Important Business News Extracts – December 21 2016
Banks unwilling to reward good borrowers
Only one bank out of the 57 operating here has so far offered incentives to its good borrowers in compliance with a Bangladesh Bank order. The order issued in March last year asked all scheduled banks to give its good borrowers 10 percent rebate on their interest payment. To qualify for the facility, a borrower has to be regular with his/her loan repayment for three years in a row. The rebate will continue in the following years if the borrowers continue to be good clients.
The braches of all scheduled banks and their controlling offices will remain closed in Narayanganj on December 22. The Bangladesh Bank took the decision to facilitate voting by bank staff in Narayanganj City Corporation polls, reports UNB.
Banking experts at a forum Tuesday recommended greater coordination between the risk-management unit and other core organs of a bank to ensure better working of its financial operations. Chief Risk Officers should be a core member of the executive team in a bank with a position on the board, executive committee and other key governance committees, they said. The observations came during the Chief Risk Officers Discussion Forum held at Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management in the capital.
Industrial Promotion and Development Company (IPDC) rebrands itself
The Industrial Promotion and Development Company of Bangladesh yesterday re-launched itself as IPDC Finance. Finance Minister AMA Muhith attended the event as the chief guest at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson of Brac, and Mominul Islam, CEO of IPDC Finance Ltd, were also present along with the high officials of Bangladesh Bank. In 2015, Brac, the world’s top non-governmental organisation; Ayesha Abed Foundation, RSA Capital, Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, RSA Capital, general public and the Bangladesh government became the major stakeholders of IPDC.
Eight companies, mostly small ones, and three mutual funds (MF) raised an aggregate amount of BDT 8.5 billion through initial public offerings (IPOs) in the outgoing calendar year. Market insiders attributed the slow pace of collecting funds through IPOs to the revised Public Issue Rules, which compelled many issuer companies to revise their IPO proposals. The companies which raised funds through floating IPOs are Dragon Sweater and Spinning, Doreen Power Generations and Systems, Bangladesh National Insurance Company, Evince Textiles, ACME Laboratories, Yeakin Polymer, Fortune Shoes and Pacific Denims. Of them, seven companies collected BDT 2.50 billion through floating IPOs using the fixed price method, while one company – ACME Laboratories- raised BDT 4.09 billion using the book building method. Book-building is a process through which an issuer attempts to determine the price to offer for its security by gauging the demand from institutional investors. Of the companies, Dragon Sweater collected BDT 400.0 million, Doreen Power BDT 580.0 million, including BDT 380.0 million as premium, Bangladesh National Insurance Company BDT 177.0 million, Evince Textiles BDT 170.0 million, ACME Laboratories above BDT 4.09 billion, including BDT 3.95 billion as premium, Yeakin Polymer BDT 200.0 million, Fortune Shoes BDT 220.0 million and Pacific Denims raised BDT 750.0 million.
The brokers of the country’s premier bourse have sought more three years to keep provisioning against unrealized losses incurred in dealer accounts, officials said. The DSE Brokers Association of Bangladesh (DBA) Tuesday made the proposal, among others, through a letter sent to the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC). In December last year, the securities’ regulator allowed all the TREC (Trading Right Entitlement Certificate) holders to keep 100% provision against unrealized losses in their dealer accounts through five installments within December 31, 2016. In its proposal, the brokers’ association also urged the regulator to provide same facility for negative equity in the margin accounts. The letter also mentioned that the TREC-holders, who have provided loans, would not be able to recover the unrealized losses in dealer accounts and in margin accounts within December 31, 2016 due to the present situation of the market and money supply constraints.
Development spending increased 2.0 percentage points in the first five months of the fiscal year but it is still lagging behind the historical trend. Between the months of July and November, the ministries and divisions put to use 19.13% of their total outlay for fiscal 2016-17, up from 17.0% they managed a year earlier. Since fiscal 2012-13, the annual development programme spending in terms of percentage of the total outlay had been on the downslide. In the first five months of fiscal 2012-13, the total ADP implementation was 25.0%, with the rate of implementation progressively declining since. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal however at a briefing yesterday said the development spending in the first five months of the fiscal year in terms of amount was at an all-time high. Some BDT 235.9 billion was spent during the July-November period, in contrast to BDT 170.1 billion a year earlier, according to statistics from the Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation Division. This year, the ADP outlay is BDT 1.2 trillion, which includes the development allocation for state-owned enterprises. Of the amount, BDT 1.1 trillion would come from the government budget. Usually the ADP amount increases every year, but its performance is evaluated by calculating the rate of implementation in comparison with the total outlay. Of the total spending in the first five months, the implementation rate of government’s own fund was 28.9%, while the foreign fund utilization was 16.7% and own fund from state-7owned enterprise 17.2%.
Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said Bangladesh would not face troubles following its exit from the list of least developed countries (LDCs) in 2024, as the government is fully prepared to handle the situation. “Firstly, Bangladesh needs to graduate from the LDC status. Then the world will be informed of our upgraded position. Subsequently, more foreign investment will come here,” he told reporters at a briefing at the Planning Commission on Tuesday. The minister’s comments came after release of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)’s LDC Report 2016 four days ago. According to the UNCTAD report, Bangladesh is projected to graduate from the LDC status in 2024 by meeting all three criteria: income, human asset index (HAI) and economic vulnerability index (EVI).
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has expected that the number of registered taxpayers would cross 3.0 million in the current fiscal year (FY) as it found impressive growth in taxpayers identification number (TIN) holders. Some 25,59,081 taxpayers obtained electronic TIN until December 18. Of them, nearly 0.6 million obtained the registration in the first five months of the FY 2016-17. The NBR also received higher individual tax returns — up by 3,50,000 or 40 per cent in the current FY compared to that of the same period last year.
British firm DP Rail to build Dhaka-Payra rail line
British company DP Rail today signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh Railway to design, finance, build, operate and maintain the planned 240-kilometer Dhaka-Payra rail line. Under the MoU, the British firm will invest in the new railways around BDT 600 billion, which will be the biggest ever Foreign Direct Investment for Bangladesh. The MOU was signed at a programme at the Ministry of Railways in the capital city. Railways minister Md Mazibul Haque, UK prime minister’s Trade Envoy for Bangladesh Rushanara Ali, British high commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake and chief executive of DP Rail Ian Derbyshire witnessed the signing ceremony.
Poor fiscal governance puts sustainable growth at risk
Governance in the country’s financial sector still remains a matter of serious concern in absence of accountability and poor enforcement of regulations, putting the target of achieving sustainable economic growth at risk, speakers opined at a research report launching ceremony on Monday. Citing the findings of the report on the country’s fiscal governance scenario, they said the recent cyber scams, non-performing loans (NPLs) and frequent recapitalisations have undermined the banking sector’s performance. They said Bangladesh Bank (BB) early last year issued Large Loan Restructuring Policy to support the borrowers against unfavourable business conditions. But many banks took its advantage by rescheduling their possible defaulters to report lower NPL figures. Despite the fact, the banks failed to maintain an overall good asset quality.
Garment workers in Ashulia have called off their strike following a meeting with factory owners, ministers and the law enforcement. Emerging from the meeting, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed told the press the government would ensure that home rent in in Ashulia in the areas where workers live would not go up. Earlier, around 55 RMG factories in the Ashulia belt had been shut down temporarily as a result of the RMG strike by workers.
Mobile phone operator Robi is yet to pay Tk 108.83 crore in merger fees and spectrum amalgamation charges to the telecom regulator. Robi did not seek to pay the dues in instalments either. As a result, the operator did not get the Order of Merger Licence from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. The Order of Merger Licence is the ultimate certification of a merger between the telecom companies. Without it, the merged entity cannot start joint commercial operations or amalgamate their networks, said a top official of the regulator. On Thursday, BTRC sent a letter to Robi, asking it to clear its position on the different issues in 10 days. “Until the Order of Merger Licence is issued, the merger procedure is not completed, and BTRC holds the right to cancel its previous decision to allow the merger,” said a top BTRC official requesting anonymity.
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