BB failed to get info about Bangladeshi depositors in Swiss banks
The Bangladesh government has already sought information about Bangladeshi depositors in Swiss banks but are yet to receive a reply, said Finance Division officials. They said Bangladesh Bank had sent several letters to the Swiss National Bank over the last three years seeking the information. But the SNB authorities have never answered. However, India will be receiving information about the country’s depositors in Swiss banks under the “Automatic Exchange of Information” agreement signed between Switzerland and India. As there is no such agreement with Bangladesh, the government will again seek information on depositors in Swiss banks, as SNB data shows that deposits by the Bangladeshis surged by 19% in 2016 from a year ago. Officials said the information will help Bangladesh take back money believed to be laundered there. Last May, Switzerland bent to pressure from the United States and the European Union and relaxed its law of secrecy, which for generations has been the principal cause of attraction for deposits. Following the development, the Federal Banking Commission of Switzerland said that it would abolish the so-called Form B bank accounts that have enabled dictators, drug barons, arms dealers and the like to keep ill-gotten gains in Switzerland without disclosing their identity. Swiss bank insiders said the change in rules could shed light on rumours that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein of Iraq deposited a fortune in Switzerland. Swiss banks have denied holding any accounts in Hussein’s name, but the insiders said his money could be held in Form B accounts. On Thursday, the SNB published a series of annual reports which revealed that deposits by Bangladeshi citizens have gone up significantly.
Operating profits of most PCBs increase in six months
Operating profits of the country’s private commercial banks (PCBs) showed an upturn in the first six months of the current calendar year. Of 40 PCBs, 15 marked an upward trend in operating profits while three witnessed a downturn, according to provisional data for the January-June 2017 period. The data of the rest were not immediately available.In the final count, the amount of profits may be a little higher or lower, said officials of different commercial banks. Un-audited operating profits, however, don’t indicate the actual financial position of a bank as the banks have to leave aside funds for provisioning bad debts and taxes payable to the government. The rising trend in credit practically in the private sector has helped the commercial banks pick up their operating profits in the first half of the year comparing to the same period last year, according to the bankers. Meanwhile, private sector credit growth increased further in April due to higher trade financing for settling import payment obligations, they added.It rose to 16.21 per cent in April, which was close to the target set by the Bangladesh Bank (BB), from 16.06 per cent in March, according to the central bank figures. It was 15.88 per cent in February. The monetary policy for the January-June period of the just-concluded fiscal year had set the private sector credit growth target at 16.50 per cent. A few number of banks have already been able to earn a significant amount from their treasury operations, they explained. The bankers also said some banks could not perform as expected during the period under review mainly due to an increase in their volume of non-performing loans (NPLs).
Banks, NBFIs asked to raise SME lending to 40pc for manufacturers by 2021
Bangladesh Bank has asked the country’s banks and non-bank financial institutions to raise loan disbursement to the small and medium enterprises engaged in the area of manufacturing to 40 per cent of their total annual credit distribution to the SME sector by 2021.The BB issued a circular to the managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks on Thursday asking them to increase their loan disbursement to the manufacturing sector (SME) with a view to boosting the country’s economic activities. It is observed that some banks are not playing an expected role in disbursing SME loans, so the central bank has set separate loan disbursement targets for the areas of manufacturing, trading and service of the SME sector, according to the central bank circular. The BB data showed that the SME loan disbursement by banks and NBFIs increased by 22.49 per cent to Tk 1,41,935.38 crore in 2016 compared with that in a year ago, but 63.79 per cent of the loans went to trade or unproductive sectors. The manufacturing sector (SME) got 24.77 per cent of the total SME loans disbursed in 2016 while the service sector received 11.42 per cent. A BB official told New Age on Thursday that banks and NBFIs had been disbursing loans in the manufacturing sector (SME) 23-24 per cent of their total SME loans for long despite repeated instructions from the central bank to raise the percentage. Against the backdrop, the BB asked banks and NBFIs to increase the disbursement to 40 per cent of their SME loans in manufacturing sector, 25 per cent in service sector and 35 per cent in trading sector by 2021.
Agrani Bank, BREB sign agreement
Agrani Bank Limited signed an agreement recently with Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (BREB) to collect electricity bill of Rural Electrification Association through agent banking scheme, said a statement. According to the agreement, all customers of the BREB can pay their electricity bill through all Agent Points (Agrani DOER Banking) of Agrani Bank Limited. On behalf of Agrani Bank, deputy general manager (IT and MIS Division) Shamim Uddin Ahmed and BREB director finance (FMT) Md. Hossain Patwari on behalf of All Rural Electrification Association signed the agreement. The signing ceremony was attended by Mohammad Rafiquddaulah, deputy general manager of Agrani Bank; Bony Tasnim, vice-president, and Mohammad Ziaul Hoq, head of Business Development of Agrani DOER Banking (DOER Services Limited); and Mohammad Nazmul Haque, controller (Finance and Accounts) and Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, deputy director of Finance of the BREB.
Businesses take $2b in buyers’ credit in 1yr
Buyers’ credit in the country’s business sector increased heavily in recent months, reaching almost $6 billion at the end of April as local importers were taking the advantage of receiving foreign loans at lower rates of interest. Buyers’ credit increased by 49.71 per cent to $5.82 billion as of April 30, 2017 from an outstanding amount of $3.89 billion in the corresponding month a year ago, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data. Bangladesh Bank officials said that the increased trend in the foreign loan in the form of buyers’ credit might put a risk on the country’s financial sector as such credit would become a burden for the country.According to BB rules, the importers are now allowed to take buyers’ credit to import capital machinery and industrial raw materials.The importers usually take the external credit at interest rates within the range of five per cent. The local businesses are taking the buyers’ credit from the financial institutions of the developed countries which have been facing a slower economic growth for long, a BB official said.‘Around five per cent interest rate for the buyers’ credit is higher considering the economic trend in the developed countries while the rate is much lower for Bangladesh as the local banks usually offer term loans to the businesspeople with an interest rate ranging from 9 per cent to 15 per cent’, he said. The BB data showed that the buyers’ credit increased almost in every month in last one year as it stood at $5.52 billion in March, $5.48 billion in February and $5.40 billion in January 2017. The overdue position in the buyers’ credit in last four months stood at $3.72 million in April, $9.14 million in March, $10.17 million in February and $11.62 million in January 2017.A BB official told New Age on Thursday that the central bank should discourage the businesspeople from taking buyers’ credit as it would create two types of mismatches — foreign exchange and maturity.
FBCCI for impact assessment study before new VAT law
The apex trade body of the country, FBCCI, has demanded impact assessment study before implementation of the new Value Added Tax (VAT) and Supplementary Duty law 2012.“As the government has scheduled to execute the new VAT law after two years, the government should conduct an impact assessment study by an independent agency before implementing the law with amendment,” said the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry President Md Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin. The FBCCI boss was addressing a press conference on the budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18 held at its auditorium on Saturday. Shafiul said the decision to suspend new VAT law would help boost domestic investment and industrialisation and generate employment as well.“The new move by the government will not hamper revenue collection, rather it will mobilise the country’s business and commercial sectors.”He also demanded that harassment by the revenue board be stopped in the name of implementing VAT law.“We are not against the law, but the harassment by NBR officials must be stopped. We want to pay VAT, tax, but there should be no harassment. NBR has to be more capable in this regard,” said the FBCCI President. Shafiul in a written speech thanked the government for suspending the new VAT law for the next two years and also for the reduced excise duty structure on bank
deposits. He called for reduction of the source tax to .50% from 1% on the export of clothing products, leather and frozen fish and food.
Govt turns to SD to meet budget deficit
The government is now depending on supplementary duty (SD) to mobilise the revenue deficit triggered from the deferral of the enactment of Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act-2012.The government has raised SD on dozens of products, which would push up the prices as well as affect the manufacturing businesses, according to the Finance Bill 2017, passed in the House on Wednesday. In the national budget for the fiscal year 2017-18, the government had earlier set an ambitious revenue target of Tk91,257 crore highly depending from VAT collection since it then considered enacting the VAT law from the upcoming fiscal year. Eventually, the government was compelled to backtrack from its stance regarding the law following a growing pressure and criticism from the business community and even from lawmakers in the parliament. Since the law enactment is deffered by two years, it would not be possible to reach the revenue target from the VAT collection. Moreover, the postponment has raised questions as to how the government will face the budget deficit.The VAT collection target will see a shortfall of Tk17,000 crore due to the government move, which delayed the imposition of a 15% flat VAT rate for all sectors.
Businesses hail VAT law holdup
The business community yesterday thanked the government for deferring the implementation of the uniform 15 percent VAT for two years and cutting excise duties on bank deposits.“The government has taken a realistic decision by continuing the existing VAT laws and postponing the new one,” said Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry, at a press briefing. The move, which took into consideration the worries of the business community and the general public, would go on to enhance trust between the public and private sectors. A congenial environment to execute the new VAT law is yet to be established, so the postponement would give the National Board of Revenue and the business community sufficient time to prepare, he said. The trade bodies have always welcomed the positive sides of the new VAT law, said Mohiuddin, who was reading out a written statement at the briefing held at the FBCCI’s headquarters in Dhaka.“We hope the government would look into the issues that need to be amended before their implementation in future.”The country’s apex trade body reiterated its call for an impact assessment of the new VAT law by an independent body and bring in the legal amendments accordingly. The FBCCI welcomed the cut in excise duty, saying it would benefit small savers.
New country chief for DHL Express Bangladesh
Md Miarul Haque has recently been appointed as the country manager of DHL Express Bangladesh.Haque succeeded Desmond Quiah, who had been serving the company for the last 27 years, the express services provider company said in a statement yesterday.Haque joined DHL Express Bangladesh’s commercial department in 2001 and started heading the team in 2005.He started his career in 1995 with British American Tobacco Bangladesh in trade marketing and distribution. Haque obtained an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration under Dhaka University.
Digitisation accelerates faster development in every sector
RANGPUR, Jul 1 (BSS): Digitisation has become the most effective tool to accelerate development in every sector making civic life easier and pushing Bangladesh toward a middle income nation.”It has become possible to easily reach government services to the people’s doorsteps through union digital centres (UDCs) and other web portals as a result of digitisation to accelerate development,” said Divisional Commissioner Kazi Hasan Ahmed.Launching of the UDCs at union level and web portals at upazila and district levels has turned digitisation into an irreversible process making the common people completely dependant on the online digitised internet services and facilities.
Parliament passes BDT 5.4 trillion Appropriation Bill
The Parliament passed Thursday the Appropriation Bill, 2017, authorizing the government to spend BDT 5.35 trillion for meeting revenue, development and charged expenditures from consolidated fund for the fiscal year starting tomorrow (Saturday). An appropriation bill or running bill or supply bill is a legislative motion (bill) that authorizes the government through the recommendations of the President to spend money from the national exchequer. The House approved a total allocation of BDT 3.7 trillion against 59 demands for grants by different ministries and divisions by voice vote while BDT 1.6 trillion charged expenditure to be spent from consolidated fund. Charged expenditures don’t require vote as per article 89 (1). Lawmakers moved 352 cut motions against 59 demands for grants, but most of them were mutually resolved leading to direct voice vote.
Remitters losing interest in formal banking channel
Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) are now increasingly sending home their remittances through mobile banking channels like ‘bKash’ and illegal ‘hundi’ operators, a government survey has said. The mobile banking has become very popular in Bangladesh after its introduction in 2015. Remittances sent through it have swelled significantly in recent years. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), in its latest survey, said, the mobile banking has become the second major conduit for sending remittance. The NRBs sent 14.3% of their total remittances through mobile banking in 2015. The BBS survey showed that the remittance inflow into the country through banking channel has dropped significantly as more remitters prefer ‘hundi’, an informal channel, to send their money home.
Government earning surpasses revised target, falls far short of original one
Government’s revenue authority surpassed its revised target of revenue collection in the just-concluded fiscal year (FY 2016-17) by BDT 710.0 million, provisional figures show, circumventing some hurdles. The revised target of tax-revenue collection in the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 was BDT 1.9 trillion. Original target set for the National Board of Revenue (NBR) was BDT 2.03 trillion. Thus, the tax revenue earning during the just concluded fiscal year was BDT 179.0 billion short of the original target. Board sources said despite several challenges and large sums of stuck-up revenue arrears, the board got to the goal in the end. Tax revenue worth BDT 230.0 billion is stuck up with the state-owned Petrobangla. Also, the NBR offered tax waivers worth about BDT 400.0 billion to different projects of government and non-governmental organizations for facilitating future investment. Around 14.0% negative growth in corporate-tax collection from the banking sector also got mention as a factor among the major challenges.
Small firms to get up to BDT 200.0 million credit as central bank revises ceiling
In a circular, the central bank also rest the limit for micro, small and medium industries in manufacturing and services sector and micro and small enterprises in trading in line with the National Industrial Policy 2016. According to the circular, a cottage industry will be entitled to get loans up to BDT 1.0 million. A micro industry from the manufacturing sector will get up to BDT 10.0 million as loans while a micro industry from service sector will be to receive up to BDT 2.5 million, it says. The circular fixed BDT 200 million as loans for a small industry in manufacturing sector, while BDT 50.0 million loans for a small industry from the service sector. A medium industry from manufacturing sector will be able to secure BDT 750.0 million in loans while a medium industry from the service sector BDT 500 million. Micro enterprise and small enterprise in trading sector will get loans up to BDT 2.5 million and BDT 50 million respectively.
FDI in RMG beyond Export Processing Zones
The government is set to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in readymade garment (RMG) sector responding to repeated calls from various countries, officials said. In this regard, the government will assign the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) with the task of issuing utilization declaration (UD) certificate, as Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) are not cooperating, they added. Drawing foreign investment in RMG is a long pending issue, he said adding that foreigners usually want to invest in high-end fashion garments where local manufacturers hardly have any stake.
10-year tax holiday for PPP projects
The tax administration has offered a 10-year tax exemption on income from Public Private Partnership (PPP) schemes in 14 areas, mostly related to large public infrastructures, beginning July this year. The tax break will be effective from the day the commercial operations of PPP projects begin, said the National Board of Revenue in a notification last week. PPP schemes to build national highways or expressways and related service roads, flyovers, elevated and at grade expressways, river bridges, tunnels, river ports, sea ports, airports, subways, monorails, railways, bus terminals, bus depots and elderly care homes would be eligible for the tax break.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$46.04||↑1.11||↑2.47%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$ 48.77||↑1.14||↑2.39%|
|Gold Spot*||$ 1,241.61||↓3.90||↓0.31%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 80.64*|
|GBP 1||BDT 105.04*|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.14*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.25*|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.