Important Business News Extracts – December 27 2016
Banks must give good borrowers interest rebate within this year
Bangladesh Bank on Monday asked scheduled banks to provide the good borrowers with interest rebate at 10 per cent within this year; otherwise, it would take punitive measures against the disobedient banks. The BB issued a letter to managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks asking them to inform the central bank by December 28 about their measure in this regard. The banks will have to explain to the central bank if they fail to take initiative to provide the interest rebate. The banks will have to provide the good borrowers with interest rebate for 2015 and 2016 within December 31, according to the BB letter. The central bank asked the banks to keep provision against the interest rebate for the good borrowers if they failed to provide the facility by December 31. The banks earlier requested the central bank that they wanted to provide the interest rebate of 2015 in 2016. Later, the BB asked the banks to keep provision against the interest rebate of 2015 so that they provide the facility in 2016. But, maximum banks are yet to take notable initiative to provide the good borrowers with interest rebate.
Three-tier security follows $81 million heist at Bangladesh central bank
Bangladesh Bank is implementing a ‘remediation plan’ to build a foolproof security system to prevent any further breaches in its overseas transactions, following the $81 million heist in February 2016. “We’ve started the implementation of the remediation plan after the February heist. The governing board of the Bangladesh Bank approved the plan in May this year,” said a top official at the central bank. He said that implementing the remediation plan will need at least another 6 months, including installation of a new security mechanism to prevent all kinds of threat from international cyber hackers.
For the first time, there are now more Bangladeshis in Oman than any other nationality, government statistics have revealed. For decades, Indians have made up the bulk of migrant workers in the Sultanate, but despite police restrictions on the numbers of Bangladeshis allowed to enter Oman, as of November, their numbers had overtaken the Indian migrant numbers, reports the Times of Oman. A Bangladesh Embassy spokesman said their workers were preferred for major projects in the Sultanate while a spokesman for the Indian community here said more Indians were choosing to stay at home as pay and conditions in India are improving.
Budget surplus in Q1 due to inadequate development project spending
The government boasted budget surplus in the first quarter of the current fiscal by default as, sources said, there had been less spending on development projects. While slow-paced project implementation necessitated less funds, the higher sale of savings certificates pooled adequate cash inflow to the exchequer, which left a budget surplus. Overall budget balance, including grants, during the July-September period of fiscal year (FY) 2017 registered a surplus worth BDT 16.3 billion. The figure is equivalent to 2.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). The surplus amount was BDT 11.4 billion during the same period of previous fiscal year, according to official documents.
The government earnings fell short of target by BDT 171.5 billion in the first quarter of this fiscal year due to slow growth in collection of income tax and customs duty. But officials think the shortage of earning would not affect the implementation of the development projects as execution itself is slow. According to the data, different government agencies including the National Board of Revenue managed to collect BDT 435.4 billion in the July-September period compared to the target of the quarter, BDT 606.9 crore. Controller General of Accounts Office provided the data in a summary of its economic analysis.
Tax lawyers yesterday urged the revenue authority to take legal action against the forgery of electronic taxpayer identification numbers or else it will become endemic. “There is a provision for imprisonment in connection with e-TIN counterfeiting. But in real life, there is no enforcement,” MA Gafur Majumder, secretary general of Bangladesh Tax Lawyers’ Association, said at a dialogue on revenue. The National Board of Revenue organised the event at the Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh, which was attended by its chairman and top officials as well as tax lawyers from all divisions.
British companies are keen to widen their presence in Bangladesh and make more investment as they consider it a country with enormous potential, said Rushanara Ali, UK’s trade envoy for Bangladesh. “Bangladesh is very well-placed in terms of these markets with China, Indonesia and India on your doorsteps,” Ali, a member of the British parliament, told The Daily Star in an interview last week.
Western Marine starts building BIWTC passenger ship
New Western Marine Shipbuilders has started construction work of a passenger ship for Bangladesh Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) through a keel-laying ceremony. The ship having a capacity of carrying 764 passengers will operate through the inland route of Dhaka-Barisal-Khulna. The vessel will be 74.22-metre in length and 12.50m in breadth. It will operate at 12 knots maximum speed with 3.0m water draft.
Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network or NTTN service provider Summit Communications Limited has received the green light from the telecom regulator to go for Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the capital market, sources in the BTRC have said. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission gave its go-ahead in this regard during the latest monthly meeting of the regulator, a move that would help the leading ICT company to enter the share market in the near future, a senior official of the BTRC confirmed to the FE. Summit Communications is one of the two companies that are responsible for providing Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network service across the country. The other NTTN service provider in the country is Fiber@Home.
Realtors get BDT 14.3 billion bookings at REHAB fair
Realtors received bookings and commitments for buying flats, plots and commercial spaces worth BDT 14.3 billion at the five-day REHAB Fair in the capital that ended on Sunday. The Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), the organizer, said 520 flats worth about BDT 4.2 billion and 145 plots of about BDT 725.0 million were booked at the trade fair at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka. Besides, 14 commercial spaces worth BDT 280.0 million were also booked. Commitments for purchasing property valued at BDT 9.2 billion were made at the fair, the association said in a statement yesterday. A huge number of visitors thronged the fair venue on the last day of the event thanks to the public holiday on account of Christmas. About 25,000 visitors came to the fair buying tickets. The number of visitors and potential buyers at the fair this year was much more than that of last year, said the organizer. The participating companies offered discounts to attract buyers. The realtors said prospective buyers mostly looked for small and medium-sized flats. The realtors showcased their products and projects in 175 stalls and said they received a good response. The visitors, who were mostly from the lower-middle and middle income groups, were looking for offers of small apartments, according to the association.
The government has prepared a roadmap for the tea sector involving BDT 9.8 billion aiming to boost production, create 30,000 additional permanent jobs and improve the standards of living of workers. The draft plan, which has been prepared by the commerce ministry, will soon be presented to the high authorities of the government for approval. Of the sum, BDT 8.3 billion will be mobilized as loans and the remainder will be grants. The roadmap will be implemented from 2016 to 2030. Funds may come from the government’s own coffers, according to the draft proposal.
Productions of three major food grains have increased by 13 per cent in the last six years, according to latest official statistics. Rice yield was up by 8.59 per cent to strengthen further the food security, said a BSS report. The figures showed that rice production rose to 35.0 million tonnes from 32.25 million tonnes, wheat to nearly 1.4 million tonnes from 0.97 million tonnes and maize yield jumped to over 2.5 million tonnes while the volume was only 1.37 million tonnes six years ago.
With Income Tax department of India cracking the whip on black money hoarders, several Indians are reportedly sending their illegitamte cash in new notes to Bangladesh via coal assignments, according to reports by Indian online Medias. According to a report in Times of India, the Border Security Force had on Thursday seized Rs 2.97 million in new Rs 2,000 notes from two people at Nokchi in West Garo Hills District in Meghalaya. The money belonging to an Indian cloth merchant was meant to be delivered to one coal exporter at Gasuapara in Meghalaya. Gasuapara is the export hub of coal for the Garo Hills region and from here huge quantities of coal are sent to Bangladesh through international trade on an annual basis.
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