Int’l trade to be more dynamic
Bangladesh Bank is set to upgrade the Bangladesh Automated Clearing House (BACH) in a bid to help businesspeople settle their local export- and import-related transactions in a day instead of existing 7-10 days. The upgraded version, which will be called BACH II, is scheduled to go live on May 3. Senior bankers welcomed the move, saying BACH II will make international trade more dynamic. There are many instances of the bank-customer relationship deteriorating because the banks could not disburse the exporters’ fund promptly due to the existing manual system, said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Dhaka Bank. “Such problems will be solved when the central bank will introduce the BACH II,” said Rahman, also the chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh.
Imports on higher trajectory while financing faces crunch
The opening of LCs remained on a higher trajectory, with country’s overall imports growing by US$2.07 billion in the first half (H1) of the current fiscal, though financing may face a crunch now. Official data show the overall H1 imports grew by over 9.0 per cent or US$2.07 billion in the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 mainly due to higher import of food-grains and fuel oils. The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LC) rose to $24.66 billion during the July-December period of this fiscal from $22.59 billion in the same period of the previous FY, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. “Higher imports of food-grains along with petroleum products have pushed up the country’s overall imports during the period under review,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE Sunday. The BB official also said higher orders indicate that the overall import would increase in the coming months.
RTGS at BB faces glitch
Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) of the central bank has faced technical glitch for the last couple of days, bankers said. “Payment instructions through RTGS are not executed properly mainly due to poor connectivity with the Bangladesh Bank (BB),” an executive of a leading private bank told the FE on Sunday night. When contacted, a senior BB official said there was a technical glitch for upgradation work. Banks have been advised to use alternative channels so that payment is not disrupted.
Capital market to remain ‘moderately bullish’ in 2018
The capital market will remain moderately bullish in 2018, but local political instability will be the risk factor for the capital market this year, according to a recent survey of a leading stockbroker. The forecasts were made by the majority of the respondents in a recent survey on the Bangladesh capital market conducted by LankaBangla Securities. The findings of the survey were released recently. The survey, which is the sixth of its kind, was carried out between January 4 and January 20 this year. A total of 312 people from various sectors — including academicians, fund managers, foreign investors, chief executives, traders and students — responded to the survey styled ‘Bangladesh Capital Market Sentiment Survey 2018’. The majority, 44 per cent respondents said the capital market’s performance in 2017 was good, mainly due to declining interest rates.
IBBL gets new MD
Md. Mahbub ul Alam has joined as the MD & CEO of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited. Mr Alam performed as the AMD and Head of Investment (Credit) Committee of IBBL prior to join the new post. Md. Mahbub ul Alam began his career in IBBL as a Probationary Officer in 1984. He completed Honours and Postgraduate degrees from the Department of Marketing of Dhaka University.
Midland Bank opens agent banking centre at Shahjadpur
Midland Bank Limited (MDB) opened an Agent Banking Centre at Moshipur village under Garadaho union at Shahjadpur upozila in Sirajgonjon district recently, says a statement. MDB Managing Director Ahsan-uz Zaman formally inaugurated the booth of the Agent Banking Centre in a ceremony as the chief guest to take modern banking services to the doorsteps of common and unbanked people. Md Iqbal Hossain, Proprietor of M/s Mozaddediya Enterprise, Azad Rahman, Chairman of Shahajadpur upozila, Md Saiful Islam and Chairman of No. 2 Garadaho Union Parishad also attended the programme.
BSEC presses DSE to pick India’s NSE-led group, not top bidder
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has been putting huge pressure on the Dhaka Stock Exchange to sell its 25 per cent stake to India’s NSE-led consortium scrapping its (DSE) decision to approve a ‘better’ offer submitted by a Shanghai Stock Exchange-led consortium. The BSEC on Sunday summoned DSE chairman Abul Hashem and managing director KAM Majedur Rahman to convey the BSEC’s ‘displeasure’ over the selection of the Chinese consortium of SSE and Shenzen Stock Exchange by the DSE board of directors, sources in the BSEC said.
More export items to get cash incentive
The government has expanded the list of exporters eligible for cash incentive by granting the facility to some nontraditional goods in order to boost overseas shipments. The finance ministry awarded 15 percent cash incentive to accumulator battery, shoe, and goods made of coconut fibre, and 10 percent to ICT products. The central bank issued a notice to this effect on Thursday. The incentive will be retrospectively effective from July 2017 to June 2018, according to the notice. The exporters of the newly included products will have to apply within 60 days of the issuance of the circular to enjoy the benefit.
Saudi ACWA Power sees $4.5b in local project tenders
Saudi Arabian utility developer ACWA Power expects to submit tenders for projects this year worth $4.5 billion in Saudi Arabia and will also target projects in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates, its chief executive said. ACWA Power CEO Paddy Padmanathan also confirmed the developer of electricity and water projects in the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia has shortlisted banks to arrange an initial public offering (IPO). He declined to name the banks or give a timeframe for an IPO. The company is looking to sell a 30 percent stake to investors and list in Riyadh, banking sources have told Reuters. An IPO is expected by the end of the year. “We are expecting to see a lot of projects here in Saudi. We are targeting 50 to 60 percent of the total,” Padmanathan told Reuters in an interview at ACWA Power’s headquarters in Riyadh.
Call to establish PPP infrastructure platform
The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Authority Sunday laid emphasis on creating a PPP infrastructure platform for doing business smoothly. The call came when the board of directors of the DCCI called on chief executive officer of the state agency Syed Afsor H. Uddin. President of the DCCI Abul Kasem Khan said that some 47 projects costing US$14 billion have been principally approved at the PPP office. Bangladesh is placed at the bottom, ranking 177 in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” index of 2018, he said. He said that recurrent falls in doing business index hurt the potential of foreign investment in PPP projects. He said that the infrastructure investment to gross domestic product (GDP) trend is discouraging and is still below 5.0 per cent. The infrastructure investment to GDP was 2.87 per cent in 2016, which increased marginally to 2.96 per cent of GDP in 2017.
Indian automakers eye more of Bangladesh market
Indian automotive manufacturers will hold an exposition in Dhaka towards the end of the year with a view to winning over Bangladeshi buyers, said a top official of the neighbouring country’s apex trade body for the sector. “We consider Bangladesh as an important destination,” said Debasish Majumder, director of trade fairs of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). In 2016, a total of 0.42 million vehicles were registered in Bangladesh, up 31.25 percent from a year earlier, according to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority. The auto expo will be held in November or December, and if there is a political uprising it will be pushed back to February next year, he said.
BD now self-sufficient in fish, meat production
Bangladesh has achieved self-sufficiency in fish and meat production since the country’s independence, according to the ministry of fisheries and livestock. The country produced 4.13 million tonnes of fish against the target of 4.50 million tonnes, while over 7.15 million tonnes of meat were produced against the target of 7.13 million tonnes in the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17. Fisheries and livestock minister Narayan Chandra Chanda made the disclosure at a press briefing at the ministry on Sunday. The fisheries sector contributes 3.61 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 24.41 per cent to the agriculture GDP. The livestock sector contributed 3.32 per cent to the country’s GDP, according to the government data.
Gazipur industries in dire straits
Industrial enterprises in Gazipur, one of the key industrial belts of the country, are facing serious production setback due to disruption in natural gas supply. Dozens of factories in the area, mostly export-oriented ones, do not get gas supply for 7-8 hours a day, barring the weekend, leaving the manufacturers worried about maintaining the shipment schedules.
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