Banks’ loan defaults continue to soar in 2016, rising 6.65% in the second quarter to BDT 633.7 billion. At the end of the first quarter, the total defaults stood at BDT 594.1 billion, according to central bank statistics. Defaults at the end of June were 10.1% of the total outstanding loans. On March 31, it was 9.92%, meaning the bad loans increased by 0.14% points over three months. The defaults of the six state-owned commercial banks swelled by BDT 27.9 billion to BDT 300.8 billion, which is 25.7% of their total outstanding loans. Of them, the two specialized banks’ defaults rose 17.0% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. In% terms, their default loans accounted for 26.1% of their total outstanding loans. In the second quarter, the bad loans in private banks decreased slightly. They dropped by BDT 160.0 million to BDT 253.2 billion, which is 5.4% of their total outstanding loans. Defaults at foreign banks were BDT 21.6 billion as of June, accounting for 8.33% of their total loans. At the end of March, they stood at BDT 18.2 billion, which was 7.5% of the total loans.
The decision was made at a recent meeting of the central bank’s supervision committee. The meeting stressed that the commercial banks will keep loan disbursement process safe from all sorts of fraud and put special importance on the matter. A report on visits by Bangladesh Bank officials to different branches of commercial banks was placed at the meeting. The report covered the situation of deposits, debts and letter of credit opening in the country’s commercial banks. Bangladesh Bank will ask the officials of commercial banks to properly scrutinise documents related with loans for export-import and also verify them online or through communication with relevant authorities.The meeting decided to ask banks to properly or physically verify quality of the collateral, warehouses and assets related to mortgages placed for loan approval.
The securities regulator has moved to introduce Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system to ease and speed up the data and information submission by market intermediaries and listed companies, officials said. After introduction of the e-data gathering system, all intermediaries and listed companies will have to submit data and information through the format set by the securities regulator. As part of its move to introduce the EDGAR system, a delegation of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) led by BSEC chairman Professor M Khairul Hossain recently held a meeting with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The other representatives of the securities regulator’s delegation were the BSEC commissioner Dr. Swapan Kumar Bala and BSEC executive director Mohammad Saifur Rahman. The EDGAR system performs automated collection, validation, indexing, acceptance, and forwarding of submissions by companies and other stakeholders.
The government has set an ambitious revenue target for the current fiscal year (FY) to recoup last year’s shortfall, Finance Minister Mr AMA Muhith said Tuesday, hoping to hit the spot. The government has handed the NBR BDT 2.0-trillion target for 2016-17 with an above 30.0% growth over last year’s revenue receipts worth BDT 1.6 trillion. It cut down the original revenue-collection target from BDT 1.8 trillion to BDT 1.5 trillion last FY following slower-than-expected growth in tax collection. A panel discussion by tax experts from both public and private sectors was held at the end of the programme. The panel responded to different queries from the stakeholders.
Petrobangla has been facing an acute shortage of funds due to the mismatch between procurement of gas and its sale, officials said. The Bangladesh Oil and Gas Corporation (BOGC) requires over BDT 54 billion immediately to make payments to Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and others, they added. Deficit is likely to stand at over BDT 38 billion in the current fiscal year for selling gas to the customers at lower prices and buying it at higher prices. Besides, it may stand at over BDT 15 billion during the period between December, 2015 and June 2016, they also mentioned. Gas produced by international oil companies (IOCs) is costlier than the selling price. As a result, the amount of deficit has been increasing. Besides, Petrobangla has to pay taxes in the form of different names, they said. The state-owned gas distribution companies under Petrobangla collected value added tax (VAT) and supplementary duty (SD) from their customers, but defaulted on payment of the same to the government, a source concerned said. Recently, BOGC has sought over BDT 54.43 billion as subsidy for the current and last fiscal years from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MoPEMR) aiming to bridge the price gap between procurement and selling, he said.
13 edible oil refineries fail to meet BSTI standard for fortification
Thirteen edible oil refineries out of 26, which signed memorandum of understanding with the industries ministry to fortify their brands with vitamin A, have failed to maintain the required standard of Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution and obtain licences. Despite having shortfall in required standard, 13 companies are still marketing edible oil violating rules and regulations of the Edible Oil Fortification with Vitamin A Act-2013. As per the rules and regulations, a refinery must sign MoU with the ministry first for the vitamin A fortification in edible oil and then BSTI is supposed to test the product of the company and give a certificate whether the product is properly fortified with vitamin A. Ministry officials said that a total of 10 refineries (soya bean and palm oil producers) and three rice bran oil refineries met the required standard and obtained BSTI licences. The ministry allowed them to use the logo of fortification as BSTI certified that the refineries fortified their brands with required level of Vitamin A, they said. The BSTI officials, however, said that a total of 11 refineries including rice bran oil mills obtained licences from the institute and 10 more refineries are in the process to meet the standard for getting fortification licenses. According to the planning wing under the industries ministry, the fortified edible oil brands under the 13 refineries are: Rupchanda of Bangladesh Edible Oil Ltd, Pusti of BDT Group, Veola, Teer of City Group, Fresh of Meghna Group, Nutrilife Rice Bran Oil of ACI Foods Ltd, Health Care of KBC Agro Products Ltd and Spandan of Emerald Oil Ltd.
Grameenphone yesterday launched its online e-commerce site—GP Shop—mainly to offer smart devices to customers. Customers can purchase the latest smartphones, wearable gadgets and internet modems with exclusive offers from the e-shop, officials of the mobile phone operator said at a press conference at the Westin Dhaka. This is the first e-commerce site by a mobile operator in Bangladesh. Customers can order the latest gadgets with the manufacturer’s warranty, pay through flexible monthly instalments and get nationwide home delivery, said Yasir Azman, chief marketing officer of Grameenphone.
Six firms submit proposals for mobile portability job
Six firms have submitted bidding proposals to be the operators for mobile number portability (MNP) in Bangladesh. “A total of 18 bidding documents were sold, but finally six firms have submitted proposals for the much-awaited MNP service,” Secretary and Spokesperson of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Sarwar Alam told BSS Tuesday. But he was reluctant to disclose the names and origins of the firms before publishing the short-list of the firms. The BTRC officials said Monday was the final day for submission of the tender documents on the rescheduled roadmap for MNP auction. September 21 has been fixed for the auction. Officials said among the firms, two or three companies from India and Russia are taking part in the bidding. Meanwhile, a preparatory meeting on the MNP was held Tuesday at the BTRC where procedure of the auction, especially short-listing criteria for eligible firms, was discussed
Telcos barred from giving secondary fibre connection
The telecom regulator has decided to bar mobile phone companies from providing secondary fibre optic connectivity to other operators. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission decision came at a regular meeting of the commission on Sunday. BTRC also decided that from now on any fibre optic connectivity should only be provided by the National Telecommunication Transmission Network operators. Earlier there was option for mobile phone operators to provide secondary fibre connection but we decided to bar that,’ BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told New Age on Tuesday. BTRC in 2009 issued NTTN license to Fiber@Home and Summit Communication Ltd in a bid to separate the transmission network, owned by the mobile operators at that time, from telecom operators. Later in 2014, the BTRC provided NTTN licence to three government entities, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Telecommunications Company and Bangladesh Railway.
BDT 2.8 billion for land acquisition of Munshiganj power plant
The government yesterday approved BDT 2.8 billion to acquire 300 acres of land for the 300 to 400-megawatt supercritical coal power plant it will build in Munshiganj. The Munshiganj power plant is one of the several that the government will build across the country as part of the power sector master plan. The supercritical power plants would require less coal per megawatt-hour, leading to lower emissions, including carbon dioxide and mercury, higher efficiency and lower fuel costs per megawatt. The plant in Munshiganj will be on the banks of Meghna river, where some 50 families live. The families will be rehabilitated elsewhere. The approval for land acquisition came at yesterday’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council. The Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh will implement the project. By 2030, some 50.0% of the total electricity generation will come from coal power plants. The ECNEC meeting also approved four other projects, which involve BDT 7.1 billion. One of the projects approved is for re-excavation and rehabilitation of ponds and water-bodies for supplying safe water.
Meghna Group of Industries will set up an import-substitute PVC manufacturing plant in its economic zone in Narayanganj with funds of $360 million or about Tk 2,822 crore from a Chinese firm. Chongqing Minmetal and Machinery Import and Export Co has already sanctioned the fund to help set up the unit — Meghna PVC Plant — in Meghna Economic Zone. PVC, which stands for polyvinyl chloride, is a petroleum byproduct and the raw material to produce different types of plastic products such as pipes, doors and hangers that are widely used in Bangladesh. Bangladesh imports around two lakh tonnes of PVC a year from Vietnam, Thailand, China and Taiwan to make plastic products, said Mostafa Kamal, chairman of Meghna Group.
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