The board of the central bank decided to give incentives four times the basic salary of the BB officials for the financial year 2015-16 instead of the existing practice of five times. The decision came at the board meeting held on Monday at the central bank headquarters. The central bank officials demonstrated against the decision yesterday on the bank premises. Every year BB announces incentives for officials before finalising its financial statement. Subhankar Saha, executive director of Bangladesh Bank, said they had been getting financial incentives five times their basic salary for many years. The board decided to cut it which stoke dissatisfaction among the officials.
Bangladesh may face BDT 22.0 billion additional UK tariff due to Brexit
Key industries in Bangladesh and other Commonwealth nations could take massive hits if appropriate steps are not taken following Britain’s departure from the European Union, policy experts’ analysis made this forecast in two new research papers over so-called Brexit. ‘Brexit is a journey into unknown trading arrangements, both for the UK dealing with the EU, and the UK’s trading relationship with a large number of developing countries. Many have benefited from EU trade preferences,’ said Mohammad Razzaque, head of the Secretariat’s international trade policy section. The analysis is part of the Secretariat’s peer reviewed ‘Trade Hot Topics’ series. The latest papers suggest that the uncertainties caused by Brexit may weaken the chances of world economic recovery. This in turn will have severe implications for many developing and so- called least developed countries or LDCs. Razzaque warns that if equivalent provisions are not provided while the UK leaves the EU, it could mean additional annual export duties of more than 600 million pound sterling for these countries. ‘For 36 Commonwealth developing countries, this potential tax hike could be as high as 1.0% of their total exports to the UK,’ he said. ‘For the likes of Bangladesh, Mauritius, Seychelles and Swaziland this could be more than 10.0%,’ he added. ‘Let’s take Bangladesh as an example,’ said Razzaque. ‘Unless similar EU trade preferences are maintained by the UK, Bangladesh will have to pay 220 million pound sterling [BDT 22.0 billion] in tariffs to UK customs.’
GPH signs contract with Chinese company for gas plant
Bangladesh is going to install a daily 250 metric ton (MT) production capacity cryogenic Air Separation Plant (ASP) of sophisticated technology and global standard. This will be the first ever high capacity ASP plant in Bangladesh. GPH ispat ltd is going to build the plant with the technical support of a Chinese company. Additional Managing Director of the GPH ispat ltd Md Almas Shimul Monday signed an agreement to this regard with Shan Kai, Vice General Manage of Sichuan Air Separation Plant Group (SASPG) Co Limited of China at the GPH corporate office at Asadgonj in the city. Managing Director of GPH ispat Md Jahangir Alam, GM of SASPG Zhou Shumming, Director (Overseas) Yang Jianyong and GM Yang Meiyuan were present on the occasion. Providing data and statistics Mohammed Jahangir Alam said other Air Separation Plant such as Linde Bangladesh Ltd (former BOC) has a daily production capacity of 80 MT on an average, while the GPH plant will produce 250 MT of gas per day. He said that they will produce industrial and medical gas in addition to the gas for the local marketing at a cheap rate. This plant will produce purely 99.99% oxygen, 99.99% nitrozen and 99.99% argon gas besides producing liquefied gas.
Mobile operators and other players should be allowed to provide mobile financial services (MFS), in a bid to ensure competition and benefit the masses through financial inclusion, State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim said at a roundtable yesterday. Tarana said the telecom and banking regulators should work together to formulate a model of regulation, which will help the operators and existing players to enter digital financial services. Such a move will allow MFS to cover more unbanked people, she said. Marginal people and others who live in hard-to-reach areas need to be brought under the banking network, Tarana said at the discussion on “financial inclusion in Bangladesh: opportunities, challenges and way forward through digital financial services” organized by Telecom Reporters’ Network, Bangladesh (TRNB). Emphasising partnerships for an MFS ecosystem, she said there is no monopoly created by the government. Rather, bKash, an MFS provider, has established a monopoly on the industry by dint of its own quality and services, she added. Of the total mobile money, bKash controls more than 90%, by their outstanding efforts in bringing people under the banking network.
Garment exporters’ costs spiral in the aftermath of café attack
The recent Dhaka café attack has pushed up the cost of doing business for the local apparel makers, even if the sector has so far managed to avoid negative impact on overseas sales, industry insiders have said. They said many garment exporters are now incurring additional costs on account of extra security measures needed to avert any untoward incidents and protect foreign nationals working for the apparel industry. Besides, some apparel exporters have to go abroad for negotiating their business deals with buyers as foreigners are now reluctant to visit Bangladesh in the wake of the recent terror attacks, they said. Majority of the factories have already installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras to strengthen their protective measures and those who have no such system have started setting up the facility, Md Shahidullah Azim, a former Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) leader, said. The additional security measures have increased expenditure, though the amount is negligible compared to export earnings. Regarding the third country meeting, he said if the meeting is in Asia, at least BDT 0.4 to 0.6 million needs to pay as couple of factory people including the merchandiser have to join the team of business dealings.
The US government is accepting applications from countries for trade benefits to the American market, in what is a stroke of good fortune for Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been lobbying hard with the US government for the reinstatement of its Generalized System of Preferences scheme, which was suspended in June 2013 on grounds of serious shortcomings in workplace safety and labor rights. Bangladesh has since submitted its progress report on workplace safety upgrades twice to the United States Trade Representative, the chief trade negotiation body for the American government, but they were deemed insufficient. Now, Bangladesh has the opportunity to present its case once again. The USTR will receive applications until October 4, according to a notice of the trade representative. Under the GSP program, about 5,000 products from 122 developing countries and territories, including 43 least-developed countries, get duty-free access to the US market.
Cellphone use sees biggest monthly falloff in July
The number of mobile phone users dropped steeply in July, the latest data showed, as the base saw its biggest monthly decline in the aftermath of biometric re-registration. According to the data published by Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Tuesday, the number of mobile subscribers at the end of July 2016 stood at 128.9 million, down by around 2.4 million a month earlier. The number of mobile subscribers has been on the wane since December last year when the government ordered re-registration of all mobile SIMS in an attempt to curb the use of mobile phones for criminal activities. However, this is the biggest monthly decline in terms of subscription since January 2016 when the mobile operators all together lost 1.8 million in a single month. In total, the country’s mobile subscription has shrunk by 4.8 million in the first seven months of 2016, as per the figures of the telecom regulator.
The number of active mobile internet connections crossed the six-crore mark in Bangladesh at the end of July, according to data released by the regulator yesterday. The number of mobile internet connections reached 60.4 million or 94.5% of the total internet connections of 63.9 million in July, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said. The number of active internet connections went up by 3.79 lakh in July. Of the total connections, fixed internet connections stood at 3.8 million and WiMAX at 108,000, which is continuously declining, BTRC said in a report. Active mobile SIMs declined 1.9% to 128.9 million in July, compared to the previous month. The industry started feeling the impact of biometric re-registration, two months after the operators deactivated the unregistered SIMs, sector leaders said. Any SIM unused in the last 90 days is counted as an inactive connection.
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