Import rises by 11.83pc in July-May
Country’s import payments increased by 11.83 per cent in the July-May period of the just concluded fiscal year (2016-17) against the 4.23-per cent rise registered in the corresponding period of the FY 2015-16.Bangladesh Bank officials said that the settlement of letters of credit, or actual import payments, soared in the period as the import of capital machinery increased significantly arousing suspicions of money laundering as the growth came against the backdrop of a dull investment situation in the country.BB data showed that settlement of LCs for capital machinery import in the first 11 months of FY17 witnessed a 44.21-per cent growth against the 12.87-per cent growth in the same period a year ago. Import payment for capital machinery in the July-May period of FY17 stood at $4.49 billion, which was $3.12 billion in the same period of FY16.Former interim government adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam told New Age on Friday that the import of capital machinery increased in recent times that aroused suspicions that money might have been laundered by some businesses through over-invoicing in their LCs as the overall business situation in the country remained dull in the period. He, however, said that some capital machinery for the power sector might have been imported in the period.A BB official said that there was no rational cause of the increase in the capital machinery import as the country’s businesses apparently did not set up large-scale industrial units in the period. The huge import payment for capital machinery raised a suspicion that money might have been laundered abroad using trade channel.
Bank Asia reelects Safwan, Nurul as vice-chair
Mohd Safwan Choudhury and AM Nurul Islam Anu were re-elected vice-chairmen of Bank Asia at a meeting of the board of directors of the bank held on July 3, said a news release. Safwan is former president of Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industries and the managing director of M Ahmed Tea and Lands Co Ltd, Phulbari Tea Estates Ltd, M Ahmed Cold Storage Ltd, Premier Dyeing and Calendering Ltd and M Ahmed Food and Spices Ltd. He also served as the chairman of Bangladesh Tea Association. Safwan is the president of FIVDB, an NGO providing primary education to the under privileged children. Nurul started his career as a teacher of Dhaka University in 1961. Later, he joined in Pakistan Civil Service in 1963. In Bangladesh Government, he held important assignments, including private secretary to the then prime minister Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and joint secretary to the president of Bangladesh. Nurul was a director of National Bank and acted as chairman of its audit committee. He joined the board of Bank Asia in 2008 and acted as the chairman of audit committee and subsequently as chairman of risk management committee.
AB Bank in leadership vacuum
AB Bank has run into a leadership vacuum after its managing director and chief financial officer were among the 16 accused of embezzling Tk 383 crore from the bank by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Following the filing of the corruption case on June 28, Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury, managing director of AB Bank, and Mahadev Sarker Sumon, chief financial officer and company secretary, have stopped coming to office. Ten other senior and mid-level officials who were accused in the case are also not attending office. As a result, many vital internal matters have remained pending, including loan disbursement. The Daily Star tried to get in touch with Chowdhury but his mobile phone remained switched off.Amid this crisis, the board has entrusted the management of the bank to MA Abdullah, currently the deputy managing director, according to M Wahidul Haque, chairman of AB Bank.“The MD is on annual leave,” he told The Daily Star.The ACC on June 28 filed a case against Mehboob Chowdhury, chief executive officer of Citycell; former foreign minister M Morshed Khan and his wife Nasrin Khan; and 12 senior officials of AB Bank with the Banani Police Station for allegedly embezzling over Tk 383 crore from the bank between 2011 and 2015.An ACC team led by its Deputy Director SK Abdus Salam arrested the Citycell CEO at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on July 1 upon his arrival in Bangladesh from Sri Lanka. He was granted bail on the same day on grounds of ill health.
Shahjalal Bank director wants to sell holdings violating rules
Mohammed Younus, a director of Shahjalal Islami Bank, gave a newspaper advertisement to sell his holdings and directorship in the bank violating securities laws. Directors of listed companies must give announcement on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website if they want to sell their shares since it is price sensitive news, according to the rules of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), the stockmarket regulator. But Younus did not make any such announcement on the website of Dhaka bourse. Rather, he offered to sell his shares through a media advertisement. He even did not disclose his name in the advertisement and offered interested buyers to contact with him through an e-mail. Younus did not respond to mobile phone calls or messages from The Daily Star yesterday. The board of the bank felt embarrassment about the issue as the director has not informed it about his planned sale of shares, said a senior executive of Shahjalal Islami Bank.“There is no option to sell directorship because a director is appointed following approval in the annual general meeting and from Bangladesh Bank,” said Muhammad Abdul Mazid, former chairman of the Chittagong Stock Exchange. Moreover, a director of a listed company can’t sell holdings without declaration in the stockmarket, he said.“This type of advertisement is undesirable,” said Subhankar Saha, executive director of the central bank.
StanChart BD wins Power Deal of the Year award
Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh has won Power Deal of the Year at Asset Triple A Asia Infrastructure Awards 2017 for its role in financing the Northwest Power 225MW Unit 3 CCPP project, said a statement. Standard Chartered played the role of the lead arranger, ECA/MIGA coordinator, Account Bank and Security Agent for the transaction.The transaction was closed in the shortest time for any multi export credit agency (ECA) financed power project in Bangladesh. Unit 3 comes less than a year after the successful closure of North-West Power’s Sirajganj 225MW Unit 2 CCPP project.The awards were handed over to Naser Ezaz Bijoy, Managing Director and Country Head of Global Banking, Standard Chartered Bangladesh at a grand event held in Hong Kong recently. Commenting on the win, he said, “Today, financing mobilized by Standard Chartered supports over 23 per cent of the total installed power capacity in the country.
Southeast Bank Limited donated fund for the construction of a new computer laboratory building of Dhupoil High School
Southeast Bank Limited donated fund for the construction of a new computer laboratory building of Dhupoil High School as part of its CSR activities. Deputy Governor of Bangladesh Bank Shitangshu Kumar Sur Chowdhury inaugurated on Saturday the new computer laboratory building at Lalpur in Natore. Natore-1 lawmaker Md. Abul Kalam Azad attended the function as the chief guest, while Managing Director of the bank M. Kamal Hossain was the guest of honour.
NBL, SRL ink deal on Electricity Bill collection
National Bank Limited (NBL) and System Resources Limited (SRL) has signed an agreement regarding ‘Electricity Bill’ collection on Tuesday (June 6) at NBL’s Head Office.Choudhury Moshtaq Ahmed, Managing Director of National Bank Limited and Md. Zahidur Rahman, Chief Technical Officer, System Resources Limited have signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.Additional Managing Directors of NBL Wasif Ali Khan and MA Wadud and Deputy Managing Directors ASM Bulbul, Abdus Sobhan Khan, Shah Syed Abdul Bari & Md. Farid Uddin Ahmed were present among others at this function.
The government is mulling massive reform initiatives to revamp the export sector and gain the status of a developed nation, and get access to duty-free markets in Russia and Myanmar.In order to achieve the target, the Commerce Ministry has planned to take a total of 16 initiatives, and accordingly, the authorities concerned are working to further ease the country’s banking facilities for businessmen to export their products to the countries. Besides, a separate fund will be created for the sector’s growthAn official at the ministry told the Dhaka Tribune that the authorities concerned will hold a meeting with all stakeholders on July 13 to generate ideas about increasing the export volume to achieve the status of a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041.The ministry has set the RMG export target at $50bn by 2021 though the apparel industry, considered to be the lifeline of the country’s export earnings, has seen only a 0.20% rise to $28.15 billion, which is the lowest on record in the last one-and-a-half decades, in the just concluded fiscal year. Bangladesh’s overall export earnings stood at $34.83bn in the Fiscal Year 2016-17, which is a 1.68% higher compared with the $34.25bn in the previous year.Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Bangladesh Exporter Association, said the currencies of Russia and Myanmar are yet to be recognised by the global banking system. As a result, local exporters are not interested to export their products directly through a letter of credit.