Bangladesh Bank sells $45m more to three banks
The central bank of Bangladesh has sold US$45 million more to three commercial banks to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. “We’ve sold the foreign currency to the banks on Wednesday at market rate to settle outstanding letters of credit (LCs) against imports particularly fuel oil, food grains and capital machinery,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.
BB urges all to abstain from transactions of virtual coins
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has requested all to abstain from online-based virtual currency or crypto currency, like bitcoin, ethereum, ripple and litecoin as there is no legal framework of the currencies in any country across the world, reports BSS. “Virtual currency is not legal in any country. So no one can have financial claim to any authority against the transactions through the currency,” said a BB’s recent notice. Virtual currency is not recognised by the central bank or any other agencies of the Bangladesh Government, said the BB notice. The notice said virtual currency transactions take place through online-based networks, which is not approved by any central authority or by the payment system that controls authority. Therefore, the clients may be affected, it added.
Industrial default loans soar 30pc
Defaults in the industrial sector soared 30.31 percent at the end of September as large borrowers who enjoyed restructuring facilities under a special Bangladesh Bank scheme in 2015 failed to repay their loans. As of September, industrial default loans stood at Tk 31,270 crore, up from Tk 23,997 crore a year earlier, according to data from the BB. “Some business groups misused the central bank’s restructuring facility,” said MA Halim Chowdhury, managing director of Pubali Bank. Owing to the economic damages caused by the political unrest, the central bank in a special move offered borrowers who had loans amounting to more than Tk 500 crore rescheduling facility on relaxed terms. For rescheduling, the borrowers had to make down payment of just 1-2 percent of the loan amount instead of the usual 10-15 percent. Some 11 large borrowers took up on the offer and loans amounting to Tk 15,000 crore were restructured. “Those groups have slid into the default zone again,” Chowdhury said, adding that some other business groups have recently joined them, all of which have puffed up the non-performing loans in the industrial sector. Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director and CEO of Dhaka Bank, echoed the same.
Bangladesh economic growth may slow to 6.9pc this fiscal
Bangladesh economy may grow at a slower pace of 6.9 per cent this fiscal year after a record growth of 7.28 per cent in the last fiscal, a global financial giant forecasts. The latest reckoning on the state of economy of the country came from Standard Chartered — after prospective ratings by several foreign financiers to Bangladesh, who also a little lowered the growth below government projection. The lagged impact of floods is likely to dampen growth during the second half of FY18 and election-related uncertainty may lead to lower economic activity during the first half of FY19, it cautioned in its global economic research views revealed Wednesday. “Bangladesh is entering 2018 with strong fundamentals — growth is at an all-time high, a balance-of-payments surplus has boosted reserves to a record high, and debt remains manageable,” the banking giant noted about things of the near-past. Focusing on the flipside that may cast its shadow, it said inflation started rising in the country and banking-sector nonperforming assets (NPAs) remained elevated.
Prime Bank arranges Tk 6,000m syndicated term loan for BSRM
Prime Bank arranged its 29th syndication loan deal involving Tk 6,000 million (600 crore) for Bangladesh Steel Re-Rolling Mills Limited (BSRM Limited) recently at a local hotel in the city. Prime Bank with seven others, namely the Dhaka Bank Limited, City Bank Limited, Jamuna Bank Limited, Mercantile Bank Limited, National Credit and Commerce Bank Limited, Pubali Bank Limited, and Trust Bank, Limited participated in the loan syndication. Rahel Ahmed, Managing Director & CEO of Prime Bank, M. A. Halim Chowdhury, Managing Director & CEO of Pubali Bank, Ishtiaque Ahmed Chowdhury, Managing Director & CEO of Trust Bank, Kazi Masihur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO of Mercantile Bank, Adil Islam, Additional Managing Director of The City Bank, Md. Shakir Amin Chowdhury, Deputy Managing Director of Dhaka Bank, Muhammad Shahidul Islam, Deputy Managing Director of Jamuna Bank, Abu Zafore Md. Saleh, Deputy Managing Director of NCC Bank, and Aameir Alihussain, Managing Director of BSRM Limited, inked the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations and spoke on the occasion.
Prime Bank Investment Ltd shifts head office
The Prime Bank Investment Ltd (PBIL), a subsidiary of Prime Bank Ltd on Wednesday inaugurated its head office in the city’s Banani shifting from Motijheel to focus more on the corporate clients. To this connection, an inauguration ceremony was held at the new PBIL office located at Tajwar Centre in road 19/A of Banani. Prime Bank Ltd chairman Azam J Chowdhury, PBIL chairman M Farhad Hussain, its director Ahmed Kamal Khan Chowdhury, and PBIL managing director & chief executive officer (CEO) Tabarak Hossain Bhuiyan were present at the inauguration ceremony. Mr Tabarak said PBIL shifted its corporate office to Banani from Motijheel to expand its activities related to corporate advisory and issue management of the valued clients.
City Bank arranges $15m to support SME, RMG portfolios
City Bank has recently arranged USD 15 million funds from Oesterreichische Entwicklungs bank AG (OeEB), the Austrian Development Bank to support the growing need of the Bank’s SME, RMG and Offshore Banking portfolios. A Financial Closure Ceremony was organised in Vienna, Austria where City Bank Managing Director & CEO Sohail R. K. Hussain, OeEB Executive Director Andrea Hagmann and Managing Director, Investment Finance Division Sabine Gaber signed a financing agreement on behalf of their respective organisations, said a statement.
Bank Asia joins Coca-Cola’s women empowerment project
Bank Asia recently joined a Coca-Cola Bangladesh project to impart agent banking training among 25 successful women entrepreneurs of Jamalpur in the latter’s Bhaluka plant in Mymensingh. The women are from a Coca-Cola project titled Women Business Centers (WBC), which aims to assist rural women into providing a variety of services supporting and developing their income generation capacities. Starting off in January 2015 with 10 WBC in Jamalpur, Khulna and Bagerhat districts, the project now has 40 WBC, having imparted knowledge on agricultural production, marketing, mobile balance recharge and photocopy and nutrition services to 40,000 entrepreneurs. Bank Asia from now on will support this project by training women into becoming its agents, helping communities at the farthest corners access financial and banking services.
Southeast Bank opens branch at Muktagachha, Mymensingh
Southeast Bank Limited inaugurated its 132nd branch at Muktagachha’s “Rabeya-Momtaz Tower” on the Mymensingh-Tangail main road (old bus stand), Muktagachha Municipality, Mymensingh on Wednesday, says a statement. S.M Mainuddin Chowdhury, Additional Managing Director, Southeast Bank Limited, formally inaugurated the Muktagachha branch as the chief guest.
bKash organises AML, CFT workshop
bKash Limited, the largest mobile financial service provider in the country, organised a training workshop on ‘Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism’ for its distributors of Dhaka South City Corporation area recently, says a statement. The workshop highlighted the AML and CFT issues relevant to the distributors. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of bKash Kamal Quadir, Chief External and Corporate Affairs Officer Major General Sheikh Md Monirul Islam (Retd), Chief Commercial Officer Mizanur Rashid and Head of Sales of bKash Emon Kalyan Dutta attended the programme, held at the Hotel Lakeshore in the capital.
Bangladesh again denied GSP
Bangladesh’s trade privilege in US markets has been again denied as President Donald Trump’s administration goes on to enforce the trade preference programme’s eligibility this week. The Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) facility for Bangladesh was suspended in June 2013 after the Rana Plaza building collapse in April, the reasons cited being poor labour rights and unsafe working conditions in factories. The then Obama administration also gave 16 conditions to be fulfilled for regaining the trade privilege. Bangladesh fulfilled the conditions and twice submitted reports to United States Trade Representative (USTR). But the US has not been reinstating the trade privilege, now citing poor labour rights.
NBR to introduce AEO for fast customs clearance
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will soon introduce ‘Authorized Economic Operator (AEO)’ on experiment basis to assist clearing import-export goods at lower costs and in shortest possible time, reports BSS. “We’re going to introduce this special facility for assisting the business houses. As the country’s businesses sector is expanding gradually, the customs will have to maintain pace with it. It is a step to modernise our customs,” said NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman while speaking at a workshop on AEO at a city hotel yesterday. NBR member (customs inspection and international trade) Khandaker Md Aminur Rahman, chief of NBR’s AEO committee Prokash Dewan and Dr Muhammad Khairuzzaman of USAID, among others, attended the opening session of the workshop.
Bangladesh to import 1.4 m tons crude oil from KSA, Abu Dhabi
Bangladesh will import 1.4 million tons of crude oil from Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi for the current fiscal year 2017-18 to meet the domestic requirement. Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Wednesday approved two separate proposals placed by the Energy and Mineral Resources Division in this regard. Cabinet Division additional secretary Mustafizur Rahman informed that the bulk petroleum will be imported under the government-to-government contracts and about Tk. 4901 crore would be spent for the imports.
Favourable dollar-taka exchange rate saves apparel exports
Bangladesh’s exported garment items in the first 11 months of 2017 amounted to USD 26.40 billion, up 1.38 per cent year-on-year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The favourable dollar-taka exchange rate has lent a helping hand to apparel exporters in the outgoing calendar year. At the start of the year, the greenback traded between Tk 78 and Tk 79 and during the course of the year it crawled up. On December 20, it traded at Tk 83.20. “The current exchange rate is favourable for exporters. We should handle the exchange rate softly,” said executive director of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh Ahsan H. Mansur. He went on to suggest that the dollar can be allowed to appreciate to up to Tk85. If it goes past the Tk 85-mark, it will be bad for the balance of payment and macroeconomic stability as imports would become costlier.
No cheer for cement industry in 2017
The price hike of raw materials, the depreciation of local currency and intense competition among too many makers have hit the cement industry hard in the outgoing year, market players said. Even the ongoing mega infrastructure projects are failing to bring the cement manufacturers much cheer these days.
ICT can drive away graft
Corruption will be eliminated from the country if the information and communications technology is used properly, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. “The most effective tool to fight corruption will be the ICT,” he said at The Daily Star ICT Awards ceremony in the capital’s Le Méridien Hotel yesterday. Two individuals and five local IT firms were awarded by The Daily Star and Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) for their outstanding contribution to the country’s fast growing ICT industry. The event was organised in association with Microsoft Bangladesh Ltd, the country office of the world’s leading technology company, and private commercial lender Brac Bank, with Le Méridien as hospitality partner.
BTRC to hold meeting with stakeholders on VAS guidelines
The posts and telecommunications ministry has sent back the draft telecommunication value-added service guidelines prepared by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for revision. In August this year, the telecom regulator drafted the guidelines titled ‘Regulatory Guidelines for Issuance of Registration Certificate for Providing Telecommunication Value Added Services in Bangladesh’ and published the guidelines on its web site seeking public opinion.
Summit Power brings changes to its Memorandum of Association
As part of business expansion plan, Summit Power Limited (SPL) has made changes to its Memorandum of Association (MA) at the 16th Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM). With these changes, Summit Power Limited will be able to generate electricity for Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) in addition to Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB). Furthermore, Summit Power Limited will be able to generate electricity for others in both Bangladesh and abroad subject to permission from the concerned authority.
Many Japanese companies to invest in BD next year
Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi said Japanese investors are keen to invest in Bangladesh. “Honda’s decision to set up an assembly plant near Dhaka is an epoch-making development and it jacked the confidence of other Japanese companies up to invest in Bangladesh,” the Japanese Ambassador said while addressing the 13th annual general meeting (AGM) of Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JBCCI) held recently in the city. “The year 2017 is the 45th anniversary of establishment of our bilateral relations. Delightfully, I see more and more Japanese companies have considered investment in Bangladesh and I see next year many Japanese companies will invest here,” he said. A total of 75 members of JBCCI attended the AGM, conducted by its secretary general Tareq Rafi Bhuiyan.
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