Bangladesh Bank sells $25m more to five banks
The central bank of Bangladesh has sold US$25 million more to five commercial banks to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. “We’ve sold the foreign currency to the banks on Tuesday 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.
JS passes bill allowing four family members on bank board
Parliament passed Tuesday legal amendments allowing four from a family to be bank directors at a time, amid strong opposition and criticisms from various quarters. The passage of ‘The Bank Companies (Amendment) Bill 2018’ made the changes to ‘The Bank Companies Act 1991’ to make the new provision of multiple bank directorships from a single family. Furthermore, the tenure of directors of private commercial banks has been extended for three consecutive terms to nine years from two terms following the amendments. Finance Minister AMA Muhith moved the bill in the Jatiya Sangsad (JS) and it was passed by voice vote with Deputy Speaker M Fazley Rabbi Miah in the chair, according to news wires. Placing the bill, the finance minister said the amendments would bring changes for fulfilling a longstanding demand of the private-bank owners. However, the opposition and independent lawmakers led by Opposition Chief Whip Tajul Islam walked out of the House on protest and urged the Finance Minister to withdraw the bill and send it to the committee for eliciting public opinion.
Brokers, merchant bankers for proper coordination
Stock brokers and merchant bankers have sought proper coordination among the regulatory bodies to keep the capital market stable. They said the Bangladesh Bank (BB) and the securities regulator should maintain coordination while taking any decision that might affect the capital market. In this regard, they will meet to submit a set of recommendations to the BB and the ministry of finance. The decision of seeking coordination was taken on Tuesday at meeting held at the office of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE). The representatives of Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association (BMBA) and DSE Brokers Association (DBA) attended the meeting. Their move came following continuous sharp correction in broad index and turnover value observed recently on both the stock exchanges.
Bankers for promotion of green banking
Senior bankers at a training session have asked the field level bankers to promote and expedite the green banking for promoting eco-friendly banking practices alongside bolstering the economy both in rural and urban areas. They were addressing the inaugural session of a five-day training titled ‘Green Finance and Financial Inclusion’ in Rajshahi city on Monday, reports BSS. Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) organised the training where a total of 32 bankers participated. RAKUB Managing Director Rafiqul Alam addressed the session as the Chief Guest. RAKUB General Manager (Administration) Mozammel Haque was present as the Special Guest and spoke at the inaugural session, chaired by Principal of the institution Ataur Rahman.
BB annuls recruitment test of eight banks, NBFIs
Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday annulled the recruitment test of eight state-run banks and non-bank financial institutions that took place on January 12 amid allegations of mismanagement and protests by candidates in some of the exam centres. he decision on cancellation of the tests was made at an emergency meeting of bankers selection committee at the central bank presided over by its governor Fazle Kabir. Bangladesh Bank general manager and deputy spokesman GM Abul Kalam Azad said, ‘The BSC decided to cancel the tests after allegations of mismanagement at some of the centres had surfaced.’ he BB also formed a five-member inquiry committee headed by its executive director Ahmed Jamal to investigate the mismanagement in holding the recruitment exam. ‘The committee was asked to submit its report within two weeks,’ he said. After receiving the probe report, the BB would ask for explanation from the Dhaka University management department team, the spokesman said.
Pubali Bank inks deal with BB
Pubali Bank Limited signed a participatory agreement with Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Second Small & Medium Sized Enterprise Development Project (SMEDP2) at the conference room of BB recently. With the financial support of Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh, the agreement was signed under the refinance scheme of US$ 240 million to expand financial services for the development of Cottage, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (CMSME). Md. Abdul Halim Chowdhury, Managing Director & CEO of Pubali Bank Limited and Md. Abul Bashar, General Manager of Financial Inclusion Department of Bangladesh Bank signed the agreement.
Skilled workers’ outflow jumps by 36pc in 2017
The outflow of Bangladeshi skilled workers surged by more than 36% last year compared with a year ago helped by the government efforts, officials said. A total of 434,344 skilled workers went abroad with jobs in 2017, which was 318,851 in 2016, according to the statistics available with the manpower bureau. Skilled workers secured jobs in different countries including the Middle East (ME), Singapore, Jordan and South Korea. But the number of professional Bangladeshis marked a declining trend last year. Some 4,507 professionals went abroad with employment in 2017 compared with 4,638 in 2016, the data showed. Of the total outbound workers, some 401,796 were less-skilled and 155,569 semi-skilled. Among the semi-skilled workers, the majority were domestic helps, BMET officials said. Bangladesh sent a record 1.0 million workers abroad in 2017, highest in the history of the country. Of the outbound workers, more than 100,000 were women workers.
Govt to spend Tk 18,483cr on 14 projects
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved 14 projects involving Tk 18,483 crore. The approval came from the Ecnec meeting held at the NEC conference room with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. “A total of 14 projects were approved today involving an overall cost of Tk 18,482.92 crore,” Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said while briefing reporters after the meeting. Of the total estimated cost, Tk 16,370.81 crore will come from government funds, while Tk 95 crore from the own funds of the agencies concerned, and Tk 2,017.11 crore as project assistance, the minister said. Among the projects, nine are new projects and the remaining five are revised ones. In terms of cost, the big projects are: Development of Selected Non-Government Secondary Schools Project of Tk 10,649.05 crore, Emergency 2007 Cyclone Recovery and Restoration Project (ECRRP): LGED Part of Tk 1,618.10 crore, Construction of Flood Shelter Centres at Flood and River Erosion-prone Area (3rd phase) of Tk 1,507.43 crore and Greater Chittagong Rural Infrastructure Development Project-3 of Tk 1,290 crore. The Education Engineering Department under the Secondary and Higher Education Division will implement the project — Development of Selected Non-Government Secondary Schools — by June 2020, said the planning minister. The project will ensure the development of infrastructure of these 3,000 vulnerable secondary schools, he said.
Multilayer taxation on dividend hurting investment growth
Big entrepreneurs shy away from reinvesting their profit in new ventures or limiting necessary expansions in fear of huge monetary losses under Bangladesh’s ‘complex’ multilayered dividend-taxation system. Such a revelation came from sources in business circles who also said the anxiety over tax issues stymies the flourishing of local companies, so also employment generation for umpteen jobseekers, including higher-educated ones. Businesspeople are depressed about the consequences of rolling out their reinvestment or business-expansion plans, they said. Industry-insiders said under the existing Income Tax Ordinance promulgated way back in 1984 a company must pay 20 percent tax on its dividend earnings. If any company is a multitier one, meaning it holds the industrial undertaking through a set of subsidiaries owned by it, it has to pay tax at 20 per cent every time one subsidiary pays dividends to another under the existing law. Thus, dividends are taxed in the hands of the shareholders multiple times before reaching the ultimate investor, said a local company owner, requesting anonymity.
Garment accessories offer bright prospects
Bangladesh has turned into a major source for garment accessories, as direct export of such items increased by 66.67 percent year-on-year to $1 billion in the last fiscal year. Once a net importer of garment accessories mainly from Hong Kong and China, Bangladesh is now a lucrative source of such items, with spiralling demand coming from international buyers of many garment-making nations, including the African ones. A new entrant making direct shipments to Chinese-dominated global markets, local manufacturers of Bangladesh have been exporting the integral parts of apparel items to Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Malaysia. Accessories like buttons, zippers, labels, price tags and washing instructions are used in making finished garment products.
Incentives needed for leather sector to increase exports
Experts have opined that proper incentives should be given to leather sector in order to increase Bangladesh’s exports through the industry. The opinion was aired by discussants at a meeting between Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) on Tuesday. As a non-traditional sector, the leather industry gets little access to the Export Development Fund as compared to ready-made garments. Along with reforming the policy in this regard, tax should be reduced on royalties in order to hit the $5 billion export target, speakers at the meeting said. They added that the efficiency of the port also needed to be considered in ordered to increase exports, suggesting that port handling be handed over to the private sector as they had an excellent track record in the matter. This may result in revenue growth, increased efficiency, and a decrease in lead times for export and import. Speakers also recommended the set up of a central bonded warehouse and the introduction of a passbook system.
Exports await a blow
Bangladesh is likely to lose about $2.7 billion in export earnings every year once it graduates from the Least Developed Country bracket, where it has been for 43 years. Upon graduation from the LDC status, exports will be subjected to 6.7 percent additional tariff as duty-free and quota-free benefits from different countries and trading partners will be withdrawn. The disclosure came in a paper prepared by the Economic Relations Division on the challenges and opportunities related to transitioning from LDC. The study comes as a United Nations panel, the Committee for Development Policy, is expected to put Bangladesh in its graduation list this year as the country meets all three criteria: Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Human Assets Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI).
BTRC receives 3,522 subscriber complaints against telcos in ’17
Auto-activation of unnecessary value added services, poor network coverage and excessive call drop of mobile phone services drew 3,522 complaints against mobile phone operators to the telecom regulator in 2017, with the highest number of complaints lodged against Grameenphone. Of the complaints received by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, 56 per cent of total complaints or 1,973 numbers of complaints were against the leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone. Besides, 23.42 per cent of all complaints or 825 complaints were submitted against Robi and Airtel collectively on various grounds, showed a BTRC data for the period of December 7, 2016 to December 31, 2017.
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