Bangladesh Bank finds macroeconomic outlook impressive: Domestic demand, food bounty, and political peace help
The central bank sees country’s macroeconomic outlook for this fiscal year (FY) “impressive” for some major boosters. Increased domestic demand, prospective food production and a stable political situation helped a great deal in the turnaround, says an account given by the Bangladesh Bank. “If this trend continues, 7.0% economic growth and 6.20% inflation seem quite achievable,” the BB said in its latest quarterly report. According to the Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (BBQ) for October-December 2015, the economy has gained such momentum despite a moderate pace of global economic recovery. A BB senior official said the BB had estimated the GDP growth based on the available data during the first six months of the ongoing FY (2015-16). “We earlier projected the GDP growth at a range from 6.8% to 6.9% for the FY 16,” the central banker said. Later, the BB revised its earlier GDP growth projection considering overall economic activities during the July-December period of the FY16.
Public sector banks, FIs to come under close scrutiny
The government sits tomorrow (Tuesday) for a review of the overall activities of state-owned banks, financial institutions (FIs) and insurance companies, with security concerns in the backdrop. Officials said the recent cyber heist in Bangladesh Bank’s overseas treasury account and rising default loans of banks largely prompted the government to go for such a checkup. The state of security systems in the banks and financial outfits will be high on the agenda, they added. Besides, loan portfolio, especially progress in recovery and disbursement of loans and non-performing loans of the banks will also come up for discussion. The Bank and Financial Institutions Division (BFID) of the Ministry of Finance has convened the meeting against the backdrop of the cyber heist of Bangladesh Bank (BB) reserve in its account with the US Fed, a high official of the BFID said.
Government cuts current budget over 10.0%: Revenue shortfall, slow ADP force trimming
The government has cut down the current national budget over 10.0% to BDT 2.3 trillion as revenue receipts may finally stand far below the mark. Another factor taken into account is slow execution of the annual development program (ADP). A high-level meeting Sunday did the final trimming of the budget for the outgoing financial year (FY), 2015-16, and also drew an outline for the next one with main indicators of the country’s economic health. The tax revenue for the current FY is now feared to come down to BDT 1.5 trillion from the original target of BDT 1.76 trillion. But the government expects to enhance the amount to BDT 1.77 trillion in the next fiscal year, beginning July 2016. The government envisages BDT 2.4 trillion as total tax and non-tax revenue for the next fiscal year, 2016-17. The total budget outlay is estimated at BDT 3.4 trillion, as forecast already. The revision of the current and the revelation of next year’s macro- indicators came at a meeting of the national committee on budget monitoring and resource allocation of the finance division, held Sunday. Finance Minister AMA Muhith presided over the meeting at the finance division.
Robi-Airtel merger may take more time
The landmark merger of Robi and Airtel is going to face a further delay as the government is yet to finalise its recommendations and will seek more time from the High Court today. According to a High Court order, today is the last day for the government to submit its recommendation to the court The Telecom Division sent its recommendation on the merger to the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday and it is now pending with the PMO. The Telecom Division yesterday sent a letter to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and directed it to apply for more time from the High Court. The BTRC will submit its own report today and will seek more time for the government’s report, said Barrister Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib, a lawyer for BTRC. The court will go on vacation later this week, which means the merger is likely to be delayed. The parent companies of Robi and Airtel opened talks on a possible merger at the end of August last year and formally applied to the BTRC later. In February this year, a deal was signed on the merger.
User complaints against telcos treble in recent months
The volume of user complaints about different voice and data services provided by the country’s mobile phone operators has witnessed a threefold rise in the last few months. According to the latest data of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the number of user complaints per month in the September-November period of last year ranged from 75 to 82, which has increased sharply to the range of 240 to 288 in the December-February period. The regulator in June last formed a complaint management taskforce to deal with the issues and submit reports. BTRC officials said most of the user complaints were about various data packages offered by the mobile phone companies.
Real Estate and Housing Association (REHAB) seeks ‘indemnity’ for legalizing undisclosed money
Realtors Sunday urged the government to allow ‘legalizing’ undisclosed money facility with indemnity against their investments in the country’s housing sector for the next 10 years. President of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) Alamgir Shamsul Alamin was speaking at a press conference at a city hotel, where he came up with a number of proposals for the upcoming national budget for fiscal year 2016-17. Replying to a question, he said the sector received the opportunity of legalizing undisclosed money in the previous budget, but the facility remains mostly unutilized because of not having indemnity. He demanded a re-financing system for 30 to 35 years with a single-digit interest to lessen Equated Monthly Installment (EMI). Alamgir said, “The VAT imposed on the real estate sector should not be increased further, rather it should be decreased and no more VAT should be added to it.” He urged five years’ tax at source and supplier VAT exemption for the developers.
World Bank report: Bangladesh a bright spot for off-grid solar firms
Bangladesh is the world’s bright spot for off-grid solar firms as more than 30% people still have no access to the grid electricity, according to a new report of the World Bank. Globally, the off-grid solar market will reach 99m households by 2020, a fourfold increase from 25m today, according to the Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report 2016 released recently. This is the third in a series produced by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program since the young industry’s emergence seven years ago. The report was produced in collaboration with Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Global Off-Grid Lighting Association. The report that provides a comprehensive view of the state of one of the most impactful sectors in the global economy today, said sales will grow at 34% annually to around USD3.1bn in the same time.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$39.97||+0.25||+0.63%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$42.18||+0.24||+0.57%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,576.96||+35||+0.20%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.41*|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.81*|
|EUR 1||BDT 89.44*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.18*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.