Bangladesh goes up 28 notches
Bangladesh went up 28 notches in the anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing (AML/CTF) index of the Basel Institute on Governance — a development that will come as a pat on the back for the government. The country came in at No. 82 out of 146 in the 2017 edition of the Basel AML Index, up from its previous spot of 54. Bangladesh’s score this year was 5.79, down from its last year score of 6.40. As per the score, Bangladesh is among the 100 medium-risk countries, including India that managed a score of 5.58. Neighbouring Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and even Thailand fall in the high-risk category. The report said Bangladesh saw a big jump in its ranking due to the results of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation Report in October 2016. Bangladesh Bank in a statement yesterday said the country implemented all 40 of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering’s recommendations.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) plans fresh agri loans for flood-hit farmers
Bangladesh Bank considers providing fresh agricultural loans to flood-hit farmers so that they can recover losses from damaged crops. The central bank is now working to identify the affected areas across the country where fresh loans and other facilities will be provided, said a senior executive of Bangladesh Bank. An internal meeting in this regard was held yesterday.
Government set to cut capital market re-finance scheme interest rate by 1.5%
The government is set to reduce the rate of interest from existing 7.5% to 6.0% on the loans disbursed under the capital market refinancing scheme, officials said. It has taken the move to ensure full utilization of undisbursed loan funds, they said, adding that the government is going to cut the interest rate by 1.5% for the third time. In June 2016, the government reduced the interest rate by 1.5%. At present, the interest rate is 7.5% which was 9.0% according to the main policy of the scheme. Over BDT 2.57 billion of BDT 9.0-billion capital market refinancing funds remains unutilized due to poor response from the investors who got affected during the 2010-11 stock market crash. Despite repeated attempts, the fund supervision committee and Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) could not disburse over BDT 2.57 billion of the affected-small investors’ assistance fund, an ICB official said.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) eases financing process for importing raw materials
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has eased the process of issuing repayment guarantee for facilitating import of industrial raw materials, reports BSS. BB, however, said that the guarantees without its approval should only be issued in favour of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group created to help improve trade in Islamic countries. BB also said that the short term buyer’s credit would be given for up to 180 days for import of industrial raw materials for own use by the importers.
NBR may phase out truncated VAT rates
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is likely to phase out truncated or reduced rates of value added tax (VAT) way before the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 comes into effect, officials said yesterday. The revenue administration is taking the initiative following Finance Minister AMA Muhith’s instruction to take steps to gradually phase out such rates of VAT, which is determined on administered value of certain services. It means that rates of truncated VAT will have to be increased to 15 percent now applicable on most of the goods and services, said officials of NBR. The rates of VAT fixed on truncated bases fall below the standard rate of VAT at 15 percent on goods and services. Currently, taxmen collect VAT on truncated rates from 19 services such as that of electricity, motor garage and workshops, realtors, jewellers and English medium schools. The rates of truncated VAT range from 1.5 percent to 10 percent, according to the NBR.
HSBC will continue to invest in Bangladesh
Banking giant HSBC will continue to invest in Bangladesh to meet the growing consumer needs, maintain its pole position as the leading trade finance bank and grow further, a senior executive of the UK-based Asia-focused lender said. “Consumer demand is changing and will trigger a need for businesses to evolve. At HSBC, we want to invest in the growing consumer needs, which will enable us to maintain our market leadership position,” said Ajay Sharma, regional head for global trade and receivables finance at HSBC Asia Pacific. Last week, he was in Dhaka to launch a new mobile banking application for exporters and importers in Bangladesh to give them an edge in tracking international trade transactions digitally.
Thirty-nine foreign firms submit EoIs to supply LNG