BB launches special inspection of troubled Farmers Bank
The central bank has launched a special inspection of the problem-ridden Farmers Bank Limited (FBL) to assess its real financial health, after heads rolled over a crisis of the trouble-hit fourth-generation private commercial bank. “We’re investigating different branches to know actual financial position of the bank,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE Tuesday, without elaborating. Sources, however, said two of the branches — Gulshan and Motijheel — along with the bank’s headquarters, have already been investigated by the BB inspectors. They also said the central bank will take next course of action after receiving the inspection report.
PKB becomes scheduled bank by January
Probashi Kallyan Bank (PKB) is set to go into operation as a scheduled bank by January as the Wage Earners’ Welfare Fund (WEWF) has resolved fund-related complexities, sources said. The specialised bank has now a shortfall of Tk 2.50 billion paid-up capital for its conversion into commercial one. Of the amount, Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) will provide Tk 2.35 billion while Tk 150 million will come from the Finance Division, a meeting has decided recently. The finance secretary chaired the meeting.
Good governance drives growth of IDLC Finance
When the banking sector is facing slowdown amid crises such as loan scams and undue meddling of boards, IDLC Finance Ltd has kept up its strong growth on the back of good governance practices. “IDLC outshined 45 banks in terms of profit and the magic behind the stellar performance is efficient and empowered management,” said Arif Khan, chief executive officer of the largest non-bank financial institution in Bangladesh. “IDLC has become a model in the financial sector by practising good governance,” he told The Daily Star in an interview last week. According to Khan, boards are the source of all troubles and many banks are in a tight corner because of such interference. “At IDLC, all are empowered at their own desk and loan approving process is decentralised.”.
Import orders hit record high
The value of letters of credit opened in November recorded an all-time high of $16.33 billion riding on huge import orders by Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. Bangladesh Bank data showed that the BAEC alone opened LCs worth $11.38 billion last month through state-owned Sonali Bank to set up the power plant, the first of its kind in the country. Bangladesh’s import orders have never crossed $6 billion in a single month. JSC Atomstroyexport, a Russian contractor, will build the power plant at a cost of $12.65 billion. Moscow will give 90 percent of the fund for Bangladesh’s largest-ever infrastructure project under an agreement with Dhaka. The remaining 10 percent will be provided by Bangladesh.
Two donors may finance another metro rail line
The government is expecting to get necessary fund from two development partners for implementing another metro rail line (Hemayetpur-Gabtoli-Notun Bazar route) in the city. A mission from Asian Development Bank (ADB) during its visit to Dhaka last week already assured of financing the mass rapid transit line-5 (MRT-5), sources said. Another mission from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will arrive in the city soon to hold discussion on funding the project. JICA had earlier dropped a broad hint to finance a part of the project, they added. The agency is already providing support to conduct the feasibility study and detailed design work of the 20-kilometre line. “This section is likely to be implemented through co-financing of the JICA and ADB,” said a source, preferring not to be named.
Unclaimed goods weigh on customs houses
Over 32.5 lakh tonnes of imported goods worth Tk 9,509 crore have been lying unclaimed for months, harming trading activities at 17 sea and land customs houses and stations across the country. Over 100 types of goods, including commodities, food, cosmetics, chemicals, plastic products, electronics, leather goods and construction materials, were imported through 16,015 consignments from July last year to mid October this year, according to the National Board of Revenue data. Neither the importers took delivery nor did the customs authorities auction off the goods, although the official rule is to sell the goods if they are not taken away within a month of arrival. The goods have started degrading in quality and are occupying valuable space and obstructing port activities, port users said. The government is losing revenue for the abandoned goods, said Md Lutfor Rahman, member, customs policy of NBR.
India’s Reliance to get $583m from ADB
The Asian Development Bank plans to provide India’s Reliance Group with $583 million to help set up a power plant and a floating LNG terminal in Bangladesh. Yesterday, the board of directors of the Manila-based donor approved debt financing and partial risk guarantees to develop the Reliance Bangladesh Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Power Project. The $1 billion project, which includes a power generation facility in Meghnaghat and an LNG terminal near Kutubdia, will significantly increase power generation and improve energy infrastructure in Bangladesh, ADB said. “ADB’s partnership with Reliance Power will help Bangladesh scale up its energy infrastructure to sustain and support the country’s economic growth,” said Michael Barrow, director general of ADB’s private sector operations department. “ADB’s role as a direct lender and guarantee provider will enable Reliance Power to mobilise much needed long-term debt financing and help attract new lenders to Bangladesh.” Diversifying Bangladesh’s sources of energy is critical for the country as demands for natural gas have placed significant pressures on the country’s domestic gas reserves, the ADB said in a statement.
Govt asked to pay PDB’s deficit as grant
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission has asked the government to provide fund to the state-run Power Development Board in grants to offset deficit it incurs mainly due to power purchase from rental plants at high cost and selling at lower rates to the distribution utilities. The BERC order published on Sunday will ultimately result in writing off more than Tk 44,000 crore the government had lent to PDB in last 11 years with a three per cent interest until June 2017, said commission officials.
BD-Bhutan transit deal stalls over validity, bank guarantee issues
Bilateral transit between Bangladesh and Bhutan looks way off as they couldn’t agree on terms of bank guarantee and validity of the treaty in their latest meeting, officials said. A meeting of the Bangladesh-Bhutan Joint Working Group on Transit and Protocol in Dhaka last week could not finalise the text as officials from Thimphu said they needed further consultation with stakeholders to give a decision, they added. The previous transit deal between the two countries, signed in 1980, expired in 2000. Bhutan, being a landlocked mountainous country, is interested to sign the transit deal as part of its effort to use Bangladeshi seaports for carrying out overseas trade. At the meeting Dhaka demanded that Bhutanese businessmen execute bank guarantee against each of the consignments to be transited through Bangladesh territory. Thimphu agreed to furnish bond instead. Officials said the Bhutanese side did not agree to furnish bank guarantee as there is monetary involvement with it. However, the delegation members even could not confirm what kind of bond they want to execute instead of bank guarantee. Bangladesh sought bank guarantee equivalent to taxes and duties to be applicable lest any consignment should be offloaded on Bangladesh market instead of sending it abroad.
Experts present smart-city model with 10 themes
Urban planning experts presented Tuesday a model of building smart city with 10 themes coupled with two major indicators for upgrading life to the milieu of new millennium. The 10 themes are: Smart Living (Indicators are–Inclusiveness and Access to Civic Service), Green Economy (Indicators: Responsible Business and Gainful Employment), Smart Mobility (Indicators–Accessible Public Transport and Walking and Biking), Clean Energy (Indicators–Use of Renewable Energy and Rationale Consumption), Resilience (Indicators–Disaster Risk Reduction and Increasing Adaptive Capacity), Care for Planet (Indicators– Pollution Control and Green Public Space), Innovations in Technology (Indicators –bridging Digital Divide and Tech for Social Welfare), Culture and Heritage (Indicators– Nourish History and Identity and Tolerance and Social Cohesion), Better Governance (Indicators– E-governance and People Participation), and Smart People (Indicators– Responsible Citizen and Care for Community). The priority themes were set as per an online survey under a smart-city campaign and expert opinions. Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP) general secretary Professor Akter Mahmud presented the themes at the closing ceremony of the smart-city campaign at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in Dhaka.
Sophia now in Dhaka
Sophia, a humanoid robot that generated quite a buzz among the youth and the artificial intelligence industry around the world, arrived in Dhaka early yesterday to attend the country’s biggest ICT event, Digital World. The lifelike robot will appear today at the inauguration session of the event in the capital’s Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. Later in the afternoon, Sophia will attend another session — “Tech-Talk with Sophia” — where journalists will be able to ask it various questions. The session will be attended by more than two and a half thousand people.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||6,286.75||↑ 23.98||↑ 0.38%|
|DJIA||24,180.64||↓ 109.41||↓ 0.45%|
|FTSE100||7,327.50||↓ 11.47||↓ 0.16%|
|Nikkei 225||22,419.88||↓ 202.50||↓ 0.90%|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$ 57.38||↓ 0.24||↓ 0.42%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$ 62.62||↓ 0.24||↓ 0.38%|
|Gold Spot*||$ 1,265.75||↓ 0.02||↓ 0.00%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 82.07|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.20|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.09|
|INR 1||BDT 1.27|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.