20.0% quota in IPOs for the affected small stock investors for one year more
Finance Minister AMA Muhith has approved the stock market regulator’s proposal for extending the tenure by one more year to continue 20.0% quota in all IPOs for the affected small stock investors. The extension of 20.0% quota in the Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) was made following the request of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC). Earlier, the stock market regulator placed a proposal to the Finance Ministry for the extension of the tenure of IPO quota by one more year to June 30, 2017, considering the market situation. The ministry had earlier extended the tenure till June 30, 2016 for third consecutive time. As per the approval, the affected small stock investors will enjoy the quota facilities for another year. The government had earlier decided to provide a 20.0% quota in all the IPOs for the small investors, who were affected during 2010-11 stock market debacles, to be offered by the private companies to the listed with the stock exchanges.
DSE ex-CEO to join BSEC
The government has appointed Prof. Dr. Swapan Kumar Bala, immediate past managing director of Dhaka bourse, as a commissioner of the securities regulator for two years, officials said. The Ministry of Public Administration Monday issued a gazette notification regarding the appointment of Mr. Bala at the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commissioner (BSEC). “Dr. Swapan Kumar Bala, a Professor at the Department of Accounting and Information Systems of the University of Dhaka, has been contractually appointed at the BSEC as a commissioner for two years,” said the gazette notification of the Ministry of Public Administration. Mr. Bala completed his tenure as the first managing director of the demutualized Dhaka bourse on April 15 last. Mr. Bala’s appointment came as part of fulfilling the vacancy of a commissioner at the BSEC after Arif Khan, a former BSEC commissioner, recently resigned on heath ground.
Bangladesh plans to open debt account with AIIB
The government is set to borrow USD165.0 million in a maiden loan from the newly established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Officials said Monday the money would come for funding three power-sector development projects. However, the credit from the Beijing-based lender will be a bit costly since it will be based on London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR), said a Ministry of Finance (MoF) official. The loan-repayment period will also be shorter than that of other loans from the multilateral lenders like the WB and the ADB, they said. The MoF official said they had requested the AIIB to offer a 25-year repayment period including 5 years’ grace period for the proposed loan. Among the existing lenders, Bangladesh received the largest amounts of concessional loans from the WB, the ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The World Bank lends Bangladesh funds for development projects at 0.75% interest with 38 years of repayment period including an eight-year grace period. The Manila-based lender ADB gives loan for development projects at less than 2.0% rate. The maturity period varies from 22 years to 30 years with 5-10 years of grace time. Among the bilateral donors, JICA provides loans at 0.01% interest rate. The repayment period of the softest Japanese loan is 40 years with a 10- year grace period.
NBR pre-budget meet: Duty benefits sought for agro machine parts
The agriculture ministry and entrepreneurs on Monday sought duty benefits in import of machine parts for manufacturing and assembling of agriculture machinery to promote the growing local industry as an import substitute sector. At a pre-budget discussion with the National Board of Revenue, agriculture ministry additional secretary Mosharaf Hossain said the revenue board should consider withdrawing 15% VAT and 4% advance trade VAT, and cutting down the customs duty to 1% on import of agricultural machinery parts by local assemblers and manufacturers. Leaders from different trade associations in the agriculture and chemical sectors attended the discussion at the NBR headquarters presided over by revenue board chairman Md Nojibur Rahman. The benefits will help the country mechanise cultivation, transplantation, and harvesting and the local industry will also be able to compete with the completely built unit machinery importers who are currently exempted from paying the VAT and the ATV, Mosharaf said.
Mobile operators lose 2.8 million subscribers in four months
Mobile phone operators in Bangladesh have lost more than 2.8 million subscribers in last four months, according to BTRC statistics. The country had 133.7 million subscribers at the end of December 2015. But in March 2016 the amount stands at 130.9 million, says BTRC. In January 2016, the country had 132.0 million subscribers that dropped to 131.1 million in February, indicating a steady drop every month in this quarter. Mobile phone operators think that government’s insistence on biometric registration and re-registration of SIM cards is responsible for this sharp drop in their subscriber base. Biometric registration and re-registration was made mandatory from Dec 16 last year. Posts and telecommunications division says 54.5 million subscribers have completed biometric registration until Apr 10. Grameenphone has lost 400,000 subscribers (from 56.6 million to 56.2 million) between December and March, BTRC statistics indicated. Banglalink, the second largest operator, lost 900,000 subscribers (from 32.8 million to 31.9 million) between December and March. Robi lost as many subscribers in these three months — from 28.3 million to 27.4 million. Airtel lost 600,000 subscribers at the same time — from 10.7 million to 10.1 million. Citycell’s subscriber base also dropped by 200,000 – from 1 million to 800,000. Only state-sponsored Teletalk has gained more subscribers since the biometric registration was made mandatory. From 4.1 million in December, its number of subscribers has gone up to 4.2 million in March.
Dhaka, Delhi talk cross border fuel pipeline
Dhaka on Monday began negotiations with New Delhi on a proposal from the latter to set up a cross border pipeline for supplying diesel to Bangladesh, officials said. Around 200 kilometre pipeline would be set up from Numaligarh Refinery in Assam to Parbatipur in Bangladesh for the purpose, they said. State minister for energy and power Nasrul Hamid and visiting Indian petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan disclosed this during a press conference in the city. Besides, Delhi wanted Dhaka to allow Indian company Petronet LNG Limited to set up the proposed liquefied natural gas terminal at Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar under a government-to-government deal. On a request from Dhaka to import natural gas from Tripura, Dharmendra Pradhan said he would convey the request to the central government of India. Earlier, Nasrul Hamid said Dhaka gave a proposal to Delhi for importing 70 million cubic feet of gas per day from Tripura during the meeting between two sides. The ministers said discussion was held for exporting re-gasified LNG from Odisha, India, to the Bangladesh border in Western side. This LNG can be exported to West Bengal of India in future using existing pipeline in Bangladesh, they said.
BPC to import 13.0 million barrels of oil under open tender
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation is set to import 13.0 million barrels of petroleum products from two Singapore-based entities, a move which will save the government $1 per barrel. The deal will be carried out under the new petroleum policy, which has made open bidding mandatory for 50 percent of the country’s petroleum imports. Since 2005, all petroleum imports have been made under government-to-government deals. Emirates National Oil (Singapore) and Unipec Singapore have landed the job of supplying 13.0 million barrels of petroleum products by offering the lowest premium rate, said a BPC official. The premium is the cost of shipping the petroleum products and includes freight charges and insurance. Since the going market rate is used as the price of petroleum, the suppliers differentiate themselves with their premium rates. Emirates National Oil has offered USD 2.4 per barrel as the premium price for gas oil and USD 3.5 for jet fuel. Unipec has offered USD 2.6 per barrel as the premium price for gas oil and USD 3.1 for jet fuel. The rates are USD 1 less than what it would have been under the state-to-state arrangement, according to the BPC official. A total of 13 companies participated in the tenders but some of them were eliminated for failing to meet the criteria set out under the new rules.
No more Accord, Alliance after 2018: Commerce Minister
The government will not extend the stay of Accord and Alliance beyond the expiry of their current tenure in June 2018, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said. The Accord and the Alliance are not present anywhere else in the world. They will not be here in Bangladesh after 2018. The Accord and Alliance are legally binding agreements signed by a total of 228 foreign retailers in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 to fix the electrical, fire and structural faults in the garment factories from which they source. The tenures of Accord, a platform of 200 Europe-based retailers, and Alliance, another platform of 28 North American retailers, will come to an end in June 2018. After their departure, the proposed remediation coordination cell will monitor the safety progress of the structures, said a senior official of the labour and employment ministry. The two platforms have inspected a total of 2,198 factories so far, according to Ahmed.
61.0 million Internet subscribers in country: BTRC
Currently, there are more than 61 million internet subscribers in the country, according to Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC). By the end of March this year internet penetration was 61.3 million, up from 58.3 million in February and 56.2 million in January, says the telecom regulator. Data released by BTRC showed that the number of mobile internet subscribers has increased steadily to 58.0 million in March, up from 44.6 million for the same period a year ago. During a span of one year since March last year, the number of internet users registered a 38.0% increase. BTRC data shows that most of the users in Bangladesh access internet through mobile phones. More people are subscribing to internet service providers [ISPs] and public switched telephone network [PSTN] while WiMAX has been losing customers. Altogether 3.1 million people subscribed to ISPs and PSTN by the end of March, while only 0.1 million subscribed to WiMax, the BTRC data showed.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$39.75||(0.03)||(0.08%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$42.80||(0.11)||(0.26%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||18,004.16||+106.7||+0.60%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.38*|
|GBP 1||BDT 112.19*|
|EUR 1||BDT 88.76*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.18*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.