Farm loan growth slows to 2.55pc in 9 months
Disbursement of farm loan has increased by only 2.55 per cent during the July-March period of the current 2017-2018 fiscal year.It was 23.39 per cent during the same period of the previous fiscal year, 2016-2017. In March of the current fiscal year, private commercial banks and foreign commercial banks along with state-owned banks had disbursed Tk 1,694 crore in farm loans that took the total loan disbursement in July-March to Tk 16,214 crore, a Bangladesh Bank data released on Wednesday showed. The farm loan disbursement figure for the nine months of the current fiscal year represents 79.48 per cent of annual target, while the banks had disbursed 90.09 per cent or Tk 15,810 crore of its annual target in July-March of the fiscal year 2016-2017.
Pubali Bank, BRAC Services sign MoU
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pubali Bank Limited and BRAC Services Ltd was signed recently at the bank’s head office in the city. Ashim Kumar Roy, DGM & head of cards of the bank and Nasim-ul Haque Chowdhury, head of sales of BRAC Services. signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations. Under the MoU, all debit and credit cardholders and employees of Pubali Bank will avail 20 per cent discount on room tariff and 15% discount on food along with other facilities.
EBL, DEG ink new partnership deal
Eastern Bank Ltd (EBL) and Germany’s development finance institution – DEG have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) marking the beginning of a new era of partnership. EBL Managing Director and CEO Ali Reza Iftekhar and DEG’s CEO Bruno Wenn, signed the MoU at a city hotel recently, said a statement. Under the MoU, both the entities will intensify collaboration in the fields of SME, corporate and infrastructure financing in Bangladesh.
Banking industry now an orphan, says CPD: High budgetary projection is nothing but ‘fiscal illusion’
The private think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Tuesday termed the country’s banking sector an ‘orphan’ and wanted the government to form an ‘independent commission’ to critically assess the problems and make appropriate recommendations for prudential banking. ‘The banking sector has become an orphan and its regulators are abusing it’, said CPD’s distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya while presenting the budget recommendations for the fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 at a press conference in Dhaka. “We earlier termed the year 2017 as a year of banking scam,” Dr Bhattacharya said. The banking sector regulator, he claimed, was adopting various measures in breach of its own monetary statement coming under pressure, he added.
Arastoo Khan quits IBBL: Nazmul Hassan new chairman
The board of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL) saw another major change, as its chairman Arastoo Khan resigned from the post on Tuesday. The former government secretary resigned from the post of IBBL chairman after more than 15 months on personal ground. “I could not give time to my family because of extra work pressures as the chairman of IBBL. So I have resigned from the post,” Mr. Khan told the FE while explaining the cause of his resignation.
IMF also projects 7pc economic growth, lower than govt estimate
International Monetary Fund has retained its projection for Bangladesh’s economic growth at 7 per cent, 0.65 percentage points lower than the government’s estimate, for the current fiscal year 2017-2018. The global lending agency made the projection in its latest World Economic Outlook-April 2018, released in Washington on Tuesday. According to the provisional estimate of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the country’s gross domestic product growth would be 7.65 per cent, higher than the government target of 7.4 per cent made in the national budget for the FY18. IMF’s projection is, however, higher than the forecast of World Bank and similar to Asian Development Bank.
Undisclosed money legalisation with penalty to stay in next budget
The existing provision of legalising undisclosed money through investment in construction and purchase of residential building and apartment would continue in the next budget to prevent money laundering, National Board of Revenue chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said on Tuesday. He said this in reply to a proposal of Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh seeking indemnity in income tax law for investment of untaxed money in the sector. ‘There are scopes of investment of undisclosed or black money in real estate sector after paying penalty and they will continue in next budget,’ he said. Untaxed money holders would launder such money if they closed the option, he said, adding that the government, however, would consider whether investors would get the indemnity. Mosharraf also assured the realtors of examining the proposal of introducing secondary market for housing sector.
Realtors propose cutting registration fees by half
The country’s realtors proposed that the government should reduce registration charges to 7.0 per cent from existing 14-16 per cent to help ease housing crisis being faced by middle and lower middle income people. Due to high registration fees, they said, buyers have lost their interest to register their units. So, the government is also being deprived of a significant amount of revenue from this sector, they added. Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) made its suggestion at a pre-budget discussion for the fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 with National Board of Revenue (NBR) at the NBR office in the city on Tuesday. They also demanded allowing investment of undisclosed money in the real estate sector for the next five years without any conditions. NBR chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, REHAB vice president Liakat Ali Bhuiyan, and directors Mohiuddin Shikdar and Jahiruddin, among others, were present at the meeting.
$2.67b Padma Rail Link Project loan deal on April 28
The much-awaited loan agreement for Padma Rail Link Project will be inked in Beijing on April 28, paving the way for receiving the Chinese government’s highest ever loan facility for establishing rail link with Padma bridge. Sources said, the date and place of signing US $ 2.67 billion loan agreement were finally confirmed after getting response from EXIM Bank, a Chinese state-owned bank Tuesday. Economic Relations Division (ERD) sent an email to the Chinese state-owned bank on Monday soon after the Prime Minister signed the draft agreement. Under the loan arrangement, the Chinese government will provide 80 per cent of the project’s construction cost to be implemented by Bangladesh Railway under preferential buyer’s credit line. Source said ERD and the EXIM Bank will sign the agreement.
DTCA, DMTC are at odds over ownership of metro rail projects
Conflict has arisen over the ownership of all metro rail projects and future control over the mass transit system in the city as the metro rail company refused to work under Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA). Sources said the Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Company (DMTC) Limited has already stopped communication with DTCA, which has so far been maintained, since the formation of the company in 2013. They said the company has requested the Planning Commission to consider it the executing agency instead of DTCA. After getting the request, sources said, the Planning Commission also raised a query to the DTCA in this regard. It asked DTCA as a coordination authority of city transport sector to report on what regulation the DMTC is considered the executing agency and what the extent of delegation of financial power it has.
‘Remove sectoral constraints to raise export competitiveness’
The 5th SME Development Working Committee (SMEDWC) Meeting of Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) put thrust on removing sectoral constraints for raising export competitiveness. The meeting took place at the conference room of the Ministry of Industries recently, said a statement. Chaired by Muhammed Abdullah, Secretary of Ministry of Industries, the meeting discussed SME issues and policy simplification, including regulatory barriers with a view to make the SMEs of leather, plastics and technology competitive for doing business. BUILD CEO Ferdaus Ara Begum presented four papers based on research pointing to the SMEs for which MoI is the parent ministry to administer.
Ctg port choked by container congestion
The Chittagong Port Authority plans to impose additional rents for container storage as it has been suffering from acute container congestion in the last few weeks because of a surge in imports ahead of Ramadan. On Monday, the CPA in a meeting urged the port users to take steps to clear the congestion in seven days. Otherwise, it will impose additional charges for container storages along with the regular charges. Every container enjoys four-day storage service for free once it reaches the port. After the period, the CPA daily charges $6 for a 20-foot container and $12 for a 40-foot container. As of Monday, the port was burdened with 36,726 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of import-laden containers, much higher from its capacity of accommodating 26,857 TEUs. Containers brought in through FCL (full container load) shipping have worsened the situation.
Remediation of left-out RMG factories to cost $1.2b: Apparel leaders differ on factory numbers
An estimated US$1.2 billion would be required for remediating the safety hazards in the readymade garment factories left out of the safety inspection and remediation process so far, according to a report of the NYU Stern Centre for Business and Human Rights. Most of them are subcontracting factories where no inspections were carried out and others are monitored by the government under a national initiative. The report released on April 11 said some 7,000 factories, including garment, textile, dying and washing units, are operating across the country and some 3,000 of them are subcontracting units. The remaining 4,000 factories are currently overseen under three initiatives. The report proposed forming a multi-stakeholder taskforce to fund and oversee the remediation efforts in those factories and subcontracting units where safety issue still remains a cause for concern.
Relief for realtors: Rod price falls by Tk 3,000 a tonne
Rod prices, which have been spiralling since the turn of the year, have dropped by at least Tk 3,000 per tonne this week in a development that is set to bring a huge sigh of relief from realtors. “We have brought down the prices by Tk 3,000 per tonne upon Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed’s request,” said Manwar Hossain, president of the Bangladesh Auto Re-rolling and Steel Mills Association (BARSMA). Each tonne of 60-grade rod was selling for Tk 67,000-Tk 68,000 in Dhaka yesterday. Two weeks ago, they went for Tk 71,000-Tk 72,000, according to data from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.
Survey on women-owned businesses: 48pc find it difficult to contact corporate buyers
Forty-eight per cent of women-owned businesses in Bangladesh experience difficulty in making connections to corporate buyers, according to a survey. During interviews, they noted that establishing networks in the sourcing departments of large corporations is complex and non-transparent. WEConnect International conducted the survey to identify potential points of market entry for women-owned businesses in Bangladesh, and to find opportunities to connect them to local and global corporate value chains. Key findings from the survey were discussed at a roundtable on ‘Strengthening Market Access and Integration into Corporate Value Chains’ held at a city hotel recently, says a press statement.
Tissue paper industry thrives on growing demand
The tissue paper industry, mostly led by local factories, has kept booming in the country due to a change in the people’s lifestyle with rising incomes. The paper napkin turned into a Tk 15.0 billion market from Tk 500 million in the past 10 years with 80 per cent of the people using tissue papers at least once a month, according to the Bangladesh Paper Mills Association (BPMA). And 50 per cent of the factories are now producing its raw material ‘paper pulp’ locally which helped the sector raise maximum value addition, sector insiders said.
Bangladesh has nearly 150 million cell phone users
The total number of Bangladesh’s mobile phone subscribers reached nearly 148.76 million at the end of February. The number of subscribers of the mobile operators, Grameenphone, Robi Axiata, Banglalink and Teletalk stood at 66.47 million, 45.59 million, 32.72 million and 3.98 million respectively at the end of February, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data showed.
Flat call rate, price ceiling for mobile data on cards
The government has moved to fix a flat call rate for mobile phone operators to eliminate the existing off-net and on-net charge gap with a view to helping smaller operators survive in the era of intense competition. Off-net charges are applicable to calls made within a similar network while on-net charges are applied to calls from one operator to another operator. The telecom regulator will also fix the lower and higher prices of data for mobile internet. The decisions came at a meeting at Gono Bhaban on Monday chaired by Sajeeb Wazed Joy, ICT affairs adviser of the prime minister.
Low income employment replacing jobless growth
The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has questioned the outcome of GDP growth saying the country has entered into income-less employment from an era of jobless growth. CPD explained what they meant by “income-less employment” by saying that previously jobless growth accompanied GDP growth. Now there is low income employment growth. The independent think-tank said, according to the latest labour force survey, around 1.3 million additional jobs were created between 2015-16 and 2016-17. However, the real income of people has declined. CPD revealed the above at a budget recommendation press conference at CIRDAP Auditorium on Tuesday.
Int’l tourism fair begins tomorrow
A three-day international tourism fair begins in the capital’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre tomorrow with the participation of 11 countries, aiming to expedite and promote tourism in Bangladesh. The Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (Toab) is organising the “Biman Bangladesh Travel & Tourism Fair 2018”. The Bangladesh Tourism Board (BTB), the Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, the Nepal Tourism Board, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Tourism of India are taking part along with 50 foreign organisations, said the organiser at a press conference in Dhaka yesterday. National and international tourism organisations, authorities and operators, travel agents, airlines along with hotels and resorts from Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bhutan, the United Arab Emirates, China, Cambodia, the Maldives, and Vietnam are scheduled to participate.
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)||$ 66.83||↑0.31||↑0.47%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 71.91||↑0.33||↑0.46%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,343.97||↓3.55||↓0.26%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.37|
|GBP 1||BDT 119.26|
|EUR 1||BDT 103.21|
|INR 1||BDT 1.27|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.