Accord to launch inspection of RMG Boilers
Amid opposition from the leaders of Readymade Garment (RMG) sector, the western retailers’ platform Accord has announced launching fresh boiler safety inspection in its listed 1,600 local factories from next month. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said it cannot accept the boiler safety audits to be integrated into the Accord’s inspection and remedial programmes at this late stage of the timeline when so many factories have nearly completed their remediation efforts based on Accord’s prescription. The Accord will commence conducting initial boiler safety inspections at Accord-covered factories in September 2019. The platform took the move based on the findings revealed through one of its pilot boiler safety programme conducted in September to December period of last year. As part of the pilot programme, 35 boilers were inspected at 17 Accord-covered factories, which provided information on a representative sample of boilers used in RMG factories in Bangladesh. Significant boiler safety hazards including non-compliant or missing boiler components/parts and a lack of certification were revealed by the pilot inspection. Some 19 out of 35 inspected boilers could not undergo all stages of inspection because the boiler equipment at the factories were inadequate or defective, it found.
Four Z-category cos under DSE Scanner
The country’s premier bourse will inspect the business affairs of four ‘Z’ category companies which failed to declare dividends for a period of last five years. In last week, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) allowed the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) to conduct this inspection. The companies whose business affairs will be examined are ICB Islamic Bank, Information Services Network, United Airways and Beach Hatchery. Earlier, on July 14 the premier bourse sought permission from the securities regulator to look into the business affairs of these companies. As per the regulatory permission, the DSE will investigate the operational status and other relevant issues of the companies. The four companies whose business affairs will be inspected were also in the list of 15 companies. The other companies which were reviewed by the DSE are Meghna Pet Industries, Meghna Condensed Milk Industries, Imam Button, Kay and Que, Savar Refractories, Dulamia Cotton Spinning Mills, Samata Leather Complex, Shyampur Sugar Mills, Zeal Bangla Sugar Mills, Beximco Synthetics, Jute Spinners, Shinepukur Ceramics and Sonargaon Textiles.
NBR plans big to monitor Store Sales
The revenue authority plans to buy a total of 300,000 sales monitoring devices this fiscal year to bring all shops under an online network and cut the scope for VAT evasion. The government already gave approval to purchase 100,000 such Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) for Tk 316 crore ($37.5 million) from a consortium led by Shenzhen-based SZZT Electronics. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has awarded the contract to the consortium, which was the lowest bidder in a tender floated to buy the devices. The Tk 690-crore project aims at automating the VAT system and is also assigned to oversee the establishment of the sales monitor—an EFD management system—which will connect the devices at sales points with the revenue authority through internet. The finance minister earlier said the devices would be provided to shops at Tk 32,000 and they would pay back in instalments. Two years ago, the NBR decided to buy the devices and distribute them among relatively large retailers as well as wholesalers in order to implement the VAT law 2012, which came into effect in July this year. VAT is the biggest source of revenue for the government, accounting for 37 percent of the total annual tax collection. But taxmen and economists say the overall collection is less than the amount expected, given the level of economic activities in Bangladesh. The country, despite registering higher economic growth, collects in tax less than 10 percent of $300 billion GDP. The tax-to-GDP ratio of Bangladesh is one of the lowest in the world.
IMF projects 7.6pc GDP growth this Fiscal Year
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected Bangladesh’s economic growth to be 7.6 percent this fiscal year, which is 0.6 percentage points lower than the government’s projection of 8.2 percent. Yet, the growth rate projected for Bangladesh is the highest in the South Asia region, according to the IMF’s South Asian Update, which was released last week. Despite the positive near-term outlook, maintaining the past growth performance will become more challenging in future and will require further increase in investment and upgrading the policymaking practices and institutions. India will have the second highest growth in the region at 7.2 percent, followed by Bhutan and Nepal at 6.3 percent and Sri Lanka at 4 percent. Pakistan will have the lowest economic growth in the region at 2.4 percent. IMF also upgraded Bangladesh’s growth estimate for last fiscal year. Earlier in April, the Washington-based multilateral lender had projected Bangladesh’s economic growth to be 7.3 percent in fiscal 2018-19. But now IMF estimates Bangladesh will log in 8 percent growth in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistic’s provisional estimate say the GDP growth was 8.13 percent. Domestic revenue collection needs to increase to provide fiscal space for growth-enhancing public investment and social spending. Reflecting tight expenditure control, fiscal 2018-19’s budget deficit is expected to remain within 5 percent of GDP and the public debt-GDP ratio broadly stable.
Padma Bank struggles to return Fixed Deposits
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Employees’ Pension Fund had parked Tk 17 crore as fixed deposit with the Motijheel branch of Padma Bank on June 28 last year. The deposit matured this year and on June 27 the trustee board of the fund wrote to the bank to cash out the fixed deposit. But Padma, formerly known as Farmers Bank, has been unable to honour their request. Since the fixed deposit is yet to be cashed out, it has become difficult to settle the pension fund of retired employees of BIWTA and provide grants to the deceased. The letter called for necessary steps for cashing out the fixed deposit on an emergency basis. The Fund also wrote to the central bank, urging it to direct the private bank to repay the sum. The Central Bank also instructed Padma Bank to sit with government and non-government organisations in order to settle the fixed deposit, special notice deposit and call money. A total of 18 government organisations parked Tk 1,323 crore in deposits with the Padma Bank, according to the Central Bank. Of the sum, it has managed to return only Tk 87.47 crore. Padma Bank owes Tk 28.1 crore to Petrobangla, Tk 41.84 crore to Mongla Port Authority, Tk 109.08 crore to Jiban Bima Corporation, Tk 38.60 crore to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, Tk 170.29 crore to Chittagong Port Authority, Tk 541.31 crore to the Climate Trust Fund, and Tk 54 crore to Sonali Bank (in call money), and Tk 47.05 crore to the Bangladesh Power Development Board.
Plan on the anvil to export meat in large scale
Once highly dependent on Indian cattle for meeting the huge demand of sacrificial animals during Eid-ul-Azha, Bangladesh is now planning a large-scale export of cattle meat as local farms have staged a ‘quiet revolution’ in animal husbandry. Officials at the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) said they have taken various steps to boost the cattle meat export since the country’s number of surplus cattle has been growing significantly over the last few years with over one million (10 lac) this year alone, reports UNB. Experts think India’s ban on cattle export has encouraged many farmers, traders and unemployed educated youths to take up cattle farming to steadily turn the crisis into an opportunity to attain cattle autarky. In the last seven months of this year, only 92,000 cows were brought from India and Myanmar. People also now don’t want to buy Indian cattle. Our goat population is increasing substantially. The two companies now collect cows for beef export only from three upazilas in Pabna as those were announced free from HFMD.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|FTSE100|| 7,094.98|| ↓33.20 ||↓0.47%|
|Nikkei 225|| 20,710.91 ||↑82.90||↑0.40%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 54.17 ||↓1.18|| ↓2.13%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)|| $ 59.34||↓0.58||↓0.97%|
|Gold Spot|| $ 1,526.96 ||↑28.90||↑1.93%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 82.7930|
|GBP 1||BDT 101.681|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.2049|
|INR 1||BDT 1.15048|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<