Government bank borrowing set to rise in July
The government is set to borrow significantly high amounts from banks in July for adjusting higher expenditure in June and part financing of its budget deficit for the current fiscal. Officials said the borrowings from the banking system could run up to BDT 123.50 billion, according to the auction calendar released by Bangladesh Bank (BB) Sunday for the current month. The money will be taken by issuing instruments like treasury bills (T-bills) and bonds. Such gross bank-borrowing figure was BDT 108.50 billion for June 2016. “The government borrowing from the banking system has already been increased significantly to meet higher expenditure for the last month of the FY’16,” a senior official familiar with the government debt-management activities told the Financial Express. The implementation of development projects normally becomes faster during the last month of every fiscal, the official explained.
Remittances hurt by falling oil prices
Remittances fell 4.78% year-on-year to USD14.59 billion in the just concluded fiscal year as weak oil prices continue to bleed countries hosting the majority of Bangladeshi migrant workers. This was the sixth time remittances, Bangladesh’s most reliable source of foreign funding, went negative since 1975-76, according to Bangladesh Economic Review. The whole fiscal year’s remittances were particularly hurt by the receipts in June when the country received USD 1.13 billion, the lowest monthly figure since December last year and down 22.0% from the same month a year ago, according to data from Bangladesh Bank. The June figure is upsetting for the government as it coincided with Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr festival, the biggest spending season in the country. The drop in remittances comes in contrast to the rising number of people going abroad for jobs. The outflow of migrant workers jumped more than 62.0% year-on-year to 0.68 million last fiscal year from a year ago, according to data from the state-run Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.
SIM re-registration takes toll on mobile money accounts
The number of active accounts of mobile financial service (MFS) declined about 6.56% in May compared to the previous month, according to a report by the central bank. Mobile phone operators and an official of Bangladesh Bank blamed the fall on biometric verification of SIMs. There are 12.8 million active MFS accounts as of May, which is the lowest in the first five months of this year. The total number of registered MFS accounts — both active and inactive — was 35.5 million at the end of May, which was 35.6 million in April. However, the number of agents stands at 0.59 million as of May, up from 0.58 million a month ago, according to the BB report. Due to the biometric verification, a large number of unregistered SIMs were blocked during January-May, said industry insiders. Subhankar Saha, spokesperson for BB, said they found three reasons behind the decline in the number of active MFS accounts — re-registration of SIMs played the major role. “Though the number of active accounts fell, transaction volumes were not affected. It means the accounts that were dropped from our list were unwanted,” said Saha, who is also an executive director of the central bank.
Government eases uniform FY calculation for MNCs, banks’ subsidiaries
The government has eased the mandatory July-June financial year calculation provision for the multinational companies, according to the Finance Act, 2016. As a result, the multinational companies listed with the Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges will be able to maintain their existing January-December financial year. The relaxation came following a plea from the multinational companies as the provision will make it difficult to maintain a same accounting year with their parent companies. According to a provision of the Finance Act, 2016 which was passed at parliament on June 30, deputy commissioners of taxes may allow a different financial year for a company which is a subsidiary or holding company of a parent company incorporated outside Bangladesh if such company requires to follow a different financial year for the purpose of consolidation of its accounts with the parent company. All the listed companies, except banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, however, will have to go by the July-June financial year as mentioned in the previous finance act. The Finance Act, 2016 also said that subsidiaries of banks, insurance companies and financial institutions would be allowed to maintain January-December financial year calculation to maintain consolidation of their accounts with their parent companies.
MNCs’ transaction scrutiny soon to plug revenue leaks
Government’s tax authority starts scrutiny of the statements of international transactions (SITs) of the multinational companies (MNCs) this month as a step to plug revenue leaks, officials said. The cross-check of the multinationals’ international transactions will be done to formally enforce the transfer-pricing law meant for preventing deliberate mispricing done by MNCs to enjoy lower tax incidence. The Transfer Pricing Cell (TPC) of the National Board of Revenue has already collected SITs from the field offices across the country for auditing tax files of the MNCs. According to the Income Tax Ordinance 1984, section 107 EE, and the Income Tax Rules 1984, rules 75A, taxpayers having international transactions have to submit SIT to their respective tax offices. The field offices sent the SITs in a prescribed format that includes name of taxpayers, TIN, tax zone and circle, date of income-tax-return submission and date of SIT submission.
BTRC examining need for separate 4G license
The telecom regulator is set to explore the option of allowing operators to provide 4G services with their existing 3G licenses, said a top official. The 2100 megahertz band, which is currently used for 3G services, can be used for 4G as well. The 4G technology, also known as Long Term Evaluation technology, is a faster data service than 3G. “The matter will be analysed in depth,” said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. The legal and licensing wing will lead the issue in association with the engineering and operation division and system and service division, he added. The issue came to the surface after mobile operator Robi sought clarification from the BTRC in this regard in April as it was preparing for a merger with Airtel. The government in 2013 sold spectrum in the 2100MHz band through an auction for 3G service with a condition that the spectrum can be used for 4G service. Both Robi and Airtel acquired 5MHz of spectrum each on the band. Since the 2100MHz band is technology-neutral, Robi asked BTRC if a separate licence is needed to roll out 4G services from it. If they are allowed to offer 4G services, then they can use 5 MHz for 3G and the other 5 MHz for 4G, officials of the operators said.
BTMA airs concern over terror attacks
Expressing its deep concern over the recent terrorist attacks on Holey Artisan Bakery at Gulshan and Sholakia Eidgah at Kishoreganj, textile millers feared that this kind of incident may have adverse impact on the textile and garments sector. Considering the importance of the prevailing situation, the association leaders urged the government to protect the country’s secular image and strictly address the anti-state activities neutrally. They also demanded exemplary punishment for those who are involved in this heinous act. The association also expressed its deep shock and sympathy to the victim’s family members.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$45.04||(0.37)||(0.81%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$46.42||(0.34)||(0.73%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||18,146.74||+250.86||+1.40%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.33*|
|GBP 1||BDT 101.87*|
|EUR 1||BDT 86.56*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.