Poverty Rate slips to 20.5 per cent
The poverty rate in Bangladesh fell by 1.3 percentage points to 20.5 per cent in the fiscal year [FY] 2018-19. In the previous FY2018, the poverty rate was estimated at 21.8 per cent by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics [BBS]. After a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council [ECNEC] presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the day, Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters that the poverty rate fell to 20.5 per cent in the last fiscal year from 21.8 per cent in the previous fiscal year. Besides, the extreme poverty rate in Bangladesh also dropped to 10.5 per cent in the FY 2019 from 11.3 per cent in the previous FY2018. According to the BBS, the country’s Gross Domestic Product [GDP] grew at a rate of 8.15 per cent in the last FY2019 from 7.86 per cent in the FY2018. The Household Income and Expenditure Survey [HIES] 2016 of the BBS estimated Bangladesh’s poverty rate at 24.3 per cent among its total population and the extreme poverty rate at 12.9 per cent. The Planning Minister said the ECNEC meeting approved nine projects at a combined cost of Tk 32.27 billion. The cost of the Ashrayan-3 project rose to Tk 30.95 billion from the original cost of Tk 23.12 billion, and the Sheikh Kamal IT training and incubation centre project cost stood at Tk 5.33 billion against the original cost of Tk 3.05 billion. Besides, the cost of re-installation and upgradation of level-crossing gates of the East Zone of Bangladesh Railway project increased to Tk 1.04 billion from Tk 805.9 million in the first revision. The project cost of re-installation and upgradation of level-crossing gates of the West Zone of Bangladesh Railway rose to Tk 922.8 billion from the original cost of Tk 478.4 million.
DSE Main Index dips to 42-month low
The key index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange [DSE] tumbled to 42 months’ low on Tuesday, as panic-driven investors dumped their holdings, fearing further fall. DSEX lost 78.66 points or 1.74 per cent to settle at 4,419 on the day. It was the lowest level of DSEX in 42 months since June 27, 2016, when it was 4,412. DSEX lost a total of 298 points in past one month, while it shed 1,531 points since January 24, this year, when the index peaked at 5,950. The market capitalisation also shed Tk 171 billion in the past one month, while it lost Tk 820 billion in the past eleven months, the DSE data shows. On Tuesday, 79 per cent of the listed securities lost prices on the DSE, ranging from 0.08 per cent to 9.10 per cent. Investors’ dampened mood also kept participation thin, as turnover went down by 8.0 per cent from the last session to close at Tk 2.82 billion. Some brokerage firms also opted for forced sale to minimise risk in margin loans. On the day, telecommunication sector witnessed the highest price correction of 2.90 per cent on the DSE, followed by financial institutions 2.80 per cent, textile 2.80 per cent, engineering 2.60 per cent, and fuel & power 2.20 per cent. Of 30 listed banks, the share prices of 22 declined, while the prices only three advanced marginally. Of 23 non-banking financial institutes, the share prices of only two rose marginally. Of 56 textile companies, the share prices of only seven advanced on the DSE.
TOA Corporation to prepare land for Japanese EZ
Japanese firm TOA Corporation has finally won the contract for developing land and other related works for the construction of an exclusive economic zone for Japanese investors in Araihazar upazila of Narayanganj. Two Japanese firms — TOA Corporation and Tokyu Construction — vied for the job of one of the country’s largest economic zones taking part in the tender floated by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority [Beza] under the Prime Minister’s Office, reports UNB. In the final evaluation, TOA Corporation came out to be the lowest responsive bidder quoting the value of the job at more than Tk 10.81 billion to develop the economic zone. According to official sources, Tokyu Construction’s offer was 15.72 per cent higher than the estimated cost of over Tk 9.94 billion while TOA’s offer was 8.75 per cent higher. According to official sources, the government has a plan to develop the economic zone on 1,000 acres of land in Araihazar. The first phase will be implemented on 500 acres of land that have already been acquired while the second phase will be developed on the remaining 500 acres. The sources said the proposed economic zone, to be named as Bangladesh Special Economic Zone [BSEZ], is being developed exclusively for Japanese investors as the follow-up of a decision taken during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Japan in May 2014 and Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh in September the same year.
Bike, AC, Compressor makers get Tax Benefits till 2032
The National Board of Revenue [NBR] has extended the reduced tax benefit to the manufacturers of motorcycle, air conditioner and compressors to June 2032 although it doubled the rates. Manufacturers will have to pay 10 percent tax on their incomes for the years till 2032, up from 5 percent previously, according to a gazette notification issued by the NBR last week. For the firms that had been enjoying 5 percent tax prior to the latest move will be able to pay the same rate of tax until the expiry of the initial tenure. And, they will have to apply to the NBR to avail 10 percent tax benefit, down from 35 percent regular tax rate for companies, according to the NBR. Sales of motorcycles are likely to grow 10 percent year-on-year to 5.30 lakh units by the end of this year from 4.8 lakh units the previous year. The value of the market would be around Tk 7,500 crore
IDB Group wing gets new Southeast Asia Head
Iftekhar Alam has recently joined International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation as Regional Head for South and Southeast Asia. The Corporation is a member of Islamic Development Bank Group. Based in Jakarta, he will look after the trade finance portfolio of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member countries in the region. Alam started his career with HSBC Bangladesh in 1999.
Sustainability practices offer $51b business opportunities
Sustainable businesses can unlock new market opportunities worth $51 billion in Bangladesh and $5 trillion in Asia by 2030, according to the Global Reporting Initiative’s [GRI] Sustainability Reporting Framework. The GRI identified seven areas for sustainable business practices by companies: women care, skill development, equal pay, employing with disability, environmental sustainability, product diversification, and innovation. Based in Amsterdam, the GRI is an international independent standards organisation that helps businesses, governments and other organisations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption. UNDP’s Linda Germanis noted how the partnership between the UNDP and HSBC embodies a key priority for Bangladesh by demonstrating how the market and productive partnerships can create an enabling environment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. HSBC and the UNDP are in their second year of partnership, working together to promote sustainability and unlock business opportunities through achieving the SDGs
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|↑ 31.27||↑ 0.11%|
|FTSE100||7,525.28||↑ 6.23||↑ 0.08%|
|Nikkei 225||23,967.31||↓98.81||↓ 0.41%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 60.51 ||↓ 0.43||↓ 0.71%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 65.74||↓ 0.36||↓ 0.54%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,476.66||↑ 0.44||↑ 0.03%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.3422|
|GBP 1||BDT 109.979|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.9135|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17333|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<