Important Business News Extracts – January 26 2017
bKash moves to combat abuse of its logo in eight countries
Mobile money company bKash has taken steps to register its logo in eight Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian nations to prohibit the unauthorized use of its logo to remit money illegally to Bangladesh. In several countries with large numbers of Bangladeshis, people are illegally using bKash and the logos of some other popular mobile money brands like Rocket to provide remittance services. To stop the illegal use of its logo, bKash began the process of registering it in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Singapore and Malaysia, said Kamal Quadir, chief executive of bKash. Bangladesh’s biggest mobile money company has also appointed law firms in those countries to serve legal notices on illicit money traders, he added.
Bank farm loan release through NGOs up on 25.0% interest
The scheduled banks disbursed BDT 53.7 billion in farm loans through the linkage of non-governmental organisations with an interest rate at 25.0% in the last financial year. Farmers are supposed to get agriculture loans at 10.0% interest rate from the banks directly. The central bank earlier took a number of attempts to decrease the disbursement of farm loans through the NGO linkage, but the distributions of the loans sharply increased through NGOs. According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the banks disbursed 32.8% or BDT 53.71 billion in farm loans against their annual loan disbursement target of BDT 164.0 billion in the FY16. The banks disbursed BDT 48.3 billion in farm loans in the FY15 and BDT 33.5 billion in FY14 through the NGO linkage. The BB earlier asked the banks to disburse at least 30.0% of farm loan in their own capacity against their fiscal target as some banks distribute their whole annual target of such loans through the NGO linkage.
Ehsan Khasru joins Global Economist Forum as adviser
Md Ehsan Khasru has been elected as an adviser to the Global Economist Forum-Bangladesh, a consultant organisation of the United Nations. He is an adviser to the board of Premier Bank, the bank said in a statement yesterday. Khasru started his banking career in 1983 as a probationary officer at National Bank, according to the statement. He obtained an MBA degree from the Institute of Business Administration under Dhaka University after completing his graduation in economics from the same university, the bank said.
The life insurance sector recorded 3.77 percent growth in 2016 even though nearly half of the companies saw their incomes decline. The 31 life insurers earned gross premium amounting to Tk 7,679 crore last year, according to data from the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority. Of the 31 life insurers, 14 witnessed negative growth in its premium earnings. Life Insurance Corporation of India, which entered the Bangladesh market last year, was excluded from the list. But many of the insurers failed to net new business and renewal of existing policies. Some insurers said their premium income went down, mainly due to payments against matured policies.
Bangladesh’s position in the global Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International has remained almost static over the last five years, with the country still far from the global average score. The magnitude of corruption in the country is alarming though it moved two notches up in the CPI-2016 as revealed by the Berlin-based graft watchdog yesterday. Among the 176 countries surveyed, Bangladesh ranked 145th from the top, and 15th from the bottom — two steps up from the 13th position among 169 countries surveyed in 2015. This time, it scored 26 out of 100 points, one point higher than last year’s. Bangladesh’s score hovered between 25 and 27 and its rank between 13th and 16th since the TI introduced ‘0 to 100’ score scale in 2012, instead of ‘0 to 10’ scale.
NBR to set up national single window to facilitate import-export procedures
The government is set to establish a National Single Window (NSW) to facilitate businesses for completing all procedures related to import and export through online using the platform as part of building digital customs, said the National Board of Revenue chairman Md Nojibur Rahman on Wednesday. The Planning Commission has already given a positive signal for a project related to build the NSW, he said at a press briefing held at NBR headquarters in Dhaka. He also disclosed that the tax authority had also collected BDT 10.0 billion during the enforcement month that ended on January 20 starting from December 21.
Bangladesh aims to produce 1 million bales of cotton by the end of 2025, as the largest cotton importing country meets its total requirement from imports at present. Currently, Bangladesh grows about 180,000 bales of cotton a year, which is just 1 percent of total demand in a year. Bangladesh spends more than $3 billion to import cotton a year. A bale equals 480 pounds or 218 kilograms.
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