform it into a commercial bank, he mentioned. Within a short period of time, PKB will be converted into a scheduled bank, as it has met the required fund criterion, he also hoped.
DSE not required to pay for licensing
The technical offer of Chinese consortium includes 10-year licensing for use of SZSE (Shenzhen Stock Exchange) trading system application software by Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE). The cost of such trading system improvement service will stand at $9.0 million, out of a total offer worth $37 million. But the DSE will not be required to pay for total offer of Chinese consortium, according to market insiders.
Impose additional taxes on cash dividends exceeding 200%
The Institute of Cost and Management Accountants of Bangladesh on Monday proposed that the National Board of Revenue should impose additional taxes on cash dividends exceeding 200% by the companies with a view to check capital flight in the form of dividends. At present, many of the multinational companies declare cash dividends ranging from 300-750%, resulting in capital flight from the country, said ICMAB executive director. He said that imposition of such tax would encourage companies, including listed and non-listed MNCs, to offer stock dividends and thus resulting in retention of investments in the country for a longer period of time.
World Bank (WB) to provide loan of USD 515 million for two projects
The World Bank is set to provide a loan of USD 515 million financial assistance for two projects in the power transmission and insurance sectors in the country. Out of the total amount, the World Bank will provide USD 450 million for Enhancement and Strengthening of Power Transmission Network in Eastern Region Project. The project will expand the electricity transmission network in the eastern region, covering greater Cumilla, Noakhali and part of greater Chattogram. The project will also expand the existing grid network by building 13 new substations and rehabilitating an existing one. It will provide new electricity connections to some 275,000 households and 16,000 agricultural consumers and reduce power interruptions. It will also construct 290 kilometre and rehabilitate 157 kilometre of the existing transmission lines. The project will enhance transmission capacity, ensure efficient evacuation of power, and improve grid operations. The World Bank board approved the project on March 29, 2018. The Washington-based lending agency will also provide USD 65 million for Bangladesh Insurance Sector Development Project which will improve capacity of the state owned insurance corporations.
Graduation from LDC very important milestone: WB
Terming Bangladesh’s eligibility to graduate from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) group an important milestone, World Bank (WB) country director Qimiao Fan yesterday said the country needs for taking actions to address some emerging challenges like fiscal deficit, raising the tax-GDP ratio and boosting investment in infrastructures and human development, reports BSS. “The graduation is actually a very important milestone,” Fan said while speaking at a programme arranged to release the ‘Bangladesh Development Update: Building on resilience’ here. “I think Bangladesh needs more measures to increase the domestic revenue mobilisation in this regard. I’m quite happy to see the NBR (National Board of Revenue) launching the process for preparing a medium-term revenue strategy which I think a very positive step,” he added. The WB country director said Bangladesh continues a strong development trajectory with growth in between 6-7 percent over the last couple of years, which is a strong growth. He said the strong growth has benefitted from the strengthening garment exports as well as recovering remittances. “The economy has continued to grow quite robustly and I think this continued sustained growth in Bangladesh in the last couple of decades and certainly in the last few years. It’s also very well recognised in the recent UN recognition that the country is eligible to graduate from the LDC status,” he said. Fan stressed undertaking significant reforms, attracting more women in the labour market, wooing more investment through further improving the business environment, streamlining regulatory framework in infrastructure project management particularly in the public sector, and continuing the country’s achievement in reducing poverty particularly extreme poverty.
Economy to grow at 6.5pc in this fiscal, says WB
The World Bank has expressed its doubt over the Bangladesh’s 7.65 per cent economic growth projection for the current fiscal year (FY) raising questions about data accuracy. “The robust growth projection for the current fiscal is doubtful as some government statistics doesn’t match with it (projection),” said the bank’s lead economist in Dhaka Zahid Hussain. He made the remarks while presenting the “Bangladesh Development Update” Monday in Dhaka. Mr Hussain questioned a series of government data such as higher manufacturing growth, lower service sector growth compared to its higher job creation, higher growth amid lower labour income and remittance inflow, production capacity of the industrial sector, and almost stagnant investments. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the state statistical agency, has recently said that Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow at 7.65 per cent rate in the current financial year 2017-18, which is even higher than its 7.5 per cent target. In contrast, the Washington-based lender said that Bangladesh’s GDP growth is expected to grow at 6.5 per cent rate in the current FY2018.
Budget to ‘rationalise’ rate, cut layers
The budget for the upcoming fiscal year, 2018-19, would explore ways for ‘rationalising’ the existing corporate tax rate in the country, Finance Minister A M A Muhith said in the capital on Monday. “The current corporate tax rate in Bangladesh is quite high, and there are many layers depending on types (of the corporate entities),” he said after a pre-budget meeting with the editors of top newspapers. “However, we are planning to rationalise this high corporate tax rate as well as to reduce the number of layers.” “We will bring down the number of corporate tax layers to two,” the finance minister further said. The meeting also decided that the government would think of imposing tax on advertisements provided on Facebook and Google (from the country), he added. In addition, the meeting also decided to reduce the existing tax and VAT (value added tax) on newsprint and to introduce landing fee on Indian channels aired in Bangladesh.
Iraq keen to import RMG from BD
Iraqi apparel traders are interested in importing garment products from Bangladesh mainly because of quality, Bangladesh Ambassador to Iraq Abu Maqsoud M Farhad said on Monday. “Though Iraq imports apparel from Turkey and China, Iraqi people and high officials are positive about the quality of Bangladesh-made apparel. And they are willing to buy Bangladeshi RMG products,” he said at a meeting with President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Md Siddiqur Rahman. BGMEA vice-president Mohammed Nasir was also present at the meeting held at its headquarters in the city. Mr Farhad stressed the need for developing business relations with Iraq to explore opportunities there. The BGMEA will take necessary measures in creating and exploring the market in Iraq, Mr Rahman said.
Analyst shows ways to cut Indo-Bangla trade gap
India should source at least 5 percent of its $400 billion worth of annual imports from Bangladesh to narrow down the ever-swelling bilateral trade gap between the two countries, said a trade analyst yesterday. Bangladesh is no longer an aid-dependent nation, but a trading one, which indicates that the country has the competitiveness to meet the global demand for goods, said Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue. Even 10 to 15 years ago, Bangladesh’s aid versus trade ratio was 1:1 but now it has become 1:15, Rahman said. He spoke at the “bilateral conclave on India-Bangladesh relations, deepening cooperation and the way forward” at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka. The Institute for Policy, Advocacy and Governance organised the discussion. Amit Datta Roy, senior research fellow at the institute, moderated the event.
60 metres of metro rail to be visible this month
A partial structure of the highly anticipated metro rail system for Dhaka city is set to become visible this month with the erection of two viaducts at Dia Bari in Uttara, the starting point for the system. Viaduct is a series of spans or arches used to carry a road or railroad over a wide valley or over other roads or railroads. With the installment of the two viaducts, 60 metres of the 20.1-kilometre-long metro rail will become visible. The metro rail’s end point would be Motijheel. “All the works are going on in full swing,” said MAN Siddique, managing director of Dhaka Mass Transit Company.
Creating employment for youths key to sustainable development
Experts at a dialogue on Monday laid emphasis on creating employment for young generation in order to achieve sustainable growth and development. They also called for protection of workers’ rights, expansion of social security for working people and developing a coping mechanism for addressing the challenges of automation at work. The Economic Relations Division (ERD) organised the dialogue on ‘Inclusive growth and decent work’ with support from the UNDP-funded Knowledge for Development Management (K4DM) Project. Monowar Ahmed, Additional Secretary of ERD, chaired the session. Speaking at the dialogue, Dr Khondoker Golam Moazzem, Research Director of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), suggested addressing the issue of emerging labour standards in the context of graduation from LDC and sustainable development goals (SDGs), as Bangladesh has to comply with the global labour standards now in addition to the national standard.
Desktops still popular among internet users
Smartphones have made it a lot easier to access the internet, but a digital company found that desktops are still the first choice for a third of its customers across Bangladesh. In November 2017, Wizards Ad Network conducted a study on 86.19 lakh customers, of them 28 percent preferred using desktops. The figure was 30.52 percent in a similar study carried out on 66.45 lakh internet users in November 2016, the company said. However, the number of desktop users—who are mainly heavy internet users—is declining, said Imtiaz Ahmed, lead of operations of the company which mainly uses these data for commercial purposes like digital marketing campaigns and advertisements. Over 52 percent or around 45 lakh were found to be using mobile phones to access internet in 2017, which was 46.52 percent a year ago, he said. About 20.16 percent of the devices being used were tablet, phablets, smart televisions, portable media players and some other non-branded smartphones last year, Ahmed said. The company runs such studies from time to time to make digital contents more customers specific, a new trend for the country, he said.
Building trust among retail consumers
Cyberspace has changed the way consumers have been interacting with brands over the last couple of years. The power of influence has clearly shifted onto consumers. This has prompted brands to increase engagement with their consumers to understand more about their needs and, in turn, become more responsive. However, consumers want brands to do more; they want them to become more authentic, to own up to their mistakes and even to take a stand on social and political issues. Thus, today, winning consumers’ trust has become more aligned to the business success of a brand.
Relaunch of British Business Group
The British Business Group (BBG), Bangladesh has formally been relaunched at an event at the residence of the British High Commissioner in Dhaka, reports UNB. “For over 13 years the BBG has been a strong partner in Bangladesh for the British Government and a responsible and respected voice within the business community,” British High Commissioner Alison Blake said in a message on Monday. On Sunday evening, Alison Blake introduced the seven members of the new Board of Trustees of the BBG to government and business stakeholders from across Bangladesh. The newly elected Chairman of the BBG, Francois de Maricourt, Chief Executive Officer of the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in Bangladesh since 2014, spoke of his vision for the British Business Group and its future role. BBG’s primary focus will be striving to improve the business environment for British companies that operate in Bangladesh.
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