Foreign aid inflow rises
The foreign aid flow to Bangladesh during the first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year (FY18) continued its encouraging trend as it was $824.51 million higher than the corresponding period of the last fiscal year (FY17), reports BSS. According to the Economic Relations Division (ERD), the overall foreign aid disbursement in July-November this year totaled $1,727.69 million against $903.18 million during July-November period in the last fiscal year. Out of the disbursed amount in July-November, the portion of loan was $1,600.95 million while the grant was $126.73 million.
Govt set to create database of nat’l savings tools subscribers
The government is set to create a database of subscribers of national savings certificates to prevent misuse of the scope like investment beyond allowable limit and in fake names by investors. The automated database will be integrated with national identity cards of the investors and the process will be completed by next three to four months, officials of the finance ministry said. The ministry took the decision as finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in his concluding budget speech for the current fiscal year 2017-2018 declared that the government would prepare a database of NSC investors so that the target groups get the benefits.
Dhaka stocks see marginal gain riding on banks, GP
Dhaka stocks increased marginally on Monday despite a fall in the share prices of most of the scrips as banks and Grameenphone gained at an otherwise dull market ahead of year-end. DSEX, the key index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, added 0.18 per cent, or 11.51 points, to close at 6,224.60 points on the day after losing 16.92 points in the previous session. The market opened upbeat but slowed down after the morning session as investors kept selling shares as year-end is approaching, market operators said. Despite the fall in most of the traded scrips, the market ended positive as investors turned their focus on large capitalised scrips including banks, Grameenphone and British American Tobacco that saved the market from negative ending.
Insurance fair begins in Sylhet on Friday
A two-day insurance fair will begin in Sylhet on Friday with a view to raising people’s trust in insurers. The Insurance Development & Regulatory Authority (IDRA) is organising the Insurance Fair 2017 at the gymnasium of the District Sports Council in the northeastern city. “The main objective of the fair is to take insurance services to the people living in the remote areas,” said Shafiqur Rahman Patwari, chairman of the regulatory body, at a press conference at its headquarters in Dhaka yesterday. He said the event would be helpful in building trust of the clients in insurance policies. Insurance companies will settle claims of Tk 18 crore at the fair, Patwari said. Visitors will be able to know about life, health, fire, accident and car insurance as well as pension schemes, according to the IDRA. Gokul Chand Das, a member of the regulator, said the IDRA puts more efforts on settling insurance claims in order to boost policyholders’ confidence.
NRB Bank reelects chairman
Mohammed Mahtabur Rahman has recently been re-elected as chairman of NRB Bank for next three years, said the bank in a statement yesterday. He is also chairman and managing director of Al Haramain Perfumes Group of Companies. Rahman is founder president of the Bangladesh Business Council in Dubai and sponsor of Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bangladesh Islamia (Pvt) School in Abu Dhabi, the UAE.
WB gives another $245m to help ensure efficiency of safety net schemes
The World Bank has approved an additional $245 million to help Bangladesh improve equity, efficiency and transparency in major safety net programmes. The financing to the ongoing Safety Net Systems for the Poorest Project will benefit nine million of the poorest households, according to a statement. It will help improve performance of some of the country’s largest safety net schemes, which are implemented by the Department of Disaster Management. These schemes include public workfare and humanitarian assistance programmes.
‘Set up 12 economic zones first’
The owners of private economic zones have urged the Bangladesh government to complete at least a dozen out of 100 proposed new zones on a priority basis, in order to build up the confidence of investors as well as to attract more investment from both foreign and domestic sources. In addition, they suggested that Mirsarai Economic Zone be developed as the flagship for the upcoming zones, as it has already generated significant hype among local and global investors. The remarks were made on Monday by speakers at a seminar titled “Economic Zones: Transforming Bangladesh into a Manufacturing Hub- Key Policy and Regulatory Issues,” organized by the Policy Research Institute (PRI) in Dhaka.
Govt to revive 13 textiles mills under PPP
The government has decided to restart 13 textiles mills that were shutdown 25 years ago due to huge losses and run them under a public-private partnership (PP) initiative, according to an official of the Ministry of Textiles and Jute. The official said this would be the textile sector’s largest project, with Tk15,200 crore set to be allocated to purchase new machineries, to replace the existing ones, to run these mills. The project will also ensure proper use of 380.47 acres of land allocated for the sector, said the official, adding that the land currently has a value of Tk1,592 crore.
Chinese businesses keen to invest in Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Sector
Chinese business delegation is keen to invest in API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) and medical devices sector of Bangladesh. They held a meeting with Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) held in the capital on Sunday. The delegation from China API Technology Union (CATU) and Yunan-Bengal Business Information Consultation Co Ltd are visiting Bangladesh with the invitation of BAPI, a press statement said. They are interested to transfer the Chinese technology to help and develop the production of API.
Real estate sales picking up
Realtors are expecting the property market to flourish in 2018 as sales have finally started to pick up this year upon banks’ slashing of interest rates to single digits. The relative political calm, the bearish trend in the stock market and a lack of solid investment options also drove sales in 2017, leading to a price spiral in almost all areas save for Gulshan and Baridhara in the capital. “I think the real estate sector will get a boost next year,” said Toufiq M Seraj, managing director of Sheltech, one of the leading developers in Bangladesh. Seraj, who closely follows the property market, said the sector has started to pick up — although slowly — from July.
Daraz launches first post-sale servicing center
Daraz, Bangladesh’s largest online store, has launched its first post-sale servicing centre in Dhaka’s Mirpur on Saturday. The centre is to be managed by 360 Service Limited, with eight more centres planned for launch within the next eight months. They will be located in Dhaka, Comilla, Khulna, Chittagong, Barisal, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Rangpur, said a press release.
West Zone’s electricity bill payment becomes convenient
Robi has recently launched a service to pay electricity bill digitally for the West Zone Power Distribution Co. LTD (WZPDCL) in Barisal and Khulna Zone. The service has been launched aiming to make electricity bill payment very convenient for the customers of WZPDCL. A UNB report says mobile users/RobiCash registered customers will get an automatic SMS regarding their monthly electricity bill payment dues.
Data usage shoots up
The use of international internet bandwidth by Bangladesh soared 73.38 percent year-on-year to 456 gigabits per second at the end of third quarter of 2017, in a development that suggests the country is marching fast towards digitisation. “People’s lifestyle has evolved. Nowadays people are using the internet for entertainment, education and many other things,” said MA Hakim, president of the Internet Service Providers Association Bangladesh. The internet service providers are supplying more than 70 percent of the bandwidth and the mobile operators the rest, though most people are using the internet from their smartphones, he said. The rise in internet subscribers is the main reason for the increase in the bandwidth usage, according to industry insiders. At the end of September, the total number of internet users in Bangladesh stood at 7.92 crore, up 18.39 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
StanChart, Ant Financial sign ‘Belt & Road’ partnership
London-based bank Standard Chartered and Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd have agreed to collaborate in countries along China’s ‘Belt & Road’ strategic initiative. StanChart said on Monday the two companies will work to increase access to financial services in countries along the route, without giving details on how the partnership will work. China’s Belt and Road initiative aims to recreate the old Silk Road with massive infrastructure projects to connect China to Europe and beyond.
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)||$ 57.21||↑0.05||↑0.09%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 63.38||↓0.03||↓0.05%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,261.52||↓0.74||↓0.06%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 82.95|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.95|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.77|
|INR 1||BDT 1.29|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.