MFIs seek Tk 225b refinance fund
The country’s microfinance institutions, or MFIs, have sought Tk 225 billion refinancing fund as stimulus package to overcome the economic losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Credit and Development Forum, or CDF, a national grouping of the MFIs, has sent letters to government high-ups, including Prime Minister’s Office, Bangladesh Bank governor, Microcredit Regulatory Authority, the Finance Ministry, and the NGO Affairs Bureau, pleading for the rescue package. The agencies sought the fund for a period of five years and at 9.0 per cent rate of interest, of which the small lenders would pay 4.5 per cent and the central bank would pay the rest on behalf of the government, according to the letter obtained by the FE. In April 20, the Bangladesh Bank unveiled a financial package of Tk 30 billion for underprivileged farmers, professionals and micro enterprises to help them offset the negative impact of the virus. Marginal businesses and farmers with no access to banks and non-bank financial institutions will be allowed to get the loans from the revolving fund at 9.0 per cent interest rate. The MFIs) with certificates from the Microcredit Regulatory Authority can give out the loans. Under the package, the BB will initially provide the fund to banks at 1.0 per cent interest, which they will lend to the MFIs at 3.5 per cent interest. The MFIs will be allowed to charge a maximum of 9.0 per cent interest on borrowers.
Nagad gives Tk 0.5 million to virus-hit employees
Bangladesh Post Office’s mobile financial service, Nagad, has decided to stand beside its around 0.2 million (2.0 lakh) employees amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Nagad will provide up to Tk 0.5 million (5.0 lakh) each for treatment if any of its entrepreneurs, distributors and salespersons become coronavirus positive. As the country is going through an unwanted situation rendered by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Nagad thinks it is the best moment to extend humanitarian assistance to the people. It said Nagad has taken up the initiative to stand by the employees and their family members to acknowledge and appreciate their efforts. Nagad is pledge-bound to work for the country and its people till the end. It said with a view to helping people and the country as a whole, Nagad has cut down merchant to merchant transaction fees to Tk 6.
Biman starts first flight to Guangzhou in May
National flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines has finally got approval to operate flights to Guangzhou of China. Managing Director of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Mokabbir Hossain confirmed this to the FE. Biman has a plan to start operation from May this year. Mokabbir said that Biman is planning to provide cargo services to any organisation if they need to charter any aircraft. Talking to the FE, Mr Hossain said that Biman got the approval from Civil Aviation Administration of China in the end of March to operate Guangzhou flight. Biman will operate weekly one flight with Boeing 737-800. This will mainly carry cargo, he mentioned. Biman MD claimed that none of its 5,200 employees was infected during the COVID-19 pandemic as they followed the guidelines of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and WHO (World Health Organization). Biman has 150 cockpit crew and 500 cabin crew who are perfectly alright. But people made hue and cry over their continuing flight operations to London and Manchester. When asked, aviation expert Kazi Wahidul Alam said that it will not be commercially viable for Biman to operate weekly one flight to Guangzhou. Besides, Chinese government now allows only Chinese nationals to China. But cargo operation by Biman will be viable as the price for per kg cargo has risen significantly from US$ 2-2.5 to US$ 6-7.
BSRM has been distributing PPE materials for doctors and nurses in various hospitals of Chattogram and Dhaka
BSRM has been distributing PPE materials for doctors and nurses in various hospitals of Chattogram and Dhaka. BSRM distributed PPE material at Dhaka Kurmitola General Hospital (left) and Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital (right). Both the Hospital in-charge’s received the materials from BSRM.
eGeneration employs AI to fight COVID-19
eGeneration has taken the initiative to help fight coronavirus by introducing the ‘Beat Corona – AI against corona’ quest. eGeneration has developed CoronaBot and X-ray image analysis tool specifically geared to improve and accelerate the detection of coronavirus Furthermore, eGeneration has developed an X-ray image analysis tool using machine learning technology which has proven to be an effective method of detecting COVID-19 from chest X-ray image. Using this tool, users will be able to identify whether they are healthy, suffering from a mild case of pneumonia or infected by COVID-19 by simply providing an x-ray image of their lungs to eGeneration BeatCorona. Two machine learning models are used in this tool: Feed-forward Neural Network and Convolutional Neural Network which are trained with processed data collected from various hospitals of Italy and China. These X-rays will help facilitate in the undertaking of massive screening programs while speeding up the detection of coronavirus which results in the successful reduction of transmission.
Akij stands by Corona fighters
To protect the health of doctors and nurses at Kurmitola General Hospital, Akij Group has recently provided medical equipment and financial assistance to the hospital. Sheikh Jamil Uddin, director of Akij Textile Mills. Limited, handed over the materials to the hospital Director Brigadier General Jamil Ahmed and Assistant Director Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Wahab. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Police is working tirelessly to ensure social distance everywhere in the country. Akij Food and Beverages Limited, another affiliated company of Akij Group, has distributed masks and spa drinking water among the Dhaka range police as collaborators and in honor of these fighters.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|↑ 260.01||↑ 1.11 %|
|FTSE100||5752.23||↓ 74.38||↓ 1.28 %|
|Nikkei 225||19262.00||↓ 167.44||↓ 0.86 %|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 16.94||↑ 0.44||↑ 2.67 %|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 21.44||↑ 0.11||↑ 0.52 %|
|Gold Spot||$ 1729.60||↓ 0.91||↓ 0.05 %|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.2972|
|GBP 1||BDT 102.934|
|EUR 1||BDT 90.1201|
|INR 1||BDT 1.09742|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<