Important Business News Extracts – February 16 2017
Mobile wallet users suffer as BB lowers transaction limits
On Friday morning, Mozammel Hossain, a contractor, came to a mobile financial service (MFS) agent at Tejturi Bazar to deposit Tk 47,000 into two accounts of his site managers, who would then use the sum to pay the labourers their daily wages. But, he was dealt a blow when the vendor informed him that he could deposit at most Tk 30,000 into the accounts; and not only that, his site managers would not be able to take out the entire sum that day. And it was Friday, a bank holiday, meaning Hossain had no other option but to resign to the new restrictions, which meant after a full day’s hard work, his labourers went home with just a fraction of their pay. Like Hossain’s labourers, the country’s 1.58 crore active MFS users are left in serious inconvenience after the central bank lowered the ceilings for transactions from February 1.
The imports of capital machinery increased by 69.9% in the first half of the current financial year 2016-17 compared with 14.8% growth during the same period a year ago. Bangladesh Bank officials and an expert said there was no logical reason for increase in the capital machinery imports in the first six months of the FY17 considering the dull business situation. The huge import payments for capital machinery raised a suspicion that money might have been laundered abroad, they said. On the other hand, the import of industrial raw materials slightly increased by 4.9% in the July-December period of FY17 compared with that of 0.5% growth in the corresponding period of FY16, according to the latest BB data. The imports of capital machinery increased to USD 2.9 billion in the July-December period of the FY17 from USD 1.7 billion in the same period of the FY16.
Capital machinery importers now get 30 months to settle payment
The country’s importers of capital machinery will now get 30 months to settle payment against their imported items after filling up the letters of credit authorisation form instead of the previous duration of 18 months. Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday issued a circular to authorised dealer branches saying that it was observed that LCs and contracts for import of capital machinery required phase-wise payments as part of the total import value, besides usual and quarterly payments.
Focus on raising pvt sector investment for GDP growth
Bangladesh needs to boost its private sector investment for raising present GDP growth rate and make it more inclusive for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, economists said on Wednesday. They also said at present the government’s investment model is not a sustainable one. The projects are not delivered timely, project costs increase multifold, and lack of accountability discourages private sector investment. The observations were made at a press briefing of South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) on ‘2nd SANEM Annual Economists Conference 2017’ in the capital. Executive director of the organization Selim Raihan presented the conference outline at the briefing.
Introduce 4G by this year: Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser
Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy yesterday directed the telecom regulator to introduce fourth generation (4G) services in the country by this year. All the mobile operators are almost ready to offer 4G and customers will be able to enjoy the fastest data service within a short time, state minister of the telecom division, Tarana Halim said. Tarana Halim spoke to The Daily Star after a meeting with Joy at the division. She said Joy gave them direction on several issues before high officials of the government’s telecom entities. Joy also focused on improving the service quality of the mobile operators, said Tarana. To improve the overall quality of services, Joy has directed the regulator to allow technological neutrality. Mobile operators are currently using the 2100 band for 3G and the 900 and 1800 bands for 2G services. After receiving neutrality, operators will be allowed to offer any service in any band, which will reduce operators’ cost of doing business and improve service quality. Joy has also asked the regulator to award mobile number portability services within a couple of months, which will help customers to switch operators without having to change their mobile numbers. Joy also cautioned state owned mobile operator Teletalk, directing it to comply with the regulator’s directives.
Licenced firms can produce, import and export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) under a policy the government has made for the first time in the country. Officials said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) has already published a gazette notification of the policy styled ‘LP Gas Operational Licensing Policy 2017. Under the maiden LPG policy, potential firms will be given licence and the licencees will be called ‘LP Gas Operator’.
Maiden policy permits liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) export
Licensed firms can produce, import and export liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) under a policy the government has made for the first time in the country. Officials said the Energy and Mineral Resources Division (EMRD) under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) has already published a gazette notification of the policy styled ‘LP Gas Operational Licensing Policy 2017. Under the maiden LPG policy, potential firms will be given license and the licensees will be called ‘LP Gas Operator’. The firms will be authorized to carry out LPG business, which includes import, production, storage, supply and transportation, Deputy Secretary of the EMRD Akramuzzaman told the FE Wednesday. They can set up LPG terminals, auto-gas filling stations, auto-gas conversion plants and LPG-bottling plants under the policy that opened up the petroleum-fuel sector to cater burgeoning energy demand in the country. The licensees would hold the authority to supply LPG to households, auto-gas stations, and to commercial and industrial clients through engaging dealers or franchises. They can also export bottled LPG or LPG in bulk quantity after attaining no- objection certificate (NOC) from the EMRD and necessary approval from the commerce ministry. Bangladesh earlier had issued licenses to private companies only to build LPG-storage and-bottling plants.
Industries minister Amir Hossain Amu Wednesday said the work on developing a plastic industrial estate is likely to be completed by June 2018 to ensure an environment-friendly plastic industry in the country. ‘The government has taken an initiative to set up an industrial park, spreading over 50 acres, at Sirajdikhan in Munshiganj district with a cost of Taka 133 crore,’ he said. The minister was speaking as the chief guest during the inaugural session of the four-day-long 12th International Plastic Fair-2017 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city. The Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association and Chan Chao International Co, Ltd jointly organised the event.
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