Strong judiciary support a must to speed up recovery process of classified loans: ABB chief tells FE
Country’s banking sector has sought strong judiciary support to speed up recovery process of classified loans, saying that it would also help improving financial health and growth of the banks. “We need a separate bench under the High Court to deal with only default loan issues,” Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), told the FE in an exclusive interview recently. The ABB chief also said the functions of Artha Rin Adalats (Money Loan Courts) should be strengthened across the country for settling the cases within the shortest possible time-frame. “We understand law has certain limitations and procedures to maintain, but it takes about eight to nine years to settle a case. This encourages defaulters to take the legal routes instead of coming to bank for negotiation,” Mr. Rahman explained. The ABB chairman’s observations came against the backdrop of rising trend of money suits pending with different courts, including Money Loan Courts, as the defaulters resort to different byways.
SCB keen on infrastructure financing under China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Standard Chartered Bangladesh will extend financing support to implement infrastructural projects under the Belt and Road Initiative of the Chinese government. The BRI is a development strategy proposed by the Chinese government that focuses on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. Gas- and coal-based power plants, rail link and road-related infrastructure will be boosted under the BRI, where the SCB can play a major role in implementing the projects. “China is the largest trading partner of Bangladesh and it was also the biggest supplier in the globe,” said Naser Ezaz Bijoy, chief executive officer of SCB. Bijoy’s comments came in a media session organised by SCB styled ‘Belt and Road – China-Bangladesh Opportunities’ at the capital’s Westin hotel.
Mutual funds pique investors in March
The closed-end mutual fund units saw their turnover double last month upon expectation of better dividends for the year ending on June. Closed-end mutual funds are investment funds that gather a fixed pool of money for 10 years from a number of investors and re-invest them into stocks, bonds and other assets. Their shares trade like stocks. In March, closed-end mutual funds’ turnover stood at Tk 164.25 crore in contrast to Tk 74.84 crore a month earlier, according to data from the Dhaka Stock Exchange. However, total turnover in the DSE declined 10.73 percent during the period. “Some of these funds will be liquidated soon, and they are trading at a discount, so investors are rushing to buy their units,” said Sherif MA Rahman, chief executive officer of Brac EPL Securities.
From LDCs to Asian tiger
Bangladesh has become eligible to move out of the list of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to a developing nation. With time and good governance, the country might be the new Asian tiger. Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan are known as “Asian tigers” because of their rapid growth between the 1960s and 1990s. Bangladesh might be the fifth Asian tiger, as the country is experiencing rapid economic growth (more than 6%) over the past decade. The growth pattern of Bangladesh is similar to the four Asian tigers during the industrialization of their economies. Amongst the four Asian tiger economies, manufacturing sector has had a significant contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP).
FBCCI urges govt to include tourism policy in next budget
The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) urged Sunday the government to incorporate a time-befitting tourism policy in the upcoming national budget to help the sector flourish. Considering the existing potential, it also emphasised the development of transport and infrastructure facilities of tourist spots in the country, aiming to draw more local and foreign tourists. Underscoring the need for branding Bangladesh, the apex trade body also suggested highlighting the success stories of the country. The call came at the standing committee meeting of the FBCCI relating to the ministry of civil aviation and tourism held in its boardroom. Director in-charge of the standing committee Prabir Kumar Saha presented a detailed future plan at the meeting presided over by its chairman Md Rafiuzzaman. FBCCI president Md Shafiul Islam (Mohiuddin) said great success in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector along with other positive stories and potentials of the country should be reflected to the world community for attracting more tourists. The meeting decided to hold a seminar on development of this sector in presence of the civil aviation and tourism minister.
Public entities’ DSLs keep on swelling, cross Tk 1.0t mark
Debt service liabilities (DSLs) of state-owned entities, autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies soared to Tk 1.02 trillion at the end of the last fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, according to official statistics. The amount of DSL comprises both principal and interest. The aggregate amount of principal and interest overdue stood at over Tk 869.91 billion at the end of FY 2015-2016, the official data available with the ministry of finance showed. Total outstanding amount, including both overdue and current amount, stood at Tk 2.13 trillion as of June 30, 2017. The figure was Tk 2.03 trillion at the end of June, 2016. The debt-burden of these organisations includes the funds that the government borrowed for them from foreign development partners against projects and the local currency loans.
Plea for 10-year tax holiday for relocated tannery factories
Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) urged on Sunday the revenue authority to declare tax holiday for next seven to ten years for tannery factories that have been relocated to the Savar Tannery Estate. They also proposed the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to slash value added tax (VAT) rate from 15 per cent to 7.5 per cent on imported chemicals used in export-oriented leather industry in the next budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018-2019. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Agro-Processors’ Association (BAPA) proposed NBR to continue cash subsidy on export of agro products till 2022 by increasing the rate from 20 per cent to 30 per cent. The demands were made at a pre-budget meeting with businesses from agro-processing, poultry, chemical, leather and jewellery sectors arranged by NBR at its headquarters in the city’s Segunbagicha.
NBR to introduce multiple advance income tax rates at import stage
The National Board of Revenue is going to introduce multiple rates of advance income tax at import stage to make it rational for different sectors, the tax authority chief Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan on Sunday said. ‘There will be product-wise AIT rates and the rates will vary like value-added tax rates,’ he said at a pre-budget discussion with agriculture, poultry, chemicals, paints and leather sectors at NBR headquarters in Dhaka. The rates of AIT should not be uniform for all products, he added. He also announced that there would be specific benefit in taxes for overall agriculture related sectors, namely agro-processors, poultry, seed and bakery. The proposals put forward by the sectors seeking benefits in tax, VAT and customs duty were justified, he added. NBR might reduce VAT rate on hand-made bread and biscuits, he said.
Next budget to earmark Tk 1.0b for women entrepreneurs: NBR
A net amount of Tk one billion (Tk 100 crore) will be earmarked for women entrepreneurs in the upcoming budget as in the current fiscal year. At the same time, the government will further ease the rules of using this money for their business expansion. Chairman of the National Board of Revenue Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan disclosed this at a pre-budget meeting with the Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Hotel Agrabad in the city on Saturday. He said that women entrepreneurs are more serious in paying back their bank loans than their male counterparts. In the beginning of the meeting, CWCCI president Monowara Hakim Ali placed a number of proposals which, she said, would ensure greater participation of women investors, especially in the SME (small and medium enterprises) sector.
BEZA, SPCL sign deal to build LPG terminal: 410 acres of Moheshkhali EZ land for the facility
SPL Petrochemical Complex Limited (SPCL) will build a petrochemical production base and a large LPG terminal in Moheskhali Economic Zone (EZ) under Cox’s Bazar. SPCL, a concern of TK Group, signed a land lease agreement on Sunday with Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), the country’s prime investment promoter, to implement the venture. SPCL handed over a dummy cheque worth Tk 1.78 billion to BEZA as lease money on the occasion. The company has already formed a joint venture with South Korea-based global petrochemical giant SK Gas to avail its knowhow and expertise in setting up the LPG terminal at Dhalghata in Moheskhali EZ. According to the plan, the company will build petrochemical refinery, warehouse of petrochemical products and LPG terminal. Modern jetty facility will also be installed there for loading and unloading raw materials and products etc.
BIDA-DBCCI trade team holds B2B meetings in Brussels
The BIDA-DBCCI Trade and Investment delegation kick-started their first leg of the programme by holding a seminar and B2B meetings at the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) in Brussels, says a statement. The seminar was held with the support of EIAS and Bangladesh Embassy in Belgium, which was followed up by B2B meetings between Bangladeshi businessmen and their Belgian counterparts recently. The trade delegation comprises 50 participants representing BEZA, PPP, ministries of water, commerce, shipping and other government organisations and a select group of renowned private businesses. Alexander Spachis, member of the Advisory board, EIAS, chaired the seminar.
MoU on April 28 to get Chinese loan for Padma Bridge rail link project
Under the MoU to be signed in Beijing, the Exim Bank of China will give financial support to the project, said Railways Minister Md Mujibul Haque, addressing a seminar on ‘Policy Analysis’ at Bangladesh Institute of Governance and Management (BIGM) auditorium in city’s Agargaon, said an official release. Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor Abu Hena Md Razi Hasan and Additional Secretary of Public Administration Md Moazzem Hoassain addressed the seminar as special guests with AB Mirza Azizul Islam in the chair. Mujibul Haque said the government has taken different initiatives to bring the whole country under rail network.
Bangladesh still popular for low-cost apparel
Bangladesh is still a lucrative destination for sourcing low-cost garment items, coming second to only China, according to the Global Sourcing Survey-2018 by the AsiaInspection, which provides inspection services to global brands. “Outside of China, India and Bangladesh are increasingly given preferences for textile sourcing due to being lower-cost destinations,” said the report on the survey conducted by AI in December last year. Top officials of more than 250 companies working in all major consumer product segments were interviewed for the survey. Of the total respondents, 16 percent said Bangladesh is their destination of choice for sourcing textile and garment products. China though remains in the lead: it is a regular sourcing destination for nearly 88 percent of the respondents and half of the businesses expect to buy even more from there in 2018.
Number of women SME entrepreneurs on the rise
The SME Foundation and the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) jointly organized the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fair-2018 for the sixth time in the capital. At the National SME Fair 2018, held April 4 to April 8, the participation of women entrepreneurs was higher than men. Of 268 participants, 183, i.e. 68%, were women. The SME Foundation organized this fair for the first time in 2012. At that time, a total of 85 entrepreneurs set up 100 stalls at the fair. Of them, 56 were women while 29 were men. Official data revealed the participation of women entrepreneurs at the SME fair was 56% in 2013, 74% in 2014, 66% in 2016, and 61.5% in 2017. Managing Director of the SME Foundation, M Safiqul Islam, said a large number of women entrepreneurs participate in the national SME fair every year as a new class of women entrepreneurs has developed in the country’s SME sector.
High tax bar to better telecom service: GSMA
The national exchequer gets Tk 51 of every Tk 100 spent by a mobile user, leaving less money for the operators to develop network and run business smoothly, the GSMA said yesterday. Bangladesh’s mobile industry has one of the world’s highest taxation rates while operators’ monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) is one of the lowest, less than $3, the association said. The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with over 300 companies, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies and organisations in adjacent industry sectors. “Low ARPU, high tax and high spectrum charge cannot give you quality of service,” Emanuela Lecchi, head of Asia Pacific of GSMA, said at a press conference in Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka.
BTRC asks Robi to stop tariff approval, issuing NOC
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has asked mobile phone operator Robi Axiata to stop providing tariff approval and issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) unless it pays the arrear VAT worth Tk 189 million by April 25. The telecom regulator, in a letter to the chief executive officer of Robi, instructed the company to comply with the government’s order to avoid legal actions. Robi owes the VAT to National Board of Revenue (NBR) on account of 4G/LTE licence acquisition fee and technology neutrality. According to an order of NBR, the telecom regulator should not activate the issued or renewed licence in favour of the mobile phone company unless it deducts and deposits the due VAT, on account of 4G licence or technology neutrality fee, spectrum fee, royalty or licence renewal fee, to the public exchequer.
Grameenphone (GP), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Q1 earnings slide
Some 12 more listed companies, including the largest-market cap company Grameenphone (GP), disclosed un-audited financial reports for the January-March quarter of 2018 on Sunday. Of them, the earnings per share (EPS) of seven companies, including GP and GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh, declined while five companies’ earnings increased in the quarter compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Grameenphone’s net profit fell slightly by 2.50% year-on-year to BDT 6.39 billion in the January-March quarter of 2018. GP’s earnings per share (EPS) declined to BDT 4.74 in January-March quarter from BDT 4.86 in the same period a year ago. The net operating cash flow per share (NOCFPS) was BDT 11.60 for January-March 2018 as against BDT 12.04 for January-March 2017. The net asset value (NAV) per share was BDT 32.73 as on March 31, 2018 and BDT. 29.72 as on March 31, 2017. Following the news, the GP’s share price fell 2.42% or BDT 12 each to close at BDT 484.10 on Sunday. However, Grameenphone Ltd. reported revenue of BDT 31.2 billion for the first quarter of 2018, a 2.0% growth from the same period last year. Data revenue grew by 23.9% along with voice revenue growth of 3.9%. CEO of Grameenphone Ltd. Said that the quarter also marked healthy topline and subscriber growth amidst the ongoing competitive environment. They launched a couple of relevant market offers both in voice and data that is showing positive results in revenue generating base and its corresponding usage. Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Bangladesh’s earnings per share fell 21.62% year-on-year to BDT 11.49 for January-March, 2018. In January-March period of 2017, its EPS was BDT 14.66. The world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare company’s share price also declined by 0.83% to close at BDT 1,456.70 each at DSE.
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)||$ 68.18||↓0.22||↓0.32%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 73.92||↓0.14||↓0.19%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,333.88||↓2.48||↓0.19%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.50|
|GBP 1||BDT 117.08|
|EUR 1||BDT 102.52|
|INR 1||BDT 1.26|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.