Four companies launch int’l remittance receiving service
MasterCard, Western Union, bKash, one of the world’s leading mobile financial service (MFS) providers and BRAC Bank Sunday launched a unique, international remittance receiving service in Bangladesh. The new service enables bKash’s registered customers to use their mobile phones to receive remittances from abroad directly into their bKash accounts. Bangladesh is the eighth largest receiver of international remittances in the world, and therefore the new service stands to improve the ease and security with which millions of people are able to receive money from their loved ones abroad – a vital lifeline for many families. The new service builds on the unprecedented success of bKash, which has attracted more than 22 million customers since its launch in 2011. Now people around the world can use Western Union’s trusted global network for sending cross-border remittances that can be received by bKash customers. Western Union’s network includes an unparalleled 500,000 agent locations in over 200 countries and territories as well as digital channels such as WU.com and bank account based transfers.
Regulator seeks to shut Facebook pages on market speculation
The stockmarket regulator has urged Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to shut 116 Facebook pages that give advice on investment and are being used to spread information on listed companies. However, BTRC may not be able to block those Facebook pages as the social networking site is not under its control, said an official. Although it is prohibited by securities rules, numerous Facebook accounts are engaged in spreading rumours and false and baseless information that often mislead the general investors, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission said. No person is allowed to induce, dissuade, effect, prevent or in any manner influence or turn to his or her advantage the sale or purchase of any security, directly or indirectly, according to securities rules. But the Facebook accounts, which are opened with fake identities, predict market trends and disclose price sensitive information such as dividends, and quarterly- and half-yearly earnings. One can find hundreds of such accounts at every search using keywords such as stock, DSE, CSE, investor, share, bull or bear. Thousands of investors are linked to these accounts, and willingly or unwillingly, follow the easy-to-get advice posted there.
Businesses for raising tax-free ceiling, rates cut
Top business leaders of the country proposed Sunday that the government raise the tax-free ceiling for individual taxpayers and lower the high rates of the tax in the budget for fiscal 2016-17. They also sought a cut in corporate tax and tax waiver on income of the chamber bodies. Leaders of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), Bangladesh Chamber of Industries (BCI) and Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) made the proposals in three separate pre-budget meetings with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on its premises. Senior Secretary of the Internal Resources Division (IRD) and NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman chaired the series meetings on budget modalities. DCCI president Hossain Khaled proposed raising the tax ceiling for individual taxpayers to BDT 350,000 from the existing threshold amount of BDT 250,000 in keeping with the present context. Both MCCI and BCI pleaded for raising the threshold to BDT 300,000. The DCCI president said the income tax rate for individual taxpayers should be fixed within the range of 5.0% to 20.0% instead of the existing 10.0% to 30.0%.
BPC, Indian corporation sign MoU on LPG plant today
Two more major projects are now coming up to meet the growing energy need in Bangladesh by setting up the country’s largest ever LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) plant and also the second unit of the Eastern Refinery in Chittagong, reports BSS. To this effect, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) in the city today (Monday). The other deal would be inked between the BPC and the Indian firm Engineers India Limited (EIL) on April 19 to appoint consultants for implementation of the second unit of the ERL. State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid and Indian State Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan are expected to witness the MoU signing ceremony today. As per Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s instruction, the ministry has undertaken a plan to set up the second unit of ERL to ensure fuel and energy security in the country, the official said. According to the project detail, the IOCL would conduct the feasibility study for setting up the plant. The concerned ministry is expected to appoint the PMC (Project Management Consultant) for the second unit to install the ERL by 2018 for boosting the country’s refinery sector.
Oil price cut awaits PMO seal
A government gazette lowering the prices of diesel, petrol, octane and kerosene is expected anytime too soon as, officials said, the adjustment proposal now awaits final approval. The extent of fuel-price cuts could be BDT 15-20 per litre, said a senior energy official. A proposal on the price adjustments has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office by the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR). Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also in charge of this ministry. Officials said the government has decided to slash the domestic prices of diesel, petrol, octane and kerosene after the cut in the price of furnace oil following the downward rally of oil prices in the international market. A couple of weeks ago, the government had cut the domestic price of furnace oil, which is mainly used in power plants for electricity generation. The MPEMR slashed the price of furnace oil by 30% to BDT 42 per litre from its previous price of BDT 60 per litre by an executive order on March 31. Prices of other petroleum products were then kept unchanged despite strong pleas for cuts from stakeholders.
CPD for bigger-sized budget, quality improvement
The Centre for Policy Dialogue on Sunday advocated a bigger-sized budget for the country and suggested an improvement in the budget structure. The independent think-tank observed that the current size of the budget was smaller considering the volume of the country’s economy. It emphasized that improving the budget structure was required for sustaining the higher economic growth rate the government projected for the current fiscal year. At a press briefing on its recommendations for the next budget in Dhaka, the CPD raised questions over the quality and sustainability of the government-estimated GDP growth at 7.05% for the current fiscal year as the estimated growth was largely driven by rise in the salaries of government employees. The organization recommended that the next budget should be in favor of poor, investment, production, employment generation and reform, and conscious of global risks. It also demanded ensuring transparency in the budget making process.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$38.40||(1.96)||(4.86%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$41.15||(1.95)||(4.52%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,897.46||(28.97)||(0.16%)|
|USD 1||BDT 78.38*|
|GBP 1||BDT 111.03*|
|EUR 1||BDT 88.45*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.18*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.