SMEs ‘backbone of industrialisation’
Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain said small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of industrialisation in a country, as they supply basic inputs to the big industries and thus help economy grow. The government is providing necessary support to the SMEs so that they can flourish to an expected level to help speed up the industrialisation, he added. The minister spoke while inaugurating the Second International SME Fair at the World Trade Centre in the city, organised by the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Sunday. CCCI president Mahbubul Alam presided over the event. The three-day fair began on Saturday.
BPO launches ‘Daak Taka’ mobile banking
Prime Minister’s ICT Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy launched on Monday a new mobile banking service named ‘Daak Taka’, saying the service will allow the country’s people to open their bank accounts at Tk 2.0 only. The launching ceremony was held at the Bangladesh Post Office (BPO) conference room. Joy, who is also the son of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, made a presentation, attended by State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim, Posts and Telecommunications Division Secretary Shyam Sundar Sikdar, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman Shahjahan Mahmud, chairman of D Money Bangladesh Ltd Anjan Chowdhury.
City Bank joins ASEAN Financial Innovation Network
City Bank has recently joined the newly formed ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) as the pilot bank from Bangladesh, the bank said in a press statement. AFIN, a joint initiative of International Finance Corporation (IFC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA) has been formed to support financial services innovation and inclusion by providing an integrated platform for collaboration between ASEAN banks, microfinance institutions, non-banking financial institutions (NBFI) and regional Fintechs, the statement added. Aziz Al Kaiser, former chairman of the bank represented City Bank on the stage with Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Vivek Pathak, director, East Asia & the Pacific, IFC and Paul Gwee Choon Gua, secretary-general, ASEAN Bankers Association.
Muhith: Most new taxpayers aged under 40
The majority of the new taxpayers of the country are under 40 years of age, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said on Sunday. “This is the most pleasing matter. This means the country’s young people think they should do something for the state as it is serving them. They have come forward to speed up their country’s development. I thank the youth,” at a program titled “The Importance of VAT for Implementation of Vision 2021 and Vision 2041.”
NBR plans deal with tax haven countries
The National Board of Revenue is actively considering signing agreements with tax haven and offshore jurisdiction countries to get information related to illegal investment, money laundering and tax evasion activities by Bangladesh national and companies. The deal known as Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) will help the tax authority to get information on the issues and to detect the investors, source of investment and methods of transfer of funds, officials of the NBR said. They said that they found difficulties in getting information in investigating into the matters related to the names of Bangladeshi individuals and firms that appeared in the Panama Papers and Paradise Papers as investors in some tax haven and offshore jurisdictions in absence of such agreements.
Govt mulls revolving fund of Tk 55b to meet expenses
The government is contemplating to provide state-run Petrobangla with an initial revolving fund of Tk 54.82 billion to facilitate importing LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) for meeting the country’s growing demand for energy. Officials said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) already requested the finance ministry to arrange the fund for financing the initial small-scale imports of the fuel.
Agreement signed for capital dredging at Payra port
The Payra Port Authority under the shipping ministry and Belgium-based company Jan De Nul yesterday signed an agreement to jointly conduct capital dredging on the main channel of the country’s third seaport Payra in Patuakhali. Chairman of Payra Port Authority Commodore Jahangir Alam and Jan De Nul’s Managing Director Jan Piter De Nul signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides in the capital yesterday. Shipping minister Shajahan Khan was present at the ceremony. A joint-venture company (JVC) will carry out the capital dredging and maintenance dredging of the main channel of Payra port. Among others, lawmaker Mahbubur Rahman, chief coordinator on sustainable development goal (SDG) of Prime Minister’s Office Abul Kalam Azad, acting shipping secretary Abdus Samad and ambassador of Belgium in New Delhi Jan Luykx were present during the signing ceremony.
Government prepares to provide funds for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import
The government is contemplating to provide state-run Petrobangla with an initial revolving fund of BDT 54.82 billion to facilitate importing LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) for meeting the country’s growing demand for energy. The finance ministry was earlier working on fund requisition by the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD). The government decided to import LNG due to the present short-supply of natural gas, the reserve of which is depleting fast. The country is currently facing a natural gas shortage of around 600 mmcfd, with output of around 2,700 mmcfd against a demand for over 3,300 mmcfd, according to Petrobangla. According to an EMRD document obtained by the FE, some BDT 118.42 billion would be required to prepare the LNG import facilities.
RMG bags most of Tk 348b import-tax waiver in FY ‘17
Country’s export industries enjoyed import-tax benefit worth Tk 348 billion through special bonded warehouse (SBW) facility alone last fiscal year, and RMG took almost all. Such a finding came in a study conducted by the Policy Research Institute (PRI), which also stated that the tax exemptions accounted for 77.18 per cent of the aggregate customs-revenue collection in the past fiscal year (FY 2016-17). The readymade garment and knitwear sector enjoyed the lion’s share of the tax-exemption perks as they took Tk 336 billion or 74.37 per cent of the year’s customs-revenue receipts for the exchequer. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) offered the tax waiver for duty-free import of raw materials so that the exporters could import inputs at world prices.
Global garment exports fall: WTO
Shipment of both textile and garment items by top 10 exporting countries fell in 2016 due to fading demand, according to data from the World Trade Organisation. The current dollar value of world textiles and apparel exports by top 10 countries totalled $246 billion and $384 billion respectively in 2016, decreasing by $22 billion and $3 billion respectively from the previous year. China remained the top exporter of textiles in 2016, with a 37 percent share in global exports, even though its shipment declined 3 percent, the UK-based Innovation in Textiles reported citing data from the WTO.
Wage board for garment workers likely this month
The wages board for reviewing wages of country’s readymade garment workers is likely to be formed by this month as the labour ministry asked directorate of labour to finalise the names of the representatives of factory owners and workers for the board. ‘We are in the process to form the wage board to review the wages of RMG workers and hopefully the board will be formed by this month,’ state minister for labour Md Mujibul Haque told New Age on Monday. After getting the names of the representatives of factory owners and workers from the directorate of labour, the ministry would issue gazette notification appointing them as members of the wage board. The labour ministry recently asked the directorate of labour to finalise the names of the representatives of RMG factory owners and workers for the wage board.
Telecom ministry approves 524 new ISP licences
Post and Telecommunications Ministry has approved all the proposals of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to award 524 new licences of internet service providers in six categories after keeping the process halted for more than a year. The approval of the ministry came after the revision of a policy decision, increasing licence acquisition fees, annual licence fees and category of internet service providers, on October 18 this year in presence of prime minister’s ICT advisor Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
Digitisation efforts pay off
A few clicks from one’s smartphone can now get many things: from education materials to entertainment, products to house help, medical service to rides, and so on. And Bangladesh too has been embracing this transformation wholeheartedly after the Awami League came to power. On this day, nine years ago, the party unveiled it as a major component of its manifesto in the lead up to the ninth general election. December 12 has since been declared the National ICT Day. The country has achieved huge success in that time and the process will be faster in the coming years, said Mustafa Jabbar, president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services. “We cannot measure the success with numbers as there was almost nothing at that time,” he said, adding that the country’s ICT and telecom product market size is now worth about $6 billion a year.
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