Top bankers deplore negative campaign against banks
Top bankers have called for ‘constructive’ criticism of the banking sector, saying that their confidence level gets weakened if negative issues are highlighted. The appeal came at a ‘meet the press’ programme, held at a city hotel on Wednesday. The Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) organised the programme to highlight the current scenario of the financial sector in Bangladesh. We’ve arranged the programme to highlight the development of the country’s banking sector. Banks have contributed significantly to achieving 7.8 per cent GDP (gross domestic product) growth of the country. Around half the population are now under the banking network across the country. It was 31 per cent in 2014.
Govt revises down gold import duty
The government revised downward on Wednesday the import duty on gold to Tk 2000 per bhori from existing Tk 3000, officials said. A meeting chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the secretariat also fixed duty on undeclared stocks of gold at Tk 1000 per bhori, on diamond at Tk 6000 per carat, and on silver at Tk 50 per bhori. The existing 5.0 per cent VAT (value added tax), however, will remain unchanged, the meeting decided. The meeting also decided to hold an auction of gold deposited in the central bank’s vault soon. In October this year, the government framed the country’s first ever Gold Policy-2018, allowing authorised dealers to import gold bars and ornaments.
Bangladeshi apparel to draw bigger FDI
The ongoing trade war between China and the US will bring more work orders and more foreign direct investment for the garment sector of Bangladesh, according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP). Major players in the garment industry in the Asia-Pacific region, such as Bangladesh and Vietnam, are expected to benefit by acquiring a larger share in exports to the US, and thus attracting more investment. The FDI inflows to the region are also expected to continue in their downward trend next year, following a 4 percent drop in 2018. At a minimum, Asia and the Pacific will see a net loss of 2.7 million jobs due to the trade war, with unskilled workers, often women, shouldering more severe impact. If the tariff war further escalates in 2019 and investor and consumer confidence drop, global GDP could ultimately be cut by nearly $400 billion, also driving regional GDP down by $117 billion. Almost 9 million people could be put out of work in the region, with many more workers also moving to new jobs in different sectors.
Agora to invest $10m to double outlets
Agora, the first retail chain in Bangladesh, is going to invest $10 million in the next two years to double the number of its outlets to cater to the growing demand of city dwellers, said its top executive. The RSL started its journey by setting up Agora in 2001. Later in 2009, it formed a partnership with Swedish firm Brummer & Partners to grow its footprint and improve services. Today, Agora is a joint venture of Rahimafrooz and Brummer & Partners, with the local group holding 30 percent stake and the Swedish firm the remainder. Currently, Agora has 16 outlets. Of them, 14 outlets are located in Dhaka and one each in Chattogram and Sylhet. Superstores cater to only 2 percent of the urban market demand. “So, there is a huge scope to grow.
ACI approves 115pc cash, 3.5pc stock div
The 45th Annual General Meeting of Advanced Chemical Industries Limited was held on Wednesday at Officers Club, Baily Road in the city. The AGM approved 115 per cent cash and 3.5 per cent stock dividend for FY 2017-18. Dr. Arif Dowla, Managing Director of the Company, informed the shareowners that FY 2017-2018 was a very challenging year for ACI Group. Despite various external factors including adverse macroeconomic environment along with the effect of prolonged floods, the Company, in the group level, achieved BDT 56,123 million sales during the year registering an 18 per cent growth over last year. ACI is committed to enrich the quality of life of the people through responsible application of knowledge, technology and skills.
Export agro products to China: Envoy
Bangladesh can earn a huge amount in foreign currency by exporting different agriculture products to China. Considering tariff, retail price and volume of import of China, Bangladesh can export the agro products to Chinese market easily. The production cost of the products in Bangladesh is very low while the products are available here. Chinese buyers import fresh or dried mangos worth about US$ 17.7 million every year from Australia, Peru, Thailand and Philippines and the price of the mango is 14 to 20 RMB per piece. The commercial counsellor said fresh or dried pineapples worth about US$ 5.2 million come in China every year from Thailand, the USA and Viet Nam while its price is two to three RMB per cell.
Automation may cost 5.38m jobs by 2041
Bangladesh is at the risk of losing 5.38 million jobs by 2041, thanks to the fast growth of automation, a leading local ICT specialist has warned. At the same time, 7.4 million overseas jobs for Bangladeshi expatriates may also be at risk for the same reason. Around 60 per cent jobs of the local readymade garment industry might go by 2041. At the same time, 35 per cent jobs of leather, 40 per cent of agro-processing, 55 per cent of furniture and 20 per cent of tourism industries risk being extinct. We need to attain new skills. We need skill 4.0 for industrial revolution 4.0. Bangladesh can be a model of piloting mass digitisation to the whole world.
BMDA implements Tk 25.02b projects in 16 districts
The Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) has implemented 19 projects involving around Tk 25.02 billion in all 16 districts of Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions during the last 10 years. According to concerned sources, the implemented schemes contribute a lot towards uplifting living and livelihood condition of people in the country’s northwest region. They have brought around 47,000 hectares of croplands under supplementary irrigation facilities through re-excavating 1,498-kilometer canals and 386 derelict ponds. More than 75,000 farmers get training and motivation on proper use of irrigation water, resisting misuse of power, judicious use of irrigation water and modern farming. Various works like electrification of 6974 deep-tube-wells, construction of 7200-kilometre power distribution line, 698 cross-dams and a 65-meter rubber dam, telemeter installation in 400 irrigation pumps and reactivation and renovation of 2877 other non-functional pumps were completed.
Inclusive business models for safe water
The water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa began in 2015 which resulted in a severe water shortage in the region. The severity of the crisis reached such a level that the government of South Africa decided to announce ‘Day Zero’, which indicated a moment when the municipal water supply would largely be shut off if a particular lower limit of water storage is reached and people would be sent to communal water points to collect their daily allotment of 6.6 gallons of water. Though the day has not arrived yet, it still remains an ever-present threat and may happen anytime in 2019. Bangladesh is among the vulnerable zones that encounter safe water challenges not just in terms of quantity but obviously in quality. A study reveals that almost 97 percent of its population have access to water, but 40 percent have the privilege of getting safe water and proper sanitation which is a matter of major concern for achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). The Cape Town’s crisis clearly warns Dhaka of the imminent danger that the city is going to face if the misuses of water are not prevented. Experts believe that the increase of water price and the initiation of innovative technologies are of good help to cut the excessive water use.
Asia to grow as expected in 2018 and 2019, trade war poses downside risks: ADB
The Asian Development Bank expects developing Asia to meet its growth forecasts for this year and next on strong domestic demand and easing inflation pressures, though it warned of downside risks from a rising tide of trade protectionism. The Manila-based institution, which released an update of its Asian Development Outlook on Wednesday, maintained its 2018 and 2019 economic growth estimates for the region at 6.0 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. The ADB also kept its 6.6 percent and 6.3 percent growth projections for China as well as its 7.3 percent and 7.6 percent growth expectations for India for both years. The 2019 growth outlook for Central Asia was raised to 4.3 percent, from the September projection of 4.2 percent, the ADB said, but the forecasts for Southeast Asia and South Asia for next year were lowered to 5.1 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. Easing commodity prices and central bank policy actions could cause the pace of inflation in developing Asia to settle at 2.6 percent this year and to 2.7 percent in 2019, the ADB said, down from its 2.8 forecast in September for both years.
Rolls-Royce to switch work to Germany over Brexit
Rolls-Royce on Wednesday said it was switching to Germany from the UK its design-approval of large aircraft engines after Prime Minister Theresa May delayed parliament’s vote on the Brexit deal. They will continue to implement our contingency plans.
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