Govt signs deals with development partners
The government on Monday signed two agreements worth 315 million euro and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth 109.6 million pounds with the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Union (EU) and the Department for International Development (DFID), UK to support the country’s railway sector, extreme poor and developing human capital. The agreements and MoU were signed by Economic Division Relations (ERD) Secretary Monwar Ahmed on behalf of the government and Angela Marcarino Paris and Roger Stuart, head of division of EIB on behalf of EIB, country representative of DFID Bangladesh Jim McAlpine on behalf of DFID, and Pierre Amilhat, Director, DEVCO F-Asia, central Asia, middle east/gulf and pacific on behalf of EU respectively, said an ERD press release. Under the first agreement, the EIB will provide 110 million euro for the ‘Bangladesh Rail Fleet Modernization Project’. Out of the total project cost of 327 million euro, the ADB will provide a loan up to 166 million as co-financier while the rest of the cost will be borne by the government of Bangladesh. The MoU for 109.6 million pound grants was signed between the ERD and DFID for the ‘Pathways to Prosperity for Extremely Poor People (PPEPP)’ project. DFID will make available 80 million pounds while the European Union will co-fund 29.6 million pounds channeled through DFID.
Import growth moderate in BD
Bangladesh’s import maintained moderate growth of 9 percent between July and October in the current fiscal year, giving some respite to balance of payments which was under pressure. According to data from the central bank, letters of credit settlement stood at $17.64 billion in the first four months of 2018-19, up from $16.19 billion in the same period a year ago. In 2017-18, import payment surpassed $58 billion, the highest in the country’s history. The higher import created a major crisis for the BoP as both the trade balance and the current account posted a record deficit. Between July and October, import of petroleum products, however, swelled 62.91 percent to $1.42 billion as power plants’ demand for fuel oil increased for the generation of electricity. The country will benefit from the current oil price, now standing at nearly $60 per barrel, which had been hovering around $81 a few months ago. Import of industrial raw materials was ramped up nearly 12 percent year-on-year to $6.38 billion during the four-month period. From July to October, import of capital machinery amounted to $1.64 billion, down from $1.74 billion in the same period last fiscal year. The bumper production of rice in recent seasons also played an important role in bringing down the import of food grains to $446 million, down from $875 million during the same period last fiscal year.
Small footwear makers need low-cost fund to flourish
Despite having immense potential, footwear manufacturing business in Bhairab cannot flourish at the desired level, largely due to lack of both low-cost fund and technical assistance, according to insiders. If provided necessary support for technology transfer and installation of a common facility centre in the area, the local footwear makers can play a significant role in the country’s economy. At present, around 15,000 factories are running in Bhairab sadar and surrounding areas, and they created employment for nearly 60,000 people. Women make up around 20-25 per cent of the total direct employment in the shoemaking businesses. There are also several medium entrepreneurs having an investment of Tk 50 million to Tk 100 million. The shoemaking business in Bhairab is one of the 177 cluster-based industries located in different parts of the country identified by the SMEF, which undertake various initiatives to promote the small and medium-sized entrepreneurship. A couple of years ago, a private commercial bank, at the behest of SMEF, expressed its interest to provide Tk 80 million in loans to the entrepreneurs, but it backed down considering the risk factors. Banks should bring changes to their credit policies for small businesses like us considering the impact we are making to the economy through generating employment and reducing dependency on imports.
IBBL discussion-meeting on Victory Day
Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited organised a discussion meeting on the occasion of Victory Day on Monday at Islami Bank Tower. Professor Md. Nazmul Hassan, Ph.D addressed the programme as Chief Guest. Presided over by Md. Mahbub ul Alam, MD & CEO the programme was addressed by Dr. Md. Zillur Rahman, Chairman, Audit Committee, Professor Dr. Qazi Shahidul Alam, Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, Mohammed Humayun Kabir, FCA, Md. Joynal Abedin, Syed Abu Asad and Md. Quamrul Hasan, Directors and Abu Reza Md. Yeahia, DMD of the bank.
Advertising: from papyrus to digital platform
The aggregate spend on advertising globally was a mammoth figure of $550 billion in 2017. Forecast for 2018 is to reach $558 billion mark. That’s a staggering number! North America spends the most followed by Asia and Western Europe. The invention of printing press in 1445 boosted the advertising sector as the technology had facilitated to the production of advertising materials in bulk quantity for broader distribution. Newspaper ads became popular these days as those could reach to wider audiences and were able to cover widespread geographies. With the emergence of internet in late 70’s, advertising also started to adopt the technology. Email was the first form of online advertising. Gray Thuerk, a marketer from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) sent an email to 400 odd users on May 03, 1978 to promote a new model of DEC computer. Statistics suggests, global spending on digital ad was $229 billion in 2017. Google’s ad revenue in 2017 was $93.4 billion! In the 80’s, marketers realised that there is no “one size fits all” formula in advertising. Therefore, a model called “The FCB Grid” emerged. This model was developed by Richard Vaughn, a senior vice president of Foote, Cone and Belding Advertising. Advertising has passed through a strong evolution overtime. The most fundamental change has occurred with regard to emotions. It’s not only about presenting facts anymore, it’s all about touching the feelings of the customers.
Teletalk finally launches 4G
State-owned mobile operator Teletalk finally launched 4G (fourth generation) mobile data services commercially in the capital, some 10 months behind the market’s remaining three private wireless carriers. Teletalk’s managing director, Shahab Uddin, expects to reach all of Dhaka by December while expanding to Chattogram within the next couple of weeks. Every day we are covering more than 30 sites with the fastest 4G services and the capital will be covered by December 25 and the other big cities in phases. The private entities have already commenced the services across the country. This stands in stark contrast to the launch of 3G, which was led by Teletalk with much hype in 2012, around a year ahead of its competitors. The operator has taken up a Tk 987 crore project using its own funds for the 4G network. Under it, 550 towers have already been established, mostly in big cities, and the process to set up another 550 in district headquarters is ongoing, according to the officials. Teletalk currently has 34.93 lakh active connections, which is around 2 percent of the market share. Only a few of those are regularly active. The operator’s customer numbers peaked at about 48 lakh but declined over the last couple of years because of the limitations in the coverage. All the four mobile operators got the 4G licences in February. About 1.30 crore customers, the prime part of the market, are availing the services from them.
RHD implements Tk 33b projects in Rajshahi division
The Roads and Highways Department (RHD) implemented various infrastructure development schemes involving around Tk 33.03 billion (Tk 3,303.82 crore) in last ten years till June last in Rajshahi division. 51.626 km road from Kansat to Bholahat via Rohanpur had been reconstructed and widened in Chapainawabganj as another 12.50 km Shaheed Monsur Ali road stretching from Pipulbaria to Dhunat via Sonamukhi had been newly-constructed in Sirajgonj and Bogra districts. With construction of 263-metre Badalgachhi and Mohadevpur bridges, 24.58-kilometre road from Naogaon to Patnitala via Badalgachhi and 67.59 kn road from Patnitala to Rohanpur via Shapahar had been developed in Naogaon and Chapainawabganj districts.
StanChart, Anwar Landmark ink deal
Standard Chartered and Anwar Landmark recently signed an agreement through which clients purchasing apartments from Anwar Landmark with financing from Standard Chartered will enjoy attractive interest rate of 9.0 per cent and discounted processing fee of 1.0 per cent.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 49.30||↓0.58||↓1.16%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 58.95||↓0.66||↓1.11%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,248.78||↑2.93||↑0.24%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.8273|
|GBP 1||BDT 105.8655|
|EUR 1||BDT 95.1859|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1764|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.