World Bank: Bangladeshis abroad remit $13.5bn in 2017
Bangladesh received $13.5 billion as remittances in 2017, the World Bank said on Monday. Globally, Bangladesh is the ninth highest recipient of remittances and in South Asia it ranks third after India, $69bn, and Pakistan, $19.7bn. In its latest Migration and Development Brief, the World Bank said Bangladesh, after a steep decline in 2016 (-11 .5%), remittances were flat in 2017. “They now show a promising uptick, driven by strong inflows from the main source countries—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Kuwait, and Malaysia,” it said. Sri Lanka, in contrast, saw a slowdown of -0 .9% in 2017. Nepal received $6.9 billion in remittances, which is a whopping 28.9% of its GDP, the report said. In 2017, remittances were 5.4% of the GDP of Bangladesh.
Import rises 12% in March on food grains, machinery
The country’s overall import grew by more than 12% or USD 453.97 million in March, mainly due to higher import of food grains and capital machinery. The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as actual import, in terms of value, rose to USD 4.20 billion in March 2018, from USD 3.74 billion in the same period of the previous calendar year. The actual import was USD 4.02 billion in February 2018, according to the central bank’s statistics. However the upward trend in import might continue in the coming months also ahead of the holy Ramadan. Usually, a large quantity of essential commodities is imported to meet the additional demand of consumers during the month of Ramadan. the import of capital machinery may increase further in the coming months following implementation of different infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge. Import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production rose to USD 354.25 million in March 2018 as against USD 243.53 million in the same month of 2017.
BB asks Banks, NBFIs to maintain secrecy of correspondence with BFIU
Bangladesh Bank has asked all the banks and non-bank financial institutions to maintain secrecy of correspondences with the central bank’s Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit. The instruction of the central bank was given on Monday in line with the Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2012 and Anti-Terrorism Act, 2009. BB asked banks and NBFIs to refrain from quoting any reference of any BFIU letter in collecting additional information from its branches or divisions. Besides, the BB circulars, issued to the managing director and chief executive officers of banks and NBFIs, instructed the entities to refrain from publishing any information on correspondence between the entities and BFIU. In case of suspension or blocking of any account, the institutions were also asked only to quote the related clause of the act instead of quoting or producing reference of BFIU letter.
To show profits, NBL seeks relief from keeping Tk 1,150cr provision
National Bank Limited, in an unusual move, has requested Bangladesh Bank to exempt it from keeping Tk 1,150 crore provision in its financial statement for 2017 against Tk 3,416 crore classified loans to show hefty profits for the year, said BB officials. The NBL in a letter to the central bank past week made the request saying that loans of its 22 clients worth Tk 3,416.85 crore were ‘temporarily irrecoverable’. The bank in its plea also said that the loans were worthy to be classified under the ‘Loan Classification and Provisioning’ circular of the central bank. As per the BB regulations, banks have to keep a certain percentage of general and defaulted loans as provision to safeguard the interest of depositors. The BB officials said that it was unusual for any bank to seek exemption from keeping provision of such a huge amount. ‘The bank is basically trying to show hefty profit instead of meager profit or losses for the year of 2017,’ said an official adding that in some cases BB allows banks to keep provisioning in installments. They said according to the bank’s recent statement it made an operating profits (before tax and provisioning) of Tk 1,216 crore for the year ended on December 31, 2017. So, if the bank has to keep provisioning of Tk 1,150 crore and pay relevant taxes, its net profit might turn to negative or losses for the year, commented another official. The bank made Tk 1,085 crore operating profit and Tk 683 crore net profit in 2016.
Premier Bank gets new MD
The board of directors of Premier Bank Limited has appointed M. Reazul Karim, FCMA as the bank’s new Managing Director (MD) and CEO with effect from 23rd April, 2018. Mr. Karim started his career with National Bank in 1984 and what soon followed was the continuous rise of his banking excellence. He has joined Premier Bank as the Additional Managing Director and Chief Business Officer in 2013, thereafter serving for five years, has been officially entrusted with the position of the Managing Director & CEO (in-charge) since February 2018.
ICAB demands NBR make audit crosschecks mandatory
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh on Monday said that the National Board of Revenue should introduce mandatory crosschecking of audit reports submitted by the company taxpayers along with their income tax returns to thwart submission of fake audit reports. At a pre-budget discussion with the revenue board, the body of professional chartered accountants also demanded bringing international digital marketing companies such as Facebook, Google and Youtube under tax net. NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhiuyan presided over the meeting held at the NBR headquarters. The institute said that the NBR should introduce a provision in the income tax law for mandatory checking of the authenticity of audit reports through communication with the ICAB.
Public servants to get cheap home loans
Around 14 lakh government employees are to get housing loans at low interest rates, as proposed by the finance ministry in keeping with the last pay commission recommendations. The loans would be disbursed in three categories depending on location as proposed. The proposed amount of loans and the relevant policy would be discussed and finalised at a meeting chaired by the finance secretary today. The highest amount would be Tk 75 lakh and the lowest Tk 20 lakh. Officials salaried on the fifth grade and above would be entitled to Tk 75 lakh loan in the capital, city corporation areas, and divisional cities, Tk 60 lakh in district towns, and Tk 50 lakh in other areas.
Jakarta trade team arrives this week
A high-powered Indone-sian delegation comprising government officials and businessmen will arrive in Bangladesh this week, seeking to expand bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. Led by Deputy Trade Minister of Indonesia Ms Arlinda, the delegation is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka on April 25. During their stay, the first-ever ‘Indonesia Fair-2018’ will begin at Le Meridien hotel in the capital on April 26. The trade ministry of Indonesia, Indonesian embassy in Dhaka and the Indonesia-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) have organised the three-day fair. A business forum and business match meeting will be held on the opening day of the fair. Some 50 Indonesian companies will display ‘Made in Indonesia’ consumer and fashion products and industrial equipment.
India mulls investment in BD’s three economic zones
A delegation of Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Kolkata today visited the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) at the World Trade Centre in the city. The 15-member delegation of the Indian businesses headed by its president Chandra Shekhar Ghosh is representing industrial sectors like food packaging, cement, steel, engineering, design and technology, real estate, education, media, pharmaceuticals, petro-chemical and LPG, manufacturing, IT and banking and non-financial institutions. The Indian trade body leaders had a very effective meeting with the CCCI leaders chaired by its president Mahbubul Alam. CCCI vice president Syed Jamal Ahmed, Indian Assistant High Commissioner Anindya Banerjee, former director Mahfuul Haque Shah and Habib Mohiuddin, leading trader Taher Sobhan, women chamber leaders Abida Mostafa and Munal Mahbub, IEB former president Engineer Md Harun and Khorsher Rahman spoke on the occasion.
Bangladesh plans FTA with Thailand
Bangladesh has decided to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand to boost trade with the Southeast Asian nation, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday. He spoke at the inaugural session of a four-day fair of Thai products at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in the city. The Department of International Trade Promotion under the commerce ministry and the Thai embassy in Dhaka have co-organised the event titled Thailand Week 2018.
Feasibility study on Ctg-African port feeder service
The government has started conducting a feasibility study on introduction of direct container feeder vessel service between Chittagong and two African ports, officials said. The two ports are Port of Durban in South Africa and Port of Tanger Med in Morocco. A high-powered inter-ministerial body, led by an additional secretary of the ministry of shipping (MoS), has been formed to conduct the study. The committee comprises representatives from the ministry of commerce, chairman of Chittagong port, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Bangladesh Container Ship Owners Association, Bangladesh Container Shipping Agents Association, and Bangladesh Shipping Agents Association. The committee was tasked with examining the possibility for starting of feeder vessel service and possible outcomes of introduction of direct transport service.
Six new vessels to be added to BSC’s fleet
The state-run Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) is to get six new vessels including three bulk carriers and three product oil tankers for diesel transport within the next 12 months. One of the three bulk carriers, the “MV Banglar Joyjatra”, has been built by China and will be launched in Beijing today with a ceremony to be attended by Bangladesh Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan. “The new vessel will help in breaking the monopoly of foreign companies in Bangladesh’s shipping business,” the minister said before leaving for China on Sunday. The “MV Banglar Joyjatra” has a capacity of 39,000 Deadweight tonnage (DWT) and will be delivered to Bangladesh on July 5, 2018 by the Chinese National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC).
Textile millers decry proposed gas price hike
The textile millers yesterday expressed concern over the proposed price hike of industrial gas because of which the production cost will increase and they will finally fail to remain competitive in the global market. The spinners currently pay Tk 9.62 for every cubic metre of gas and use Tk 8 to Tk 9 worth of gas to produce a kilogramme of yarn, said Shahid Alam, vice chairman of Jalal Ahmed Spinning Mills Ltd. But the government now plans to increase the price of a cubic metre of industrial gas by 66 percent to Tk 16, which will more than double the production cost of a kg of yarn to Tk 22, he said. “If the new price is put in place, we will have to increase the selling price of yarn to make profits. But our buyers are not ready for the retrospective price rise.” Alam spoke at a meeting on the existing gas and energy situation in the country’s textile sector. Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) organised the event at its office in Dhaka.
Aamra Tech to set up SOC to defend enterprise info
Aamra Technologies is set to establish a state-of-the-art “Security Operation Center (SOC)” at Sheikh Hasina Software & Technology Park (MTB) in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Bangladesh Private Limited. It is commonly known as Jashore High-Tech Park established on 4,000 square feet areas of land. “SOC is a facility where enterprise information systems (web sites, applications, databases, data centers and servers, networks, desktops and other endpoints) are monitored, assessed and defended,” according to a disclosure posted on the Dhaka bourse’s website on Monday. SOC helps organisations in defending attacks by using predictive and proactive intelligence-based approach, constant near real-time monitoring and analysis of payloads, network traffic and endpoints, together with on-demand forensics and automated investigations to provide complete threat visibility and efficient threat management across the business operation, the disclosure said. Considering the extensive data expansion of Bangladesh, telecommunications, multinational companies, banks, non-banking financial institutions and other public and private organisations of Bangladesh are in need of advanced security operations centers, it mentioned.
Global fashion giants yet to establish fair supply chain
Five years after the collapse of Rana Plaza, the building that housed several garment factories and shops in Savar, fashion giants have yet to establish a fair supply chain, reports The Telegraph. The Rana Plaza disaster caused the death of 1,138 garment factory workers and left thousands with life-changing injuries, according to bdnews24.com. The disaster, one of the deadliest industrial accidents in history, raised loud questions regarding the fashion industry and became a loud symbol of the way fashion brands lost control of their supply chains as they pursued outsourcing to lower costs.
‘Cut corporate tax rate for mobile phone operators’
The global trade body of the mobile operators, GSM Association, has called for a reduction in corporate tax rate for the mobile phone operators in Bangladesh, saying that the existing tax rate can negatively impact the future market development. Bangladesh has the highest corporate tax rate in South Asia, at 45 per cent, which constrains mobile phone operators’ profit and will impact on the future investment, GSMA officials said at the launching ceremony of the Country Overview Report in the capital recently. They called for reduction in tax rate from 45 per cent to 40 per cent for the mobile operators in the private sector and from 40 per cent to 35 per cent for state-owned operators. They also called for withdrawal of the 35 per cent supplementary duty and the 15 per cent VAT on SIM and the 5.0 per cent supplementary duty on mobile services as well.
Mobile Number Portability: Service delayed by 3 more months
Mobile phone subscribers will have to wait around three more months to be able to switch operators every 40 days while retaining their existing numbers as the technical aspects and responsibilities have just been finalised. Now operators will work on importing some infrastructure and software, said TIM Nurul Kabir, secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB). Mobile number portability, as it is known, gives mobile phone users choice and boosts competition in the market. Singapore pioneered the service in 1997. Now over 72 countries have it. Neighbouring India and Pakistan introduced it a few years ago.
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)||$ 68.95||↑0.31||↑0.45%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 74.95||↑0.24||↑0.32%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,326.35||↑1.52||↑0.11%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 84.01|
|GBP 1||BDT 117.15|
|EUR 1||BDT 102.58|
|INR 1||BDT 1.27|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.