BB probe finds informal channels major reason of remittance inflow fall
Bangladesh Bank (BB) investigation teams have identified informal channels, including mobile banking, as the major reasons for downward trend in country’s remittance inflow, reports BSS. “Non-Residence Bangladeshis (NRBs) are using informal channels for sending their money home due to various reasons, including easy procedures and no procedural cost,” a BB official told the agency on Tuesday. “I think, mobile banking alone is 50 percent responsible for the remittance falling trend,” he added. Mentioning the anti-money laundering activities in different countries as a reason to choose the informal channels, he said illegal workers cannot send their money through the formal channel. As the falling trend of the inflow of remittances is becoming a matter of concern for the country, two teams of experts of BB went to Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia in March to find out the reasons behind the declining trend of remittances.
BB asks banks to repatriate export proceeds on time
Bangladesh Bank asked commercial banks to take necessary measures to accelerate repatriation of their export proceeds to help meet the growing demand of foreign exchanges in the market. Foreign Exchange Policy Department of Bangladesh Bank issued a circular on Tuesday to the authorized dealers of the banks. The central bank directed the banks to comply strictly with regulatory instructions about executing export transactions to realise export proceeds within the prescribed four months period. According to the circular, the permissible period for repatriation of export proceeds against exports to Export Processing Zones and Economic Zones through land routes would be countable from the date of on-board land transport specified in transport receipt.
The rising non-performing loans (NPLs) and excess liquidity have become major areas of concern for the country’s banking sector. Besides, the number of large loans is also on the rise while the amount of credit received by small and medium enterprises has declined. The revelations were made on Tuesday by speakers at a workshop on ‘review of credit activities in 2016’. The workshop was organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) at its auditorium in the city. Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hasan was present on the occasion as the chief guest. BIBM Director Dr. Prashanta Kumar Banerjee presented the keynote paper at the workshop with BIBM Director General Dr. Toufic Ahmad Choudhury in the chair.
Private banks have now turned their focus on bringing down their cost of funds to get a competitive edge over peers in the saturated market, bankers said. Of the 39 private banks, most have taken different measures to increase the contribution from non-term deposits like current and savings account (CASA) to their deposits. A CASA, which combines savings and checking accounts into one, operates like a normal bank account in which funds may be utilised at any time. Because of the flexibility, a CASA has a lower interest rate than a term deposit as the bank does not have a guarantee all the funds are available to loan for a specific period of time. Typically, interest is accrued on monthly average balance and applied at each quarter-end on such accounts. And the interest rate tends to be between 2 percent and 4 percent.
The banking sector needs a central database of collateral as there is a tendency among borrowers to take multiple loans against a single asset, in a violation of rules. A collateral profile of clients is not maintained, which leads to higher default loans, speakers said at a discussion styled ‘Credit Operations of Banks’ yesterday at the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management in Dhaka. A Management Information System (MIS) for collateral profiles is being maintained by only 40 percent of state owned commercial banks and 59 percent private commercial banks, according to a paper presented at the workshop. Only the foreign commercial banks fully maintain a collateral profile, according to the paper — Credit Operations of Banks 2016 — presented by Prashanta Kumar Banerjee, professor and director of BIBM. A unified collateral database will easily show the mortgaged assets before giving loans, said Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, a veteran banker and supernumerary professor of BIBM.
EPZ, EZ cos must repatriate earnings to B’desh within 4 months: BB
Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday said the industries located in the country’s export processing and economic zones would also have to repatriate to the country their earnings from their exports through land routes within four months of shipment. The BB issued a circular to authorised dealer branches of all banks asking them to follow the directive to repatriate the export earnings in line with the Guidelines for Foreign Exchange Transactions-2009. The guidelines also asked the banks to repatriate the export earnings within four months from the date of shipment through air and water ways. A BB official told New Age on Tuesday that the guidelines mention no timeframe for repatriation of the proceeds of exports through land routes.
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), which regulates the country’s 77 insurers, is being run with only 63 employees — and all of them are temporary staff members. Though the government has approved an organogram for the IDRA in 2016 — six years after the law was passed in March 2010 — the organisation is yet to hire anyone in the absence of required rules and regulations. “We are in the final stage of formulating the rules and regulations,” said Gokul Chand Das, chairman, current charge, of the IDRA. The finance ministry is yet to decide on the fate of the existing employees, he said, adding that all of them are working on a temporary basis. Though the IDRA has recommended absorbing all the current employees into the new organogram, the finance ministry is opposed to the idea on the ground that the public administration rules do not support it. The uncertainty about their future has left all the existing employees jittery.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved six new and two revised projects worth Tk 3,289.43 crore. The approval came at an Ecnec meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the auditorium of the National Economic Council in Dhaka. Of the total project cost, Tk 2,412.44 crore will come from the national exchequer, Tk 34.59 crore from the own funds of the respective organisations and Tk 842.40 crore from project assistance, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said. Three of the projects were taken to widen the regional highways at Khulna, Comilla and Rangpur zones at a cost of Tk 1,674 crore, he said.
The government spent 45 per cent of its annual development programme (ADP) funds until the third quarter (Q3) of the current fiscal, leaving 55 per cent for three months. Such limited rate of implementation of development projects prompted experts to raise questions about executing agencies’ capacity. However, an official account revealed Tuesday showed the execution rate one percentage point higher than that in the corresponding period of last financial year (FY), 2015-16. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the government ministries and agencies spent Tk 538.64 billion out of the total revised ADP outlay of Tk 1.19 trillion during July-March period of FY2016-2017. In the same period of the last fiscal, they had spent Tk 419.75 billion, 44.70 per cent of the Tk 770 billion outlay in the development budget, Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) of the Planning Commission data showed.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has proposed to invest in a couple of South Asia companies, according to separate disclosures of IFC. These include Bangladesh-based Bengal Hotels and Resorts Ltd and Nepal-based Himalayan Chain Resort Pvt Ltd, according to a report by www.dealstreetasia.com. The IFC is the private lending arm of the World Bank Group. IFC will invest up to $18 million loan and would mobilise another $18 million from a development finance institution (DFI) to fund the construction of a hotel project by the Bengal Hotels and Resorts Ltd (BHRL), part of Bengal Group.
The government of Bangladesh welcomes investments and cooperation in the field of fisheries and livestock from Sarawak, reports the borneopost.com. Bangladesh’s Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Muhammed Sayedul Hoque mentioned this after meeting a trade mission delegation from the state here on Sunday. He said his country is the fourth largest inland freshwater producer in the world, and it also exports beef to other countries. “Bangladesh government is ready to cooperate with you, to help. We welcome you to work together with Bangladesh,” he said. The delegation’s honourary leader Assistant Minister for Agriculture Malcolm Mussen Lamoh had earlier told the meeting about Sarawak’s interest in the field of aquaculture.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam Tuesday urged the French entrepreneurs to invest more in Bangladesh as an investment friendly environment is prevailing in the country. “BIDA is providing different investment related services, including policy, registration and infrastructure, for the both local and foreign investors,” he said while meeting with French ambassador in Dhaka Sophie Aubert at BIDA headquarters in Dhaka. He also assured the ambassador to provide all sorts of supports to the French investors for making easy their investment procedures.
Tax payment to be made mandatory for owners of buildings in city
Anyone who owns a building in the capital would be served with tax notices as part of the government’s strategy to increase the number of taxpayers to 10 million by 2019, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Monday. About 2.8 million people out of the total 160 million have tax identification numbers and only 1.1 million of them pay tax. He, however, did not propose any timeline to serve the notices. “There should be at least 10 million taxpayers,” he told reporters, following his pre-budget meeting with the chairmen of a number of parliamentary standing committees at the state guest house Padma in the capital.
NBR to celebrate Pahela Boishakh with ‘Halkhata Utsob’
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will organise ‘Halkhata Utsob’ in the tax offices across the country to celebrate the Pahela Boishakh-1424. It will observe the day with a slogan ‘Receiving arrear tax, not collection” to motivate the taxpayers in paying due taxes. NBR Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman invited all the taxpayers, stakeholders, businessmen and members of civil societies to join the programme. The income tax, customs and VAT offices have taken preparation to celebrate ‘Chaitra Shankantri’ on the open spaces with decorated welcome gates and offices. They will entertain the guests with locally made sweets and show them TVCs on VAT, customs and income tax.
Bangladesh’s export to the UK will not suffer any adverse effect of Brexit, the British government has assured Finance Minister AMA Muhith. The assurance came from Lord Bates, the state minister for international development for the UK, who is visiting Bangladesh. Lord Bates met with Muhith at his Economic Relations Division office yesterday. After the meeting the finance minister told reporters that Lord Bates informed him that there was no possibility of any negative impact of Brexit on export from Bangladesh. “I think the export of Bangladeshi goods to the UK will increase,” Muhith said. The finance minister said he presented some problems to the UK minister, with one of them being the declining British assistance. Muhith said Lord Bates told him that the reason for the declining British aid was that Bangladesh was doing well on its own.
B’desh RMG industry turning into ‘one of the safest’ in world: Alliance
Alliance for Bangladesh Workers Safety, the platform of North American retailers, on Tuesday observed that Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector was becoming safest in the world from being in one of the worst conditions. Rana Plaza collapse on April 24, 2013 would remain one of the darkest days in the history of Bangladesh, but the country made significant changes to ensure that RMG workers would never again risk their lives just by going to work, the country director of the Alliance Jim Moriarty said at a quarterly press conference at Lakeshore Hotel in the city. ‘… we’re witnessing a transformation of Bangladesh’s garment industry from one of the most dangerous in the world, to one of the safest,’ he said. Moriarty said that the Alliance was committed to improve safety at its supplier factories and 73 per cent of all required repairs across active factories have been completed and this includes 64 per cent of all high priority repairs.
BTRC allowed 15 pc revenue share with mobile operators
The government has given approval to a proposal of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for 15 percent revenue sharing with the operators from Fourth Generation (4G) services. BTRC has sent its proposed licensing guideline for 4G services for final approval recently, official at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication said. At present, the mobile operators are sharing 5.5 percent of their gross revenue from 2G and 3G services with the BTRC, in addition to 1 percent as contribution to the Social Obligation Fund. Earlier this month, BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told the media that they had proposed Tk 15 crore as licence fees for 15 years and another Tk 7.5 crore as annual fees.
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