BB asks BIAC, ABB to draft guideline on NPL recovery
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has recently moved to formulate a guideline for realisation of non-performing loans (NPLs) in the banking sector and make amendment to relevant laws. During a recent tripartite meeting held at its head-office, the central bank has asked Bangladesh International Arbitration Centre (BIAC) and Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) to draft the guideline. Chaired by BB Deputy Governor Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, the meeting had aimed at finding ways to strengthen Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system to help settle a large number of loan disputes. Noting that ADR is becoming a process requiring immediate attention from the banking sector, the BB deputy governor emphasized strengthening ADR to settle the NPL related disputes. Mr. Hassan also mentioned that the central bank is willing to provide required support to expedite ADR process and make it more effective.
Reverse auction for buy-back starts in Bangladesh
Reverse auction for buy-back of the government securities started on Wednesday without accepting any bids, officials said. Only three primary dealer (PD) banks took part in the first reverse auction held at the central bank headquarters in Dhaka with submitting their bids worth around BDT 80 billion but no bids were accepted.
50pc of public funds can be deposited in pvt banks and NBFIs, BB notifies them
Bangladesh Bank has instructed all the banks to comply with a finance ministry notification on pulling deposit from government, semi-government and autonomous entities’ by the private banks and non-bank financial institutions. The central bank issued a circular in this regard on Tuesday to all the managing directors and chief executive officers of all scheduled banks. Amid intense pressure from the bank owners, finance ministry on April 2 this year issued a notification allowing private banks and non-bank financial institutions to get up to 50 per cent of the government, semi-government and autonomous bodies’ fund. Earlier, private banks and non-bank financial institutions were allowed to get highest 75 per cent fund from the entities. Apart from the entities’ own fund, private banks and NBFIs would also get the same portion from annual development programme fund that has been allocated to the entities from the government.
Acute liquidity crisis catalyzed shakeup at Islami Bank
The biggest private bank in the country, Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), which once had over Tk80,000 crore in deposits, is in the midst of a liquidity crisis and the sudden departure of its chairman Arastoo Khan has drawn further attention to the bank’s woes. According to sources at IBBL, the liquidity crisis was induced by a mix of aggressive lending and a decline in deposits last year.
Banks to remain open for 12 hrs around Ctg port
Banks decided on Wednesday to keep transactions open around the port area from 10 am to 10 pm on all days from next week. In line with the government order to keep banking operations open round the clock to facilitate export and import, cargo delivery from the port and Customs assessment, the banks’ executives took the decision. The senior executives of all public and private commercial banks at Agrabad, Chittagong Port Authority and Chittagong Custom House areas said primarily they would keep transactions open for 12 hours on all seven days of the week. But the decision for 24×7 banking transaction as per a circular issued from the Prime Minister’s Office will be finalised by the top managements of the concerned banks in consultation with the government high-ups in Dhaka later.
Online fund transfer to any bank from June
Fund transfer to any Bangladeshi bank account through online banking will become possible from June, in a development that promises to be a great timesaver for bank customers. For that end, the central bank has asked all banks in the middle of February to connect their fund transfer channel to the National Payment Switch Bangladesh (NPSB). In November last year, six banks — Bank Asia, Standard Chartered, Bangladesh Commerce Bank, City, Dutch-Bangla and Midland — signed up for the fund transfer facility through the NPSB. Another 22 banks will soon integrate their systems with the NPSB, said a Bangladesh Bank official. The banks that are yet to introduce internet banking will have to offer at least fund receiving facility to their clients.
Bangladesh’s forex reserve crosses $33bn-mark again
Bangladesh’s foreign exchange (forex) reserve has crossed the US$33 billion-mark again following inclusion of asset with International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its reserve calculation. The reserve rose to $33.08 billion on Tuesday from $32.99 billion of the previous working day, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. Earlier on October 06 last calendar year the reserve reached $33.01 billion.
Shipbuilders served loan rescheduling on silver platter
At a time when the country’s banking sector is going through a liquidity stress, the borrowers from the shipbuilding industry are being gifted with a 10-year loan rescheduling facility by the finance ministry. As of December last year, the total loans to the shipbuilding industry, whose contribution to the economy is less than 1 percent, were Tk 4,600 crore, and now the banking sector will be saddled with the sum for the next decade. The loans carry interest rate of 10-13 percent, but as per the special package being offered to the shipbuilders the interest rate will be revised down during rescheduling. Of the loan amount, only Tk 860 crore is with the state banks, meaning the move will intensify the ongoing liquidity crisis in the banking sector, the epicentre of which is in the private banks. It will also enable indiscipline in the banking sector further, said a central bank official requesting anonymity to speak candidly about the matter.
LTU fetches most taxes from PCBs
Private Commercial Banks (PCBs) together contributed the most part of the corporate tax, collected by Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) until March of the current fiscal year (FY), 2017-18. Six PCBs were among the top-ten income taxpayers during the first three quarters of FY ’18.
Meghna Bank gets new CEO
Meghna Bank has recently appointed Adil lslam as its CEO and Managing Director, says a statement. He has more than 27 years of banking and business leadership experience. He has held business and functional head positions both in Bangladesh and in overseas locations, working for top companies like HSBC, ANZ, American Express, Mashreq Bank and other international banks. Immediately before joining Meghna Bank, Mr Adil was the Additional Managing Director of City Bank.
Corporate tax may see cuts, says NBR chief: IT cos, electronic manufacturers seek industry-friendly budget
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan on Wednesday said the revenue authority will provide necessary trade facilitation to the local electrical and electronic manufacturers and IT companies in the next budget. Hoping that Bangladeshi companies will export locally manufactured electronic and electrical products in near future, he also said the NBR will continue its support to the companies interested to establish manufacturing units in the country. The NBR chairman made the pledge following budget proposals placed by different associations of electronic and electrical product manufacturers and importers, Information Technology (IT) companies and internet service providers at a pre-budget meeting held at the NBR auditorium in the city. Representatives from Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS), Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS), Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA), Bangladesh Electrical Merchandise Manufactures Association (BEMMA), Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) were among others, present at the meeting.
NBR in a fix over collecting Tk 1,618cr ‘taxes’ from BATB
The Large Taxpayers Unit for value-added tax of the National Board of Revenue has sought directives from the board on implementation of a budgetary measure through issuing a demand notice to British American Tobacco Bangladesh for realising supplementary duty and value-added tax worth Tk 1,618 crore. The LTU could not take any step to implement the key budgetary measure on tobacco taxation even after 10 months of the announcement of national budget for the current 2017-2018 fiscal in absence of any instruction from the NBR and also due to legal complexities on the issue. The government in the budget set the price of low quality international-brand cigarettes at Tk 35 per 10 sticks produced and sold by multinational companies for imposing duty and other taxes while it set the price of same quality cigarettes produced and sold by local companies at Tk 27 to protect local manufacturers.
Wilmar-Adani to invest $350m in Mirsarai economic zone
Singapore-based Wilmar and India’s Adani Group plan to invest $350 million in Bangladesh to establish an industrial park in the Mirsarai economic zone under a joint venture that will produce agro-based foods and allied products. Pua Seck Guan, chief operating officer of Wilmar International, a leading agribusiness group in Asia, sought a 50-acre land at Mirsarai in Chittagong so as to make the investment during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Singapore in March this year. Hasina agreed and urged the officials of Wilmar to visit the zone. Subsequently, Kuok Khoon Hong, chairman and CEO of Wilmar Group, visited the zone in the first week of April, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).
Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan to gain most from BRI project: Dhaka likely to get $38b investment
Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Pakistan are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries of the China-led US$1.5 trillion Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), according to a Nomura Group report. The report also highlights potential risks to both China and countries that reap the benefits of the project, according to a report by www.asiaasset.com. The BRI is a development strategy by the Chinese government involving multiple mega-infrastructure projects to improve connectivity between China and neighbouring regions such as South Asia, Southeast Asia, and parts of Europe. Tokyo-based Nomura says Pakistan will be the biggest beneficiary in South Asia, thanks to China’s $62 billion commitment to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. This comprises multiple infrastructure projects, mainly to modernise Pakistan’s transportation network and energy infrastructure. The Chinese investment is equivalent to 20 per cent of Pakistan’s 2017 gross domestic product (GDP). Nomura’s April 17 report noted that Bangladesh was set to receive total investment of $38 billion, equivalent to 15 per cent of its 2017 GDP, under the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Corridor. The project is aimed at improving land, rail, water and air interconnection among the four countries.
63 plants with 15,967 MW capacity under construction
Aiming to ensure cent per cent electricity by 2021, the government signed contracts with private and public sponsors to set up 130 power plants having a total generation capacity of 23,861 megawatt (MW). “Of the contracts, 67 power plants having generation capacity of 7,800 MW have already been commissioned while 63 power plants with 15,967 MW are under construction,” Chairman of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) Engineering Khaled Mahmood said on Wednesday, reports BSS. He said the government has installed 88 power plants with a generation capacity of 8,819 MW and has been importing 660 MW electricity since 2009 from neighbouring India.
LNG Import from Oman: Cabinet body okays pricing formula
The cabinet committee on national purchases at a meeting on Wednesday approved the pricing formula paving the way for importing liquefied natural gas from Oman Trading International through the government to government purchase. According to Power Division officials, imports of 1,000 cubic feet LNG would be charged at the rate of 11.9 per cent of Brent crude oil price in addition to $0.40 by the exporter. The payment has to be cleared in 25 days by Petrobangla, a subsidiary of the Power Division, after submission of invoices. As per the formula, Petrobangla will have to pay delay fines ranging from 4 per cent of LIBOR to 5 per cent of LIBOR in case of failing to clear the payment timely. Petrobangla will also have to pay all kind of taxes for the imports while Oman Trading International will pay $3,40,000 for each LNG ship as port fees. The approval would enable Petrobangla to import LNG for 10 years against the backdrop of growing demand for natural gas and shrinking supply of it from domestic wells.
NBR tells telecom operators to clear dues
The Chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR), Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, has told telecom operators to clear their dues as early as possible. The NBR chairman said this in a pre-budget discussion with the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) on Monday. He also told the AMTOB members to settle the cases pending for dodging taxes and vats, as soon as possible. AMTOB Secretary General TIM Nurul Kabir, AMTOB Vice President and Managing Director and CEO of Robi Axiata Ltd Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, among others, were present in the discussion. AMTOB members have raised ten issues regarding mobile improvement of the telecom sector. They also demanded getting rid of the vat on internet usage and other charges imposed. AMTOB members said if the tax rate gets down then it will be faster to connect remote regions of the country.
IDCOL looks to install 5.0m improved stoves by 2021
In the wake of growing demand for improved cooking stoves (ICS), the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) has extended its ICS programme up to 2021, aiming to install 5.0 million such stoves in rural households. The objectives of the project are to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon monoxide (CO), use of solid fuel for cooking and the impacts of indoor air pollution, which will help achieve some Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the health of women and children.
UAE to hire Bangladeshis in 19 categories
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed a deal to recruit 19 categories of workers from Bangladesh, paving the way for opening up the much-awaiting job market in the Gulf country very soon. Namita Halder, secretary of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment (MoEWOE) and Saif Ahmed Musabah Al Suwaidi, under-secretary of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, on Wednesday. Nasser bin Thani Al Hamli, Minister for the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, was present at the agreement-signing ceremony, among others, according to a press release issued by the MoEWOE. The UAE has not been hiring manpower from Bangladesh for about six years after the oil-rich Middle-eastern country had stopped recruiting workers from here in 2012. The Bangladesh government has been negotiating with the authority of the UAE to reopen the job market since then. According to the press release, all necessary elements including recruitment mechanisms, role of manpower hiring agencies, sending and host countries, workers’ security, benefits etc., have been mentioned in the MoU.
Extortion leads to Ramadan price hike
The country’s apex trade organisation FBCCI observed Wednesday that the prices of essential commodities rise during the holy month of Ramadan largely because of “rampant extortion in the transport sector by policemen and political workers”. It said a section of policemen in connivance with some political activists are responsible for such extortion in the road sector which leads to rise in the prices of essential food items before and during the month of Ramadan. “The policemen and the political activists are involved with the crimes and that’s why the prices of foods rise,” said Khandaker Ruhul Amin, acting president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at its headquarters in the city. Mr Amin, however, felt that if the vested quarters remain active in the transport sector, the prices of goods will rise obviously during the holy month.
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