BB asks banks to bring down lending rates to single digit
The central bank of Bangladesh has asked the banks to take effective measures to bring down the interest rate on lending to single digit from the existing level as soon as possible. The advice was made at two separate meetings of senior bankers held at the central bank headquarters in Dhaka on Monday with Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Fazle Kabir in the chair. The BB’s high-ups along with Senior Secretary of the Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance Md Eunusur Rahman met managing directors (MDs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) of six state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs) to discuss the issue of latest interest rate on the market, according to meeting sources. They also said the MDs and CEOs of the public banks have been advised to lend their funds at lower interest rates as they hold excess liquidity.
BD eyes settlement in US cyber heist suit ahead of its own case: Hackers breached Bangladesh Bank’s systems in early 2016
An Ecuadorian bank and Wells Fargo have reached an out-of-court settlement over a 2015 cyber heist, providing a possible precedent for the Bangladesh central bank’s planned suit to recover $66 million still lost in one of the world’s biggest such cases. A suit by Ecuador’s Banco del Austro against Wells Fargo & Co was quietly settled in February, less than a month before a trial date was set, and the US district court in Manhattan sealed all discussions, according to court documents. No other major media has reported the settlement.
Revenue Sharing Between Banks and Telcos: Joy resolves tussle in mobile financial service
Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Prime Minister’s ICT affairs adviser, yesterday in a meeting has resolved a longstanding tussle between the mobile financial service providers and mobile operators. The MFS providers use the mobile operator’s Unstructured Supple-mentary Service Data (USSD), which allows banking services from one’s basic feature phone without the need for internet connection, to relay their service. In return, the MFS providers share 7 percent of their earnings with the mobile operators, much to the dissatisfaction of the latter. But now, the MFS providers will have to pay the carriers according to usage. For each 90-second session Tk 0.85 will be charged provided a successful transaction had taken place. Customers will get two text messages, the cost for which will be bundled within the Tk 0.85 charge. For other non-transactional services such as checking balance, the MFS providers will have to pay Tk 0.40, which they did not previously. At present, the MFS providers charge the customers 1.8 percent of the amount as transaction fee.
Eastern Bank, DEG deepen collaboration in financing
Eastern Bank and Germany’s development finance institution DEG have entered into an initial agreement to intensify collaboration in the fields of SME, corporate and infrastructure financing in Bangladesh. EBL Chief Executive Officer Ali Reza Iftekhar and DEG CEO Bruno Wenn signed the memorandum of understanding at a hotel in Dhaka yesterday. In a statement, Iftekhar said, “It’s a privilege working with the DEG over last decade and developing financial solutions for Bangladesh market.” “We look forward to closely working with the DEG in the coming days to contribute meaningfully to Bangladesh’s journey to a developing country.”
Financial literacy changes lives of rural women
Just a year ago Razia Sultana doubted her ability to start a business to supplement the income of her family in Comilla’s Mainamoti. But a daylong training and a small loan from non-government development organisation BURO Bangladesh helped her overcome shyness and inspired her to do much more than just household chores. Among the women who took the training on business risk management and other issues, at least 15 have become entrepreneurs. “We want to continue this programme so that rural women become successful entrepreneurs by analysing risks of businesses,” said Zakir Hossain, executive director of BURO Bangladesh. He said they provided financial and non-financial services to 1.6 million families across the country. Apart from its own programme, BURO Bangladesh has partnered with the corporate social responsibility activities of MasterCard Worldwide to provide training to 150,000 such female entrepreneurs in four phases since 2013. “We want to involve rural women in business activities so that the economy can go ahead at a fast pace,” said Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of MasterCard Bangladesh.
Insurance company directors fail to meet minimum shareholding requirement
A total of 142 directors including sponsor directors of 40 listed insurance companies do not hold a minimum 2% share in their own companies. They are holding their positions in violation of a 2011 Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) directive. According to the rule, each director must hold 2% shares of the company’s total paid-up capital.
No new companies qualifies for DSEX
None of the newly listed companies could fulfil the required criteria for being included in the broad index of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) during the period from December last year to February this year. Through supervision by its index committee, the premier bourse includes companies to its broad index, DSEX, every three months in accordance with the DSE Bangladesh Index Methodology, designed by S&P Dow Jones Indices. The revised DSEX is supposed to be effective from April 22 next. But the DSE found no new listed company that fulfilled the criteria.
NBR may trim tax revenue collection target by Tk 300b
The aggregate tax revenue collection target may be trimmed by up to Tk 300 billion in the current fiscal year (FY) following a large amount of shortfall of the ambitious target, said the revenue board chief Monday. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan made the comment at Haalkhata Utsob in the LTU (income tax) arranged on occasion of celebrating beginning of the Bangla New Year 1425. The NBR faced a shortfall worth Tk 230 billion until March, 2018 for the FY. The aggregate target for tax revenue collection has been set at Tk 2.48 trillion for the FY 2017-18. Mr Bhuiyan said the revenue collection needs more than 40 per cent growth over the corresponding year’s collection to achieve the target. He said the NBR collected Tk 4.03 billion income tax in the Halkhata festival. It may get another Tk 3.0 billion as VAT during the festival, he said.
JICA for integrated port planning to meet demand
Consultants of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) presented five technical papers in a workshop on its preparatory survey on Matarbari deep seaport development on Monday. JICA survey team leader Takashi Shimada, in his paper on project outline of Matarbari port development, opined that an integrated port planning, involving Mongla Port, Payra Port, Chittagong Port and Matarbari Port, is necessary to meet the country’s future demand. Later, with the development of Matarbari deep seaport, a development plan for the entire Moheshkhali area must be considered, he added. Besides him, Masaaki Goshima delivered a paper on port facility plan, Hiroshi Otani on construction plan, Takahiro Suzuki on navigation safety and security, and Mr Sato on operation and management of the deep seaport. Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Commodore Zulfiqur Aziz, in his speech, said development of a modern deep seaport is very much essential to facilitate anchorage of modern containerized vessels, major bulk cargo vessels and oil tankers. It is also needed to ease pressure on Chittagong Port, meet the country’s growing export-import, and support cargo traffic from Matarbari industrial zone, he also said.
IMED opposes BBA’s plea for addl fund to acquire more land
The Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) has opposed a demand coming from the Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA) for allocating a substantial amount of additional fund under the Padma Bridge project. The fund is proposed to be used for acquiring an extensive land area for disposing of river-bed spoils, officials said on Monday. The IMED of the Planning Commission (PC) has opposed the BBA’s proposal for acquisition of 1,167.98 hectares of land at an estimated cost of Tk 14 billion. The amount sought is in addition to the allocation made earlier for the same work. An IMED team, after visiting the Padma Bridge project site, has recommended acquisition of only 9.35 hectares additional land on the Mawa side instead of BBA-demanded 1,167.98 hectares of land, insiders said. The BBA, the Padma Bridge project executing agency, a few months back sought Tk 14 billion extra funds for acquiring the additional land in Munshiganj, Shariatpur and Madaripur areas. The government had allocated Tk 12.98 billion funds for acquiring 1,530.54 hectares of land for the same purpose.
Govt moves to formulate act to promote jute pulp paper
The government is considering formulating a Jute Pulp Paper Act, aiming to bring back the past glory of golden fibre. The move came following requests from businesses and trade bodies. Earlier, the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) called on the government to formulate such an act considering the prospects of pulp paper in the country’s economy. “We are carrying out a research on jute and, hopefully, it will be completed by September. Then we will send its report and our proposal for the Jute Pulp Paper Act to the ministry of textiles and jute (MoTJ) for consideration,” DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan told the FE. If the act is put in place, it will help create captive markets, benefiting small and medium entrepreneurs in the country, he said.
Idcol to help develop market for improved cooking stoves
Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Idcol) now plans to help develop a sustainable market for adoption of improved cooking stoves in Bangladesh after it successfully installed one million burners two years ahead of schedule. The Idcol’s ICS Programme was initiated in 2013 with the aim of installing 1 million stoves by December 2018. The state-owned financial institution achieved the target in January 2017, and more than 1.48 million improved cook stoves were disseminated among the rural households till February 2018. The next phase of the programme is aimed at supporting a sustainable market for adoption of ICS, reducing greenhouse gas emission and indoor air pollution (IAP) by way of cutting usage of cooking fuel, said Rasel Ahmed, assistant manager (renewable energy programme) of Idcol.
Lift all VAT, SD, surcharge on internet: Mobile companies urge NBR
Cell phone operators have called for exempting internet usage from all value added tax (VAT), supplementary duty (SD) and surcharge in the upcoming budget, noting that such move would help increase internet penetration in the country. Exempting the internet usage from such taxation would help increase data penetration, which would ultimately help boost the national economy, they said during a pre-budget meeting with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in the capital on Monday. Without increased data penetration, the newly-introduced 4G service has no future in the country, they also opined.
BPO summit ends with call for a wider local market
The third BPO Summit wrapped up yesterday with a call on the government and local financial institutions to open up their back offices for outsourcing as it would accelerate digitisation. Leaders of the Bangladesh Association of Call Centre and Outsourcing (BACCO), which organised the two-day summit at the capital’s Sonargaon Hotel, said they mostly support multinational companies, including some global banks. But the local institutions have shut their doors to the BPO industry, they said. Take the case of Atom AP, a Japan-Bangladesh joint venture ICT company that serves foreign banks like the Bank of Yokohama and Nomura.
Government fetches BDT. 164 billion in taxes from BATB in 2017
The British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) that recorded an impressive 23.3% (BDT. 38.51 billion) business growth in 2017 calendar year paid BDT. 164.27 billion in taxes to the national exchequer. The BATB in its annual report for the year 2017 said ‘progressive price and tax policy’ of the government did contribute to the growth of both business and consequent tax revenue in 2017. The gross turnover amounting to BDT. 204.14 billion was driven by mix improvement and price increase in the low segment. The company maintained its status as the largest taxpayer in 2017 also. It paid to the national exchequer BDT. 154.64 billion in valued added tax (VAT), supplementary duty (SD) and health development surcharge (HDS), BDT.7.0 billion in income tax and BDT. 2.62 billion in customs duty. The BATB alone contributed 74% of VAT, SD and HDSC collected from the cigarette industry in 2017. The company also exported tobacco worth BDT. 2.19 billion during the year under review. It earned a net profit of BDT. 7.82 billion and the earning per share (EPS) was estimated at BDT. 130.50 as against face value of each share at BDT.10 only. The company paid a cash dividend of BDT.60 (600%) per share to its shareholders. The report said despite growth in sales of top segments of cigarettes, the overall industry volume in 2017 declined by 4.4% mainly due to decline in low-segment consumption. An upsurge in illegal brands was blamed for the decline.
Salvo Chemical to produce liquid glucose
Salvo Chemical Industry has decided to ‘restructure’ its extended project for ‘Zinc Sulphate Plant’ to produce ‘Liquid Glucose’ product. The company changed its plan to produce Zinc Sulphate because the plant couldn’t come to a cost-effective position and unsuccessful trail production. It also said the existing plant and machinery of Zinc Sulphate shall be shifted, modified, added new machinery and be assembled to set-up a plant for producing ‘Liquid Glucose’. However, the management of the company assumes that the expected project will be completed within 2 to 3 months and the production capacity will be 28 metric tonnes per day. The product ‘Liquid Glucose’ is used as a raw material for food industry & pharmaceuticals industry. Salvo Chemical Industry, presently a ‘B’ category company, was listed with the stock exchanges in 2011. The company’s sponsor-directors hold 22.14% shares while institutions 12.16% and general public 65.70%.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 66.52||↑0.30||↑0.45%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 71.68||↑0.26||↑0.36%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,345.10||↓0.83||↓0.06%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.54|
|GBP 1||BDT 119.77|
|EUR 1||BDT 103.44|
|INR 1||BDT 1.28|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.