Bangladesh Bank wants information on all bad debts
Bangladesh Bank has asked all the banks and other financial institutions of the country to send reports about all the default loans. As per a new circular issued on Thursday, the banks and financial institutions are supposed to report to the central bank even if the defaulted loan is BDT 1 only. Until now, the banks and other financial institutions were supposed to send information on default loans of BDT 50,000 or more and for credit cards BDT 10,000 unpaid loans to the central bank’s Credit Information Bureau. In the circular, the Bangladesh Bank have asked for information on all loans needed to be sent to the CIB database to strengthen monitoring of loans in the banking sector, reports bdnews24. Banks and financial institutions need to collect information from the CIB database before approving client’s loan or credit limit. A defaulter was not able to take loans if the amount of bad debt was more than BDT 50,000. But under the new stringent regulation, anyone with BDT 1 bad loan would not be eligible to take any other loan. Bank customers who had borrowed over BDT 100 million each in past 10 years still owe banks BDT 656.02 billion in unpaid loans, Finance Minister clarified in January. According to him, the list of such loan defaulters totals 1,956 individuals and organizations.
Central bank devising collateral database to stem doc forgery: BB will ‘go-live’ by end of this calendar year
The central bank has started the process of developing a collateral database in order to prevent document forgery and corruption during sanctioning loans, officials said. “We’ve taken the moves to check corruption in the country’s banking system,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE while explaining the main objective of establishing the database. The central bank is now working to “go-live” the database by the end of this calendar year, the central banker hinted. Dishonest people are using forged document and reusing collateral to get loans, according to the banking sector insiders. They said the banks could not recover the loan amount in many cases when the borrower defaults on loans or flees. Meanwhile, the central bank issued a circular on Thursday and asked the managing directors (MDs) and chief executive officers (CEO) of all scheduled banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to collect collateral report of the security which is supposed to be mortgaged during sanctioning a loan.
The call money rate in the local money market took a dip to the lowest level in more than one year on Thursday, the last working day before the weekend, indicating the presence of excess liquidity in the market. This has been attributed by treasury heads of a number of banks to the reduction in Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) that came into effect on April 15 last. But the executives do not see any immediate impact of such liquidity on the lending rates of banks as they view it as a “temporary phenomenon” in the money market. Rather, they said a “stable” market can help lower the lending rates. The call money rate fell by around 1.0 percentage point in a month to 3.57 on Thursday.
The country’s overall import grew by more than 14% in the first nine months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2017-18, mainly due to higher import of food grains and fuel oils. The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as actual import, in terms of value, rose to USD 38.41 billion during the July-March period of FY 18 from USD 33.63 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to Bangladesh Bank’s (BB) latest statistics. The president and managing director of Bank Asia Limited, said the overall import may increase further in the coming months. It may happen due to higher import of consumer goods, including food grains, and capital machinery for power plants as well as implementation of various infrastructure development projects across the country. He also said import of machinery or equipment for balancing, modernization, rehabilitation and expansion (BMRE) of many industrial units, particularly apparel factories, has also contributed to the rising trend of industrial import. Import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production increased by more than 4.0% to USD 3.99 billion in the first nine months of this fiscal against USD 3.83 billion during the same period of FY 17. Import of consumer goods rose by 57.53% to USD 6.02 billion during the period under review from USD 3.82 in the same period of FY 17. Import of industrial raw materials grew by 10.08% to USD 13.42 billion during the period under review from USD 12.19 billion in the corresponding period.
Despite notable expansion of financial services in recent years, just half of Bangladeshis aged 15 or above remain without a bank or mobile money account, a recent World Bank study has said. The lack of sufficient fund is the most common reason why many people are still shying away from having an account, the WB report said. The huge gender gap remains in terms of account ownership, it said. The findings were part of a triennial study called “The Global Findex Database”, which is a wide-ranging data set on how people in 144 economies use financial services. The global lender has produced the report with funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with Gallup, Inc.
Farm loan disbursement rose 2.55 percent year-on-year to Tk 16,214 crore in the first nine months of the current fiscal year amid a sluggish demand from the industrial sector, according to central bank data. In July-March, eight state-owned commercial and specialised banks — Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali, BASIC, Bangladesh Development, Bangladesh Krishi and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan — collectively lent Tk 7,035 crore in agriculture loans. The amount is 73.36 percent of their total annual farm loan target of Tk 9,590 crore. Private and foreign banks disbursed Tk 9,179 crore during the period, which is nearly 85 percent of their annual target of Tk 10,810 crore.
Dhaka Bank Limited and Building Technology and Ideas Ltd.(bti) have signed an agreement on Cash Management Services at the Corporate Office of BTI recently. Under this agreement, Dhaka Bank will provide Automated Cash Management facilities to BTI. Mr. Md. Ziaur Rahman, SEVP & Head, Corporate Banking Division of Dhaka Bank and Mr. Kazi Saiful Hoque, General Manager, Finance of Building Technology & Ideas Ltd. signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.
Ibn Sina Trust, one of the sponsor shareholders of Islami Bank Bangladesh, is set to sell off its entire 2.24% stake in the bank within the next 30 days. The trust will sell 36.0 million shares through block markets of the Dhaka Stock Exchange and the Chittagong Stock Exchange at the prevailing market price, it said in a posting on the DSE website on Thursday. On Thursday, IBBL shares traded at BDT 26.1, meaning the sales will fetch BDT 941.6 million for the corporate sponsor. Ibn Sina’s exit from the country’s biggest private lender comes less than a fortnight after IBBL Chairman Arastoo Khan resigned.
Short-term borrowing dominates foreign financing: BIBM study
The nation’s short-term foreign borrowing is less effective for industrialisation than that of long-term financing, according to a new study. The study has also said that overseas bank borrowing is being misused in some cases. The Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) has conducted the study. The study said that although the country’s private borrowing from overseas sources shot up to 24 per cent in September last year compared to the public sector borrowing, short-term loan is not supporting much for the industrialisation.
BIBM study says proportion of loan defaults is very high. The banking sector is at grave risk due to disbursement of massive loans to a handful of large businesses, experts have said. There have been complaints that banks are lending to large-scale businesses while the small and medium enterprises are ignored. When powerful businessmen are unable to pay their dues on time, the banks are powerless to act against them, which in turn causes a liquidity crisis in the banking sector. According to a Bangladesh Bank (BB) report, a total of 233% of the entire paid up capital of banks were given as large loans to big organizations.
Chinese digital payment giant Alipay operated by Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial expanded its footprint to hold a major share in the rapidly growing mobile banking market in Bangladesh. The Ant Financial signed an agreement on Thursday to become the strategic partner of digital payment platform bKash, operated by Brac Bank. As per the agreement, the company that is serving 800 million users globally will now secure 10 per cent share and another 10 per cent in the next one year. As a strategic partner, it will help bKash grow its market further in a secured and diversified way with the technical capability and expertise the firm has.
The board of directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited (SJIBL) has decided to issue 2nd Mudaraba Subordinated Bond (redeemable) of Tk 6.0 billion to strengthen Tier II capital of the bank as per requirement under Basel III. The name and style of the bond is “SJIBL 2nd Mudaraba Subordinated Bond” and would be issued for a period of seven years through private placement, according to a disclosure posted on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website on Thursday.
Midland Bank Limited (MDB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Westin Dhaka, a five star Chain hotel located at Gulshan, at the bank’s head office in the city recently, according to a statement. Md. Ridwanul Hoque, EVP & Head of Retail Distribution of Midland Bank Ltd. and Md. Al-Amin, Director, Sales & Marketing of The Westin, Dhaka, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations, at a simple ceremony. Under the agreement, MDB Visa credit cardholders will enjoy buy-one-get-one free buffet meal from The Westin Dhaka.
MOU Signed between LankaBangla Finance and Regent Airways
LankaBangla Finance Ltd (LBFL) has signed an MoU with Regent Airways for customer privileges at the board room of Lanka Bangla Finance on April 23. Head of retail finance of LBF Khurshed Alam, and marketing and sales director of Regent Airways Sohail Majid signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations. Under this MOU, LBF card members will enjoy EMI facilities for up to 6 months at 0% interest under the Ezypay scheme for buying air tickets and holiday packages from Regent Airways.
Jan-Mar quarter 2018: MFs’ earnings witness substantial fall due to sluggish capital market
The earnings of most of the mutual funds declined significantly in January-March quarter of 2018 than that of the same period of previous year mainly due to ‘correction’ in the capital market. The earnings per unit (EPU) of some mutual funds declined up to 88 per cent during the period of this year compared to the same period of previous year. Fund managers blamed the ‘sharp correction’ in broad index and daily market turnover for mutual funds’ poor EPU during the quarter when the DSEX, the broad index of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), declined 651 points as on March 29.
A Chinese consortium, comprising the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange, is likely to win approval from the members of the Dhaka Stock Exchange to become the strategic partner of the bourse. The exchange will hold an extraordinary general meeting today at the Purbani Hotel where its members are expected to give a nod to the proposal of the Chinese consortium.
Engr. Mosharraf Hussain has been elected chairman of Jamuna Bank recently, said a statement. He is the Managing Director of Standard Group, chairman of The Civil Engineers Ltd., Chairman of AMANN Bangladesh Ltd. (a Bangladesh-German joint venture company) and was the Founder Chairman of Standard Insurance Ltd. He was a CIP for many years.
Md. Ahsan Kabir Khan has been appointed as the Managing Director of Prime Finance & Investment Limited, according to a press release. Prior to appointment as Managing Director, he was the Additional Managing Director of the company and was responsible for major areas of operations. Mr Khan, an emerging leader in the financial institutions industry, has in his credit more than 22 years of experience of which 20 years in Prime Finance & Investment Limited.
NBR orders 15pc VAT collection on ads in digital social media
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has instructed its field-level offices to ensure collection of 15 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on advertisements in the digital social media. Companies providing advertisement in different internet services, Youtube, Facebook and paying royalty or charges, will have to pay 15 per cent VAT as per VAT Law-1991, said a recent instruction, signed by NBR second secretary (VAT Policy and Rules) Md Tariq Hassan. The instruction has been issued in a bid to collect proper VAT from the companies giving advertisements beyond the geographical boundary of Bangladesh, officials said. Officials expressed their doubt over collection of VAT from the overseas payments of social media’s advertisement bills, although there is a provision in this regard in the VAT law. The VAT wing of the NBR issued the instruction to the field-level VAT offices across the country and also gave a carbon copy (CC) to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor. The companies make overseas payments of the advertisement bills through Bangladesh Bank (BB) and other commercial banks, he said. Banks are supposed to deduct the VAT at a rate of 15 per cent from the advertisement bills before making the overseas payments. “The VAT offices will have to examine whether the banks are collecting the VAT properly,” the letter said.
Some 227 large companies still remain under the purview of the field-level Value Added Tax (VAT) offices despite having eligibility to come under the functional supervision of Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU). These companies are paying above Tk 50 million VAT annually to National Board of Revenue (NBR).
Bangla Trac’s 200 MW Unit starts power supply to national grid
Bangla Trac has started supply of electricity from its 200 MW power plant in Daudkandi of Cumilla, reports UNB. According to the company, the 200 MW Bangla Trac Power Unit-1 at Daudkandi was commissioned on April 24 and commenced the supply of electricity to the national grid. Earlier, Bangla Trac Unit -2, which was set up in Noapara of Jassor with generation capacity of 100 MW, was commissioned on April 16. With the latest 200 MW plant in Daudkandi, the total generation capacity of Bangla Trac, a local business group, reached 300 MW.
China has confirmed US $2.67 billion in loan for Bangladesh’s second-largest Padma railway link project, officials said. The confirmation came after Bangladesh and China signed an agreement in Beijing, giving new life to the struggling railway link project, which has been languishing since early 2016, they said. Additional secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) Md. Zahidul Haque and China EXIM Bank Vice President Sun Ping signed the loan agreement on Friday, AHM Jahangir, Economic Counsellor of Bangladesh Embassy in Beijing, told the FE. A seven-member Bangladesh delegation, led by Mr Haque, is now in China for signing the deal.
As Bangladesh is poised to graduate to a developing country, the government is getting prepared to claim new facilities in the global market, officials said. The national committee on export, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will sit soon to devise plans and prepare a list on the possible market facilities, they added. The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has recently prepared a list of such issues for discussion at the high-level meeting and sought opinion from the stakeholders. Officials said after graduation to a developing country, Bangladesh is likely to lose various trade facilities it has been enjoying as a least developed country (LDC). In such a situation, it is important to locate alternative trade facilities and claim those to keep up the pace of economic growth.
BIDA-DBCCI trade team holds B2B meetings in Brussels
The trade and investment delegation of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DBCCI) held 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.
Bangladesh could not reap the benefits of cross-border trade, as most of the country’s land-ports have remained unused, experts and people involved in such trade opined at a seminar on Sunday. They pointed out three major non-tariff barriers in this regard — lack of adequate physical infrastructure, procedural complexities and poor regulatory framework. They also focused on taking coordinated efforts from both Bangladesh and India to overcome the bottlenecks, and to enjoy shared socio-economic benefits as enjoyed during the British colonial regime. Terming Bangladesh’s geographical location as a transit point between South and Southeast Asia, they suggested adopting a broad-based multimodal regional connectivity approach by involving the private sector to expand trade towards the Southeast Asian economies and beyond. According to them, a truck or lorry loaded with import and export goods requires 35 days to reach its destination, and (of these days) 17 days are spent for clearance purposes only. The observations and suggestions came at a seminar — ‘Addressing land-port issues for better Indo-Bangla trade’ — arranged by India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) at a city hotel.
Trade and tourism fair: Indonesian firms bag $274m orders
Indonesian companies have received orders totalling US$274 million (Tk 22.5 billion) from Bangladeshi importers at the three-day ‘Indonesia Fair 2018’ that ended on Saturday. Deputy Trade Minister of Indonesia Arlinda disclosed the figure at the closing ceremony of the first ever trade and tourism fair held at Le Meridien Hotel in Dhaka. The fair saw $274 million worth of business deals with Bangladeshi importers on various Indonesian products such as carriages, motor vehicle (buses), spices, cosmetics, fashion and food commodities, she said. Nearly ten thousand visitors thronged the fair organised by the Indonesian Embassy in cooperation with the Ministry of Trade of Indonesia and Indonesia-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. During the event, an Indonesian trade mission comprising representatives from more than 45 companies came to Bangladesh to join Business Forum and Business Matching. The Indonesian Trade Mission has also paid a site visit to Meghna Group of Industries (MGI), an importer of Indonesian products such as CPO, pulp and paper, and clinker.
‘Govt to fix LPG price at tolerable level for customers’
Initiatives are underway to fix the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at tolerable level for the customers’, Power and Energy State Minister said Saturday. “Moves are underway to fix the price of LP gas for the end-level customers with the support of all stakeholders including manufacturing companies and LPG association,” State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) Nasrul Hamid said. He also said the association of LPG distributors should protect customers’ interest in tandem with their business interest. The state minister was speaking at the launching ceremony of Petromax LPG, held at the city’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), as the chief guest.
The first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) shipment, which arrived on Tuesday, will enjoy duty-benefit through an undertaking. The importer of LNG will be able to release goods enjoying exemption from the payment of all types of import duties except 15 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) and 2.0 per cent Advance Income tax (AIT). The first LNG cargo of QatarGas aboard arrived at the Moheshkhali LNG terminal for re-gasification. The customs wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) instructed the Chittagong Custom House to permit the release of LNG after an undertaking from the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.
Almost three years have elapsed since Reliance Group of India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for making an investment worth $3.0 billion in power and energy sector in Bangladesh, reports UNB. Nearly 35 months down the line Reliance is yet to rollout the investment as it could not sign a final deal with the government, official sources at the Power and Energy Ministry told the news agency. Intending to set up a 3,000-megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant and a 500 mmcfd LNG terminal in Bangladesh, Reliance signed the MoU during Indian Prime Minister Norendra Modi’s Dhaka visit in early June, 2015. Import of liquefied natural gas (LNG), use of the required gas at the power plant and also selling of the remaining portion of the imported gas to Bangladesh government were all parts of Reliance’s initial plan.
Workplace safety at centre of ‘sustainable garment growth’
Lauding the progress so far made in the country’s readymade garment (RMG) sector in ensuring safety, participants at a programme on Saturday stressed continuation of the same for sustainable growth of the industry. The programme was held at the Krishibid Institute in the city in observance of National Day on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). A total of 10 garment factories have been awarded for maintaining high safety and health standards for workers in their units. The factories are: Wisdom Attires, Fakir Fashion, Knit Concern, Hop Lun Apparels, Square Fashions, Snowtex Outwear, Ecotex, Tarashima Apparels, Viyellatex and AKH Eco Apparels. State Minister for Labour Md Mujibul Haque handed over the ‘Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Good Practice Award’ to the representatives of the factories.
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited has started exporting Methocarbamol to the US market. The first consignment was delivered on April 21 and it was the third product from the country’s leading manufacturer and exporter of medicines. The company earlier launched Carvedilol and Sotalol in August 2016 and November 2017, respectively. Methocarbamol is generic equivalent to muscle relaxant drug Robaxin from Auxilium Pharmaceuticals. According to IQVIA market data, the US market for Methocarbamol is currently valued at US$ 23.37 million. Beximco Pharma managing director Nazmul Hassan MP says: “The export of our third product to the US further builds our presence in the world’s largest pharmaceutical market.” Beximco Pharma remains the only Bangladeshi company to export medicine to the US market following its manufacturing site approval by the US FDA in June 2015.
KSRM has recently signed an agreement with and China Communication Construction Company Ltd. (CCCC) to supply deformed bars for the construction of Karnaphuli Multi-Lane Road Tunnel, says a press statement. On behalf of KSRM Steel Plant LTD, Md Jashim Uddin, Senior DGM, Marketing and Sales, and Sujon Kumar Dey, Sr. Manager, Marketing and Sales, and on behalf of the China Communication Construction Company LTD (CCCC), Ma Juei, Project Manager S-1, and Feng Juki, Procurement Leader, signed the agreement.
To further accelerate the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in Bangladesh, Grameenphone and DataSoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It will help develop comprehensive IoT solutions for businesses that will leverage both DataSoft’s IoT application development capabilities and Grameenphone’s M2M Connectivity Plan and managed IoT Platform, according to a statement. The MoU signing ceremony was held at the corporate headquarters of Grameenphone “GPHouse” in Bashundhara recently. The ‘connected revolution’ has the potential to enable an efficient use of scarce resources, automate routine manual tasks, and improve decision-making across sectors such as utilities, manufacturing, automotive, transportation,and logistics, to name a few.
Monitoring centre for telecom services on cards: BTRC
The telecom regulator plans to set up a separate monitoring centre for about Tk 15 crore as part of its efforts to improve the quality of services in Bangladesh. All telecom service providers, including mobile operators, WiMAX and internet service providers will have to be connected with the centre, said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. The main part of the centre will be called the monitoring and data management system and through it the BTRC will ensure the quality of data, network and services of the operators. The other part will deal with the customer complaints and ensure compliance, according to Mahmood. Currently, there is no digital system for the BTRC to monitor the service quality of operators, said a top official of the regulator.
Bangladesh’s ride-hailing firm Pathao has closed a pre-Series B financing from a number of investors including Go-Jek, at a valuation of over $100 million, according to a company statement published in DEALSTREETASIA. Other investors in the round include Openspace Ventures (formerly NSI Ventures), Osiris Group and Battery Road Digital Holdings, Pathao said in an official statement. While the quantum of funds raised in the pre-Series B round was not disclosed, The Information had previously reported that the company was looking to raise at least $30 million. Pathao CEO Hussain M Elius told DEALSTREETASIA that the fresh funds will be used for “continued growth in more cities, expansion of food vertical and launch of PathaoPay”. Based in Dhaka, Pathao started offering motor-taxis services in the densely populated Bangladeshi capital in 2017. The company now boasts over one million rides and fulfils over 100,000 deliveries each month.
Women workers’ participation in the country’s trade unions (TUs) and other platforms is still very limited despite their active role in labour rights movements at grassroots level, a study has revealed. Loopholes in labour law, conflict of interests among co-workers and male counterparts’ dominating attitude are key challenges to women’s participation in labour rights organisations at desired level, it said. Besides, the study said, female workers’ responsibilities in household chores in addition to their respective workplaces, and sexual abuses by trade union leaders are also liable for holding them back. The findings of the study titled ‘Barriers to women’s participation in trade unions and labour organisations’ were revealed by Bangladesh Shrama Institute (BASHI) –Bangladesh Labour Institute-at a press conference held at the National Press Club on Sunday.
The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) is going to place its budget proposals to the finance minister today (Monday), suggesting creating a better economic environment which will help attain eight per cent GDP growth in the fiscal year (FY) 2018-19. Emphasising the need for proper policies of empowerment, encouragement, engagement and environment, the trade promotion body will also call for reforms in economic and trade policies. A DCCI delegation led by its president Abul Kasem Khan will meet with finance minister AMA Muhith with a package of recommendations for the upcoming budget.
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