Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked the scheduled banks to submit the monitoring report on money laundering and militancy financing issues before the central bank after investigating all branches within October. BB gave the instruction over the last two days to all commercial banks at the meetings with the high officials of all banks at its headquarters regarding money laundering and militancy financing issues. BB officials had two meetings with the chief executives and heads of anti-money laundering units of 56 banks on Tuesday and Wednesday. On April 27, BB extended policy supports to the banks for adjustment of their stock market overexposures within the stipulated timeframe without selling any shares in the market. Under the revised policy, the banks are now allowed to adjust their overexposures through restructuring the exposure components and enhancing the capital of their subsidiaries with some internal adjustments.
Almost all banks have complied with the share market exposure regulations, as the deadline in this regard ends today (Thursday), officials said. Three banks are set to receive approval from the central bank in this connection today after completing all formalities, they added. The banks are Janata, IFIC and Bangladesh Development Bank Limited (BDBL).
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday allowed five bank subsidiaries to raise BDT 10.9 billion capital to streamline their parent banks’ capital market exposure within the stipulated limit. The banks’ subsidiaries are: MTB Securities, Southeast Bank Capital Service, Shahjalal Islami Bank Securities, AB Investment and NBL Securities, a BSEC release said on the day. Under the Bank Company Act, 1991 amended in 2013, the banks, which have excess investment in capital market, were supposed to bring down their capital market exposure within 25.0% of their equity by July 21, 2016. A BSEC official said as banks’ capital market investments through their subsidiaries are kept out of their capital market exposure, conversion of banks’ own capital investments into its capital market subsidiaries’ investment will automatically reduce banks’ capital market exposure. Under the scope, five banks will convert its own investment into its subsidiaries’ investment and convert its loans to its subsidiaries into subsidiaries’ paid-up capital, he said. Paid-up capital of MTB Securities will be increased to BDT 3.3 billion from BDT 2.0 billion, Southeast Bank Capital Services’ capital to BDT 5.5 billion from BDT 2.5 billion, Shahjalal Islami Bank’s capital to BDT 2.74 billion from BDT 2.14 billion, AB Investment’s capital to BDT 6.0 billion from BDT 2.98 billion and NBL Securities’ capital to BDT 4.0 billion from BDT 1.0 billion. The BSEC approval came after the Bangladesh Bank allowed the entities permission in this regard.
Sustained export growth will largely hinge on product diversification
The country’s export earnings in the just-concluded fiscal year (FY), 2015-16, surpassed the official projected target by nearly 2.2%. The earnings stood at USD 34.2 billion thanks to noteworthy performance by its readymade garment (RMG) sector. The export earnings in FY15, according to reports last week, were USD 31.2 billion. However, the worrying fact continues to remain about the country’s overwhelming dependence on one item — the RMG — so far its overall export receipts are concerned. The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data show the export earnings from the RMG products in FY16 alone stood at USD 28.1 billion with a 10.21% growth over USD 25.5 billion in fiscal ’15. Besides the RMG products, the country has about five notable export items, being supplied mostly to four major markets in its export trade over the years. The European Union (EU) and the US are the two biggest export destinations of Bangladeshi products, accounting for 51.0% and 22.0% respectively of the country’s aggregate export flows. The European buyers are, however, becoming more and more sensitive about labor standards and environment compliance.
Bangladesh Power Development Board, Malaysian company ink deal to build 1,320 MW coal-fired plant
State-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) on Wednesday with a Malaysian consortium of Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Powertek Energy Sdn Berhad to build a 1,320-megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant at Moheshkhali in Chittagong. BPDB and the Malaysian consortium will establish a joint venture company, having 50:50 equity, to implement the project. It will help generating electricity cost-effectively, he hoped. The cost of the proposed power plant project will be around USD 2.50 billion, of which 70.0% will be sourced through debt financing and the remaining 30.0% through equity. The power plant will be set up on 550 acres of land having two units of 660-MW each. A total of 11,000 tons of coal will be required daily to generate electricity from the plant.
Government awards USD 3.14 billion project to China
The government decided Wednesday to appoint China Railway Group Limited for building railway from Dhaka to Jessore through Padma Bridge at a cost of USD 3.1 billion or BDT 276.5 billion. The decision on awarding the contract to the Chinese firm was made at a meeting of the cabinet committee on public purchase at the cabinet division. Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury presided over the meeting, which approved a total of five purchase proposals that include the Padma Bridge railway. The duration of the project spans 20 years. The Chinese government will provide BDT 247.5 billion worth of the project cost while Bangladesh government will spend the rest from its own coffers.
Bangladesh RMG to get ‘top position’ soon: UNCTAD chief
Terming Bangladesh’s progress in readymade garments sector an instance for other countries, UNCTAD secretary general Mukhisa Kituyi opined Bangladesh’s RMG sector would conquer top position in the world soon. The UNCTAD secretary general expressed his observation during a view exchange meeting with industries minister Amir Hossain Amu at Kenya International Convention Centre in Nairobi. Praising the progress of Bangladesh’s leather, plastic and pharmaceutical industries, Mukhisa said Bangladesh’s achievement in these three sectors would be a role model for other countries. He told the industries minister that he would highlight the issue in the closing session of World Investment Forum to disseminate the information to the world business leaders. The industries minister said Bangladesh’s RMG is continuing its upward growth defying global economic meltdown due to government patronization and efficiency of the entrepreneurs.
Meghna Group to get go-ahead for first private economic zone
The Meghna Economic Zone of Meghna Group of Industries is all set to receive investments from home and abroad, as the first private economic zone is going to obtain the final nod from the authority next month. It is one of the two economic zones being developed by Meghna Group of Industries at Sonargaon in Narayanganj.An economic zone is a designated area in a country with special economic regulations that differ from the rest of the country. An entrepreneur can enjoy various benefits, including tax incentives, from the authorities by setting up an industrial unit in an economic zone. Meghna Group has completed the environmental impact assessment, feasibility study and a master plan of the economic zone as per the conditions of a prequalification licence, which it received last year.
Grameenphone is ready to offer fourth generation (4G) mobile services now, its chief executive said. Rajeev Sethi said they have enabled their 10,026 sites with faster internet (3G) technology and all these sites can provide fourth generation telecom services. “For doing so, we only need spectrum neutrality,” Sethi said in an interview on Tuesday. “We found there is demand for faster internet services.” Users are watching videos and they do not bother which technology they are using. “Right now we found Bangladeshi customers are searching for more and more video contents. Users are even watching TV through mobile network.” Once the 4G network is ready, the number of customers using this technology will rise drastically, he said. The number of 3G-enabled sites of Grameenphone was 10,026 in June. Spectrum neutrality, which allows operators to provide any kind of services using any spectrum, will benefit end-users the most, Sethi said, adding that most markets in the world enjoy spectrum neutrality.
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