Banking needs met anytime, anywhere
Presently, about 40 out of the 57 banks in Bangladesh offer the internet banking facility. But of the 40, five — City, EBL, Mutual Trust, Brac and Standard Chartered — have taken the online banking service to the next level: they have rolled out an app such that the customers can access their bank accounts securely from their smartphones. As of October 2017, there are nearly 17 lakh users of internet banking, according to data from Bangladesh Bank. Of them, more than 90 percent are clients of private banks and the remaining foreign banks. About 6.61 lakh transactions involving Tk 2,300 crore were made through the internet banking platform in October last year. City Bank has witnessed rapid growth in its internet banking use in the last couple of years. Seeing the astronomical demand, it introduced the City Touch, a digital banking app for its consumers. “This banking app has not just made our existing consumers more attached to our banking system, it has also helped us bring many new customers to internet banking,” said Mustafizur Rahman, head of City Bank’s alternative delivery channels. The pioneer in this field is Standard Chartered, which recently consolidated its position as the market leader by rolling out a robust smartphone app, SC Mobile Bangladesh. Bankers said although mobile phone penetration has increased significantly, still the vast majority does not use smartphones. They also said the high bandwidth price also needs to come down to ensure cheaper internet access.
Monetary policy is part of overall economic policy: Rangarajan
Dr. Chakravarthi Rangarajan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said monetary policy is part of overall economic policy that influences the economy through changes in the availability and price of credit and money. “While monetary policy can have multiple objectives, it needs to steer in a clear direction and prioritization of objectives becomes essential,” Dr. C. Rangarajan also former Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India said while delivering the First A K N Ahmed Memorial Lecture on Central Banking on Sunday evening.
Rise of foreign currencies bringing economic worries
Depreciation of the taka against all major international currencies including the US dollar has continued over the last few months reaching its highest peak at Tk 82.88 per dollar on Thursday causing apprehension of economic pressure particularly on inflation and balance of payment. The situation may be prolonged making import of essentials costlier until export earnings and remittance inflows pick up at expected level, experts on Sunday said. They said that further depreciation of the taka would increase inflationary pressure as price of imported food and non-food items would go up while exporter and remittance earners will be benefitted. Exporters, however, expressed their happiness over the appreciation of international currencies particularly US dollar and sought further devaluation of Taka to boost export earnings and enhance competitiveness. According to Bangladesh Bank data, the interbank exchange rate stood at Tk 82.88 per dollar, up from Tk 88.80 a week earlier and Tk 78.95 a year ago. The exchange rate of the British currency pound sterling reached Tk 114.8220 on Thursday from Tk 113.7010 a week ago and Tk 96.8006 a year back. The rate was Tk 101.3042 per EURO on the day, which was Tk 100.9249 on January 14 this year and Tk 83.9317 on the same day of last year. Costly import will also raise the cost of implementation of development projects that depend on import. The government is now implementing many such mega projects including power plants, nuclear power plants and LNG terminal.
Norfund vows to work with City to help SMEs
Norfund, the Norwegian government’s investment fund for developing countries, yesterday expressed its intent to collaborate with City Bank to help Bangladesh’s small and medium enterprises get access to funds. The disclosure comes as Norfund last month signed a $10 million loan agreement with City Bank to support the local lender’s trade and project financing requirements for its clients. A high level delegation led by its Chairperson Kristin Clemet, also a former education, research and labour minister of Norway, recently visited the local bank’s headquarters in Dhaka and gained knowledge on the macroeconomic environment of Bangladesh. Established in 1997 by the Norwegian parliament with the view to helping developing countries fight poverty, Norfund’s committed portfolio at the end of 2016 stood at $1.95 billion and included more than 770 companies. Norfund invests in three sectors: clean energy, financial institutions and food and agribusiness. It also invests in private equity and venture capital funds that target SMEs in need of early phase capital. When Norfund exits investments, it reinvests the funds in other businesses.
New DMD for SIBL
Abu Naser Chowdhury has recently been appointed as deputy managing director of Social Islami Bank Ltd. Prior to the appointment, he was the deputy managing director of Rupali Bank, SIBL said in a statement yesterday. Chowdhury started his banking career as a senior officer at Janata Bank in 1986.
First Finance gets new MD
Nazrul Hossain has recently joined in First Finance Limited as the managing director and chief executive officer, said a press statement. He started his banking career in 1983 with IFIC Bank Limited. He also worked as deputy managing director of Meghna Bank Limited and was the managing director of GSP Finance Company (Bangladesh) Limited.
Accessories makers gird for $12b export target, seek policy support
Garment accessories makers sought on Sunday the government’s policy support to raise their exports to $12 billion in a bid to help achieve the export target of $ 50 billion by 2021. The government should provide policy supports including cash incentive and long term low-rated funds to help entrepreneurs meet the compliance issues and thus help the sector achieve the $12 billion export target in a bid to help raise the export earnings to $50 billion by 2021, said Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) president Abdul Kader Khan. He was speaking at a press conference in the city ahead of a four-day trade show on garment accessories and other related backward linkages that will kick off in the city on Wednesday.
BD seeks duty-free mkt access to Russia
Bangladesh has sought duty and quota free access for its many exportable products to Russia, including ready-made garments (RMG), the facility which it enjoys in European Union (EU) markets. “Currently, Bangladesh receives trade benefits in the form of duty-free and quota-free market access for many of its exportable products from many countries. But, we do not get duty and quota free market facility from Russia. We requested the Russian federation to provide the quota-free access like European Union of Bangladeshi products to its market, aiming to increase trade and business between the two countries,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said after a meeting with a Russian delegation that called on him at his Secretariat office on Sunday. The delegation, representing Russia, is now visiting Dhaka to seek Bangladesh’s support to host the World Expo 2025 in Russia. Levin Sergey Lvovich, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation and member of the organising committee of EXPO-2025, is leading the delegation. Tofail said during the meeting he has requested Russia to provide duty and quota free market access facility for Bangladeshi products to its markets. “Russia is a good friend of Bangladesh. The country gave duty free facility for 71 Bangladeshi items except ready-made garments (RMG). We sought duty free access for RMG,” he told reporters.
Taxmen find fake tax clearance certificates
Taxmen have detected a number of forged tax clearance certificates at field-level tax offices that were prepared with the support of vested quarters including tax practitioners and supporting tax officials, tax officials said. The government has made it mandatory for taxpayers to submit tax clearance certificates for obtaining different services including visa. But these fake tax clearance certificates have showed an inflated and wrong amount of tax payments. Expressing concern over the issue, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) in its board meeting has decided to instruct all income tax officials to make a cautious move on issuance of TINs and tax clearance certificates.
Robi introduces service robots
Robi yesterday introduced humanoid robots with artificial intelligence as customer care attendants, as part of a plan to provide better services without any human interaction. The second largest mobile operator gave a demo of the services to be provided by the five “Robi-servicebots” at a ceremony at Robi experience centre at its corporate office in Dhaka. The robots are private cloud enabled, reads a press statement released by the operator. The private cloud system, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, will allow users to take direct control of Robi-servicebots with their personal mobile devices, the operator said. With the system, Robi will get different services, including advanced AI calculations along with user management, communications support, remote hardware control and data storage, it said.
70pc machinery for effluent treatment found substandard
The government made tanners in Hazaribagh shift to Savar Tannery Estate hastily, being misguided by a group of people about preparedness of the leather hub, said the BSCIC chief. As industry stakeholders aired fear of local people’s outrage against pollution by untreated tannery waste from the ill-equipped estate, the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) Chairman, Mushtaq Hasan Muhuamad Iftikhar, came up with the accusation at a function Sunday.
India slashes onion exports price by $150/tone
Indian government has reduced the minimum export price (MEP) of onion by US$ 150 per tonne with prices of the kitchen staple moderating. The MEP for onion, the floor price below which exports are not allowed, has been reduced to $700 per tonne from $850 fixed in November, as per the commerce ministry, reports PTI.
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