SMEs deserve greater attention: Atiur
Small entrepreneurs, particularly the young and women, deserve greater attention of the policymakers and regulators to help them grow and receive adequate financing, said a former central bank governor. “Despite many successes, SME financing still remains inadequate,” said the governor, Atiur Rahman. Assistance to small and medium enterprises should include budgetary support for a robust credit guarantee scheme and priority lending arrangement for improving supply chains for the SMEs, he said at a seminar on “Designing a framework for access to finance for SMEs” at the UNESCAP in Bangkok on Friday.
New MD for Prime Bank
Rahel Ahmed has recently been appointed managing director of Prime Bank. Prior to the appointment, he was a deputy managing director of the bank, the bank said in a statement yesterday. Ahmed also worked as the bank’s chief business officer. He also worked at ANZ Grindlays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.
Agrani spurns BB, keeps open Canada exchange house
Agrani Bank has kept open a thoroughly loss-making exchange house in Canada for the last one and half years by defying Bangladesh Bank orders. On June 14 last year, BB gave its nod to the state-owned bank to shutter the exchange house, Agrani Remittance House Canada Inc, and later even permitted Agrani to remit CAD 1 lakh (equivalent to Tk 64.48 lakh) to wrap up the operations. But Agrani went back on its decision later and subsequently requested the central bank on November last year to allow it to run the exchange house for another year. The request was suitably shot down.
Lack of corporate ethics top cause for crimes in banks
Bankers have identified lack of corporate ethics as the topmost reason behind the rising trend in financial crimes in the country’s banking sector, according to a study. Around 73 per cent of the bankers interviewed in the perception survey blamed lack of corporate ethics. Besides, 58 per cent respondents identified absence of exemplary punishment against offences as another reason behind financial crimes in banks. Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) conducted the study – “Corporate Ethics and Financial Crime in Banks: Bangladesh Perspective” – whose findings were disseminated through a programme on BIBM campus on Thursday.
Import orders scale all-time high of $16.1b
The country’s overall import orders recorded an all-time high of US$ 16.10 billion in November while letter of credit (LC) of a large amount was opened for setting up Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), officials said. Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) opened the LC worth $ 11.38 billion through the state-owned Sonali Bank Limited to import different items, including capital machinery, to build the plant, according to the Bangladesh Bank’s (BB) latest data, released on Thursday.
Current account deficit widens
The current account deficit further widened in the first four months of the fiscal year on the back of sluggish export earnings and higher import payments. At the end of October, the deficit stood at USD 3.31 billion, which was USD 44 million in the same period a year earlier, according to data from the central bank. Strong import growth coupled with a moderate rise in exports contributed to the current account deficit, said a Bangladesh Bank official. Between July and October, imports rose 28.70% year-on-year and exports 7.63%. The trade deficit also widened 108.75% year-on-year to USD 5.79 billion in the four months to October, BB data showed. A moderate growth in remittance also left an adverse impact on the current account, according to a former BB Governor. Bangladeshis living abroad sent home USD 5.76 billion in the first five months of the fiscal year, up 10.76% from a year earlier. The growth of inward remittance in the July-November period was good but it has yet to reach the optimum level considering the lower remittance received last fiscal year, according to the former BB Governor.
Trade volume rises sharply at DSE, CSE
Trade volume at the Dhaka Stock Exchange increased 193.67 percent year-on-year from July to September this year. During the period, 1,941 crore shares were traded, up from 661 crore shares during the same period a year ago, Bangladesh Bank data showed. The figure was 74.44 percent higher than the preceding quarter of April to June when 1,113 crore shares changed hands. Total turnover was Tk 60,463 crore in July to September, up 142.90 percent from the same quarter a year ago.
Bangladesh Securities Exchange Commission (BSEC) approves bond for United Commercial Bank (UCB)
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has also approved the BDT 7.0 billion non-convertible subordinated bond to be issued by United Commercial Bank (UCB). The tenure of BDT 7.0 billion non-convertible subordinated bond of United Commercial Bank will be seven years. The units of the bond will be sold to banks, financial institutions, insurance companies, corporate bodies, asset management companies, mutual funds and high net worth individuals through private placements.
IDCOL, BIFFL to raise Tk 400m for Usa Agro, Auto Bricks
A Syndicated Term Loan Facility amounting BDT 400.00 million will be raised by Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) for Usa Agro and Auto Bricks Limited (UAABL) for setting up a tunnel kiln-based automated brick manufacturing project at Lebukhali, Dumki, Patuakhali. Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund Limited (BIFFL) is a participating lender. A signing ceremony was held among UAABL, IDCOL and BIFFL recently at Hotel Sarina in the city, said a statement.
MTB launches co-branded Credit Card for CCL
Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) and Chittagong Club Limited (CCL) launched an exclusive MTB-Chittagong Club Limited (CCL) World Mastercard Credit Card for the members of CCL on Thursday. The MoU signing ceremony was held at Chittagong Club Limited. Under the deal, MTB will offer top category Credit Cards, on the brand – Mastercard, to the members of CCL with exclusive benefits like reduced cost, free access to MTB Air Lounge, free Priority Pass, free insurance benefits and many more.
ADB gives $100m more to support microfinance institutions
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors raised the limit of an existing microfinance risk participation and guarantee programme by an additional $100 million in assistance for its microfinance institutions (MFIs), reports BSS. The programme has been successful, supporting growth and employment opportunities for over three million borrowers across Asia and the Pacific to date, said a media release on Thursday. “Giving small businesses and entrepreneurs access to finance is one proven tool to improve livelihoods and reduce poverty,” said Sabine Spohn, Senior Investment Specialist in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department. “ADB will continue to expand its support for those at the bottom of the pyramid by increasing the size and scope of the microfinance programme,” Sabine Spohn said. The microfinance programme is implemented through a risk participation and guarantee structure. Under the programme, ADB selects partner financial institutions that provide local currency loans to ADB-approved MFIs.
Sustainable development must be financed from domestic resources
Bangladesh faces a significant challenge attempting to achieve and sustain high growth while ensuring environmental degradation is kept to a minimum. As global climate negotiations attempt to elicit commitments from rich countries towards the climate finance pots, countries such as Bangladesh must not forget that the key to long-term environmental sustainability rests largely on their own ability to focus policy attention and allocate sufficient financial resources towards it. Research done for the Perspective Plan 2041 (PP2041) exercise suggests that in order for Bangladesh to implement a green growth strategy to ensure consistency of growth and poverty reduction targets with environmental protection, Bangladesh needs to increase its spending on environmental protection and climate change related programmes from 1 percent of GDP now to 3 percent of GDP by FY2031 and to 3.5 percent of GDP by FY2041.
Export earnings from shipbuilding soar
Export earnings from the country’s shipbuilding sector has surged in recent months due to handing over of several high-value ships to foreign companies after a sluggish growth witnessed during the last couple of years, insiders have said. They are becoming hopeful of the sector to contribute more to the country’s export earnings in the days ahead, if there is enabling policy support specially low cost finance. According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the country earned $30.45 million in the first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, a robust growth of 460.77 per cent comparing to the corresponding period in previous FY.
Canada-Bangladesh business ties hold out huge promise
Canada, a trusted friend of Bangladesh, recognized the nation immediately after independence on February 14, 1972, and is now one of the seven largest export destinations. Both countries have had long-lasting bilateral ties since then, and Canada prides itself on being open to global business. Trade is an import element in the Canadian development strategy. Canada’s trade-to-GDP ratio is around 63 per cent, making it one of the more open economies of the world. Canada accounts for about 2.5 per cent of global exports and imports. It provides generous access to developing countries through preferential trade agreements, FTAs and FIPAs, specific market access initiatives, and through ‘aid for trade’ initiatives. Bangladesh offers Canadian businessmen an environment conducive to trade and investment that includes a stable political climate and a highly positive economic outlook.
Country’s brand value keeps on rising
The brand value of Bangladesh as a nation has been rising gradually. This reflects the country’s socio-economic vibrancy. After 46 years of the independence, Bangladesh is now 44th most valuable nation brand in the world. The ‘Nation Brands 2017’ report, released in October by London-based Brand Finance, showed that the nation brand value of the country has reached $208 billion in the current year, which was worth $170 billion in 2016. Thus, Bangladesh’s nation brand value has increased by 22 per cent within a year, according to the report.
Rice prices creeping up again
Rice prices have started creeping up again, spurred by increased import costs and speculations that the ongoing Aman harvesting period was witnessing a reduction in yield, according to traders and millers. Coarse grain sold at Tk 44-46 per kilogramme at city retail markets yesterday, up from Tk 42-46 a week ago.
BTRC takes fresh initiatives to revise rate
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a fresh move to revise its decision on international call termination rate after nine months of finalisation amid pressure from the influential International Gateway operators. An official of the commission told New Age on Thursday that the commission under its latest move will hold meeting with the stakeholders including the IGW operators, interconnecting exchanges and mobile phones operators to revise the decision.
One can bring up to eight mobile handsets
A Bangladesh national can bring up to eight mobile handsets from abroad, two of them tax-free, beginning on January 1, reports bdnews24.com. Presently, they can bring only five handsets. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC has raised the ceiling to ease the process of bringing handsets from abroad for private use. BTRC Director Lt Col Sufi Mohammad Moinuddin has sent a letter on the changes of the rules to the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate or CIID director general. BTRC Secretary Sarwar Alam said on Thursday that the commission sent the letter after a recent meeting cleared the decision. Every passenger travelling into Bangladesh can bring eight handsets, including two tax-free ones, against his or her boarding pass or other travel documents.
Demand for laptop defies dim forecasts
Some 4.01 lakh units of laptops were imported in the first nine months of the year, up about 60 percent year-on-year, as people’s appetite for computing solutions on the go continues to grow. During the period, about 80,000 units of desktop computers were brought into Bangladesh, which is more or less the same as a year earlier, according to the International Data Corporation, a US-based market intelligence firm. The average laptop price in Bangladesh is Tk 40,000, meaning the market value of the imported laptops is about Tk 1,600 crore. Globally, the demand for laptops is on the wane, but in Bangladesh it is the opposite, said ASM Abdul Fattah, chairman of Global Brand (Pvt.) Limited, one of the leading laptop and desktop computer importers in the country. The growth has been about 10-15 percent in recent years and it will certainly continue over the next few years.
NKorean hackers behind attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, SKorean newspaper reports
South Korea’s spy agency said North Korean hackers were behind attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges this year in which some 7.6 billion won ($6.99 million) worth of cryptocurrencies were stolen, a newspaper reported on Saturday. The cyber attacks attributed to North Korean hackers also included the leaking of personal information from 36,000 accounts from the world’s busiest cryptocurrency exchange Bitthumb in June, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported, citing the country’s National Intelligence Service (NIS).
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