The government has appointed new managing directors (MDs) to three state-owned banks as the posts remained vacant for over a month. The Bank and Financial Division under the Finance Ministry yesterday issued a circular over the appointment the new MDs. According to the circular, Karmasangsthan Bank Managing Director Md Obayed Ullah Al Masud has been appointed as Sonali Bank MD while Ansar VDP Unnayan Bank Managing Director Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam as Agrani Bank MD, while Probashi Kallyan Bank Managing Director Ataur Rahman as Rupali Bank MD. Earlier on June 29, Bangladesh Bank dismissed Syed Abdul Hamid from his post of managing director in Agrani Bank over a loan scam.
Higher capital requirement to meet Basel-III obligation and the deadweight of classified loans have resulted in capital shortfall in eight banks and substantial erosion in the surplus capital of 48 others. The aggregate capital surplus of all banks came down to BDT 10.8 billion as on March 31 from BDT 23.96 billion three months before, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. Under the roadmap for implementation of the Basel-III framework, the banks will have to maintain 10.6% of capital to risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR) under the Basel-III standard in 2016 instead of 10.0% for 2015. Such higher requirements have already come into effect from the Q1 of this calendar year aiming to strengthen stability in the banking sector, they explained. The banks will have to maintain 11.25% CRAR by 2017 and 11.88% by 2018. Finally in 2019, it will hit the desired level of 12.5%, according to the roadmap. The declining trend in surplus capital also pushed down the CRAR of all banks to 10.6% in the Q1 of this year. It was 10.8% of the previous quarter of the last year under Basel-III calculations. The amount of NPLs swelled by more than 15.0% to BDT 594.1 billion during the Q1 of this year from BDT 513.71 billion in the preceding quarter. The total regulatory capital rose to BDT 756.12 billion during the January-March period from BDT 753.5 billion in the final quarter of the last calendar year, the BB data showed.
MRA scraps licences of 95 MFIs for breach of rules
The licences of 95 microfinance institutions (MFIs) have been cancelled by the regulator for breach of set rules and regulations guiding micro-credit operations, officials said. Of the total, the licences of 79 MFIs were cancelled until July last since its inception while those of two were withheld, they said, adding that the licences of 16 MFIs approved temporarily have also been cancelled by the Micro-credit Regulatory Authority (MRA). Currently, 676 MFIs are registered with the regulator and 192 others have got licences temporarily from it. These registered NGOs are serving more than 40 million people of the country.
NBR sticks to levying VAT, Income Tax on savings tools’ sales commission received by banks
The revenue authority sticks to its decision to levy both VAT and income tax on banks’ commission against sales of government savings tools despite the central bank’s disagreement over such ‘double taxation’. Officials said the Value Added Tax (VAT) wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) recently clarified its stand following objection raised by the Bangladesh Bank. The government’s revenue board deducts 15% VAT and 10% income tax on the commission earned by the scheduled banks against the sale of prize bonds and different other savings tools issued by government for domestic borrowing. The BB earlier in a letter sought NBR’s opinion over the issue. It sought to know whether it is double taxation or double deduction of taxes on the commission. In response, the VAT policy wing said income tax and VAT are two different types of taxes which are enforced under different laws.
Last fiscal’s FDI flow touches USD 2.0 billion mark
The net inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) touched USD 2.0 billionin the last fiscal year (FY16), according to the latest statistics available with Bangladesh Bank. The amount was 9.34% more than USD 1.83 billion received in the FY 15. It was for the first time that the country’s FDI inflow reached USD 2.0 billion in any fiscal year. In the calendar year (January-December) also, the FDI crossed the USD 2.0 billion mark, when the inflow stood at USD 2.23 billion in 2015. All the details of the last fiscal fiscal’s FDI inflow are not yet available. According to the data for first quarter (January to March) of the current calendar year available with the BB, 10 multi-national entities (MNEs) accounted for nearly half the net inflow in the country. The FDI from the 10 MNEs stood at USD 199.0 million during the period. The 10 MNEs include Chevron Bangladesh, Grameenphone, YKK Bangladesh, Standard Chartered Bank, British American Tobacco, HSBC, Young one (CEPZ), Berger Paints, Orascom Telecom and Nestle.
Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) to borrow USD 184.5 million from China Exim Bank
Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) is set to borrow USD 184.5 million from China Exim Bank for the purchase of six new vessels, according to the GTR (Global Trade Review). The agreement marks the conclusion of a financial saga that stretches back four years, when BSC (Bangladesh Shipping Corporation) signed a memorandum with the Chinese government to purchase the ships, said the GTR, adding that the project was approved by the Bangladeshi government in 2015 and the ships are now set for a delivery date in 2018. The pricing of the loan is 2.0% over 20 years, with a five-year grace period, it said. According to the GTR, the framework is under that of Chinese government concessional loans. The loan will be disbursed in Chinese currency totaling Rmb1.2b, as per the request of the Bangladeshi government. The BSC is a state-owned but autonomously operated company which operates a fleet of ships and tankers typically used for exporting garments and importing crude oil from the Middle East, it said. Three of the vessels will be oil tankers. The other three are bulk carriers. Their addition will bring the total BSC fleet to 19 – the first upgrade it has undergone since the early 1990s, said the GTR.
The official process of liquidating Citycell, country’s oldest cell-phone operator, began as the telecommunications ministry decided Tuesday to cancel its license for nonpayment of BDT 4.775 billion in arrears to the exchequer. State Minister for Telecommunications Tarana Halim at a press briefing in ministry’s conference room said approval for switching off the mobile operator would be sought from government high-ups, and the process would start Wednesday. The 0.7 million subscribers of the country’s lone CDMA operator has been given seven more days to switch sides to other operators for cell-phone services. Earlier on July 31, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in a public notice asked Citycell subscribers to shift to other operators by August 16. According to BTRC’s public notice, published in the media, the dues of Citycell include spectrum renewal fees worth BDT 2.3 billion, annual license fee BDT 100.0 million, annual spectrum fee BDT 271.4 million, value added tax BDT 399.2 million and late fee BDT 1.4 billion. Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd (the owning company of Citycell) was given license in 1989. It later started operations in 1993. Singapore’s SingTel owns 44.5%, Pacific Motors 38.0% and Far East Telecom 17.5% shares of Citycell.
Poultry industry moves to next step of development
The poultry industry is in a new phase of development, with an increasing number of poultry giants going for integrated farming to market chicken meat and eggs.After the entry of Aftab Bahumukhi Farms, CP Bangladesh and Kazi Farms, another leading breeder, Paragon, has signed up for marketing eggs, dressed or processed chicken, and chicken-based ready-to-cook products that will be produced in its own farm. The trend will not only create competition among the industry operators to ensure safe and hygienic poultry products but may also force many small farmers to quit farming, said analysts.
Bangladesh’s wheat imports may rise about 1 percent year-on-year to 44 lakh tonnes this fiscal year, thanks to strong domestic demand and lower international prices, according to the US Department of Agriculture. However, rice imports may decline to 1.5 lakh tonnes, owing to an increase in import tariff on the staple, the agency said in its July issue of Grain and Feed Update on Bangladesh. “The added 25 percent tariff on rice imports further affected import prospects,” said USDA. Rice imports fell 83 percent to 2.57 lakh tonnes in fiscal 2015-16 after the government imposed a total of 20 percent duty last year to protect growers from losses, resulting from the falling prices of the staple, according to the food ministry.
Foreign buyers resume B’desh visit as police giving escorts
Many of the foreign buyers have resumed visiting Bangladesh in recent days after a brief pause following two deadly extremist attacks in July as the Industrial Police are giving them round-the-clock security from arrival to departure, said garment factory owners. They said that some buyers had suspended Bangladesh visit soon after the attacks at Gulshan in Dhaka on July 1 and at Sholakia in Kishoreganj on July 7. In the Gulshan attack, 28 people including 17 foreigners were killed. Leaders of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said that many factory owners were taking police protection for their foreign buyers through the BGMEA and some were taking the facility directly from the Industrial Police. Some of the buyers are getting security from their supplier companies as they are not willing to take police protection, BGMEA leaders said.
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