Bangladesh Bank wants account of all banks’ rescheduled loans
The central bank, now under a recast management following a big cyber-heist, has sought information on both rescheduled and restructured loans from all the banks for a reappraisal. Official sources said the stocktaking of bailed-out loan portfolios is meant for assessing impact of such loans on the country’s banking sector. Under the moves, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) has already sent a prescribed format to the banks, seeking different pieces of information on such loans from July 01, 2013 to December 31, 2015, according to the central bank officials. The banks have been asked to furnish by May 02 the names of clients, amounts of rescheduled loans, the number of rescheduling and recovery position after the rescheduling of loans. In the case of restructured loans, the recovery position of total outstanding amounts until March 31 last will have to be provided in the format, they added. A significant amount of loans has been rescheduled during the period under review by taking advantage of policy relaxation to facilitate financing for the businesses affected by the political unrest surrounding the last national elections. Earlier on December 23, 2013, the BB relaxed the loan-rescheduling policy on a limited scale for the succeeding six months to facilitate financing for the affected businesses.
Defaulted loans in NBFIs double in one year
The amount of defaulted loans in the country’s non-bank financial institutions increased by 103.0% to BDT 40.0 billion as on December 31, 2015, compared with that of BDT 19.7 billion as on December 31, 2014, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data. Some NBFIs had pursued aggressive lending last year and disbursed a huge amount of loan violating the rules and regulations, a BB official told New Age on Tuesday explaining the situation. He said the NBFIs did not follow due diligence in selecting loan recipients resulting in the sharp increase in defaulted loans in 2015. Besides, political instability during the period also discouraged the borrowers from paying back the loans in time. Some corporate groups failed to refund the loans in due time as they diverted the funds to other fields, which pushed the defaulted loan high, said Prime Finance and Investment Ltd managing director Asad Khan to New Age on Tuesday. The corporate groups invested the funds, for example, to purchase land, although they took the loans to expand their businesses, he said. Asad, however, hoped that the situation might change this year and the amount of classified loans would come down as the current economic situation looks better than before. The BB data showed that in 2015, the amount of defaulted loans in the NBFIs stood at BDT 27.6 billion on March 31, BDT 31.6 billion on June 30, and BDT 45.2 billion on September 30.
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission seeks VAT against 2,900 licenses for seven years
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a move to collect value added taxes which have remained due against licenses and renewal fees of around 2,900 entities and individuals. The capital market regulator issued a letter in this regard on Monday to the market intermediaries following a National Board of Revenue letter that requested the BSEC to deposit value added taxes at 15% rate since July 2010 which was applicable on licensing and renewal fees that the commission collects. The regulatory instruction includes Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges, Central Depository Bangladesh Limited, all merchant banks, asset management companies, credit rating agencies, fund managers and securities custodians. The letter asked the entities to submit the certified copies of VAT deposit slips to the commission after depositing the stipulated amount in the economic code number: 1.1133.0010.0311. The commission also instructed the entities to submit certified VAT deposit slips to the commission while submitting annual license fees and renewal fees to BSEC. According to the BSEC website data, 55 merchant banks, 8 credit rating agencies, 10 securities custodians, 15 trusties, 19 asset management companies and two fund managers were conducting operations based on BSEC approval.
Fitch Ratings projects 6.8% growth for FY 17
The Fitch Ratings has opined that Bangladesh’s economy will expand by 6.7% in the ongoing financial year (FY), 2015-16, down by 0.35% point from the initial projection of the authorities concerned. The global rating agency also forecasts the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) might grow at 6.8% in the next FY. It said increased purchasing power following public sector wage hike and monetary policy loosening in January are behind this growth. Fitch Ratings, however, said the risk of banking sector contingent liabilities crystallizing for the sovereign is substantial, although small size of the banking sector, with loans of just 35.9% of GDP, will moderate the impact. The global financial service organization said the banking sector’s health and governance standards are generally weak, particularly in case of the public sector banks. Non-performing loans remained high for the banking sector as a whole, at 8.8% in fourth quarter, ending in December 2015, and 21.5% for the public-sector banks.
RMG industry wants tax at source be cut to 0.3%
Readymade garment sector has called upon the National Board of Revenue to reduce tax at source to 0.3% from existing 0.6% on export of apparel products. It also requested the NBR to consider it to be the final settlement from the budget for fiscal year 2016-17. Representatives from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA), Bangladesh Jute Goods Exporters Association and other stakeholders made the call at a pre-budget meeting, chaired by NBR Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman at the revenue authority’s headquarters yesterday. BGMEA President Siddiqur Rahman urged the tax authority to provide the facility at least for next three years to help RMG sector turn around following the Rana Plaza disaster. The BGMEA boss also recommended the revenue board to set income tax at a minimum rate of 10.0% from the existing 35.0% for the next five years starting from next fiscal year. The apparel makers have enjoyed the reduced corporate tax rate at 10.0% from 2005 to 2014 under special consideration. The government, however, aligned the tax rate with the regular rate of 35.0% from 2014-2015 fiscal year. Arguing about the demand, Siddiqur said RMG makers have faced a tough time after the Rana Plaza disaster and also due to conditions imposed by the Accord and the Alliance, but if the benefit is allowed, it will help non-compliant factories and factories in small buildings to shift to new buildings to survive.
Private companies exempt from taking VAT at source: New law provides for only PLCs to do the job
All private limited companies are exempt from deducting VAT at source from service-seekers under a new law coming into effect from July. Only public limited companies (PLCs) will deduct the Value Added Tax (VAT) at source from the clientele under the new VAT and Supplementary Duly Act, officials said. Currently, all limited companies are to deduct VAT at source and deposit the money with the public exchequer as per the standing VAT law 1991. The new VAT law carries a provision allowing only public limited companies to take VAT at source from consumers. Barrister Jahangir, NBR member (VAT policy), disclosed the change to exporters at a pre-budget meeting Tuesday where consultation took place mainly with the country’s export sectors. He said the legal measure came following concern of the companies over VAT deduction at source in different sectors despite their being VAT-exempted ones. Senior Secretary of the Internal Resources Division (IRD) and chairman of the National Broad of Revenue (NBR) Md Nojibur Rahman chaired the meeting.
DCCI seeks rate cuts on home loans, construction materials
The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) urged the government on Tuesday to lower the interest rate on home loans and lessen the VAT rate on construction materials. The DCCI made the appeal, when a delegation led by its President Hossain Khaled called on Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain at the latter’s Secretariat office in the city. The DCCI president said though housing is one of the basic needs, the rate of interest on home loan is too high in the country. He called upon the government to slash the interest rate so that people could afford buying flats. The chamber leader also recommended relocation of leather processing units to Savar and garment factories to specialized economic zones (SEZs) out of Dhaka to make it a livable city. He mentioned that non-availability of gas connections resulted in lower sales of flats and apartments in recent times. He also proposed a cut in the high rate of registration fees, stamp duties, gain taxes on sales and transfer of flats and apartments. The chamber leader also urged the government to reduce the 15.0% VAT on construction materials to reduce the costs of business in this sector. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said the government has planned to construct 30,000 flats under a public-private initiative in the city’s Mirpur area.
BMET to get UK’s skill development accreditation authority
Bangladesh is going to emerge as an international accreditation authority in skill development, which is likely to open market for the country’s laborers in the European market. Official sources said Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) is about to get the accreditation authority of City and Guilds, now operating in more than 100 countries, for providing international-standard skill trainings. They said this is the first-ever international accreditation of the country for the international job market. The official said BMET has already developed a pool of teachers with the help of City and Guilds to train people, interested to go abroad.
Robi introduces free WiFi services in commuter buses, taxicabs in Dhaka
Robi Axiata Limited has initially introduced a free WiFi internet services to 100 buses and 100 taxicabs in the capital. The WiFi services have been launched under a massive project undertaken to facilitate internet access across the country, using WiFi hotspots. Over the next 6 months, the company is going to provide high-speed WiFi services to 500 top restaurants, cafes and retail outlets, 100 educational institutions, 10 public places (airports and railway stations) and also over 350 buses, taxis and trains. Robi subscribers, who have purchased a mobile internet pack of at least 1GB, would be eligible to receive the free WiFi quota. Bus and taxicab passengers will be able to use the WiFi-enabled devices free of cost. Robi will offer various data bundles with WiFi quotas in the upcoming days. Axiata’s Bangladeshi operator has formed strategic partnerships with AccessTel, Qubee and Aamra for deploying and maintaining the WiFi hotspots. For rolling out the WiFi services to the buses and taxis, Robi has partnered with Coalesce.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$40.20||(0.88)||(2.14%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$43.36||(0.67)||(1.52%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||18,053.60||+49.44||+0.27%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.25*|
|GBP 1||BDT 112.52*|
|EUR 1||BDT 88.99*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.18*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.