Dhaka Bank Limited recently signed an agreement with bKash Limited
Dhaka Bank Limited recently signed an agreement with bKash Limited at the Bank’s Corporate Office. Under this agreement, Dhaka Bank’s corporate customers will be able to enjoy disbursement facilities of bKash by using Dhaka Bank C Solution – a digital payment solution of Dhaka Bank. Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO of Dhaka Bank Limited and Kamal Quadir, Chief Executive Officer of bKash Limited were present at the signing ceremony. Additional Managing Director of Dhaka Bank Emranul Huq also seen.
IMF shifts office to WB premises from BB after 44 years
The International Monetary Fund has shifted its office to World Bank premises in the city’s Agargaon area from the Bangladesh Bank wherefrom it ran its operation for last 44 years. Officials told New Age on Monday that shifting of the IMF office to its new location was completed last month. But the IMF officials informed the ministry of foreign affairs, ministry of finance, economic relations division and the international organisations in the country about the shifting through letters on July 20.IMF resident reprehensive Stella Kaendera said they shifted the office to the World Bank premises because it is convenient for them. She, however, said traditionally the central bank became the home of the IMF’s resident offices across the world. She said the IMF would still have space in the central bank despite shifting the main office to the city’s WB office. On August 17, 1972, Bangladesh joined the IMF. Since then the IMF has been running its operation from the fourth floor of the main building of the BB headquarters. The IMF strengthened its presence in Bangladesh since 1994 when the country accepted the obligations under Article VIII, Sections 2, 3 and 4 which are linked to the country’s monetary policy formulated by the BB.
StanChart, City join hands to attract Chinese investors
Standard Chartered and City Bank are set to organise a day-long symposium in China next month with a view to attracting foreign direct investment, much needed as Bangladesh looks to scale up its economy.“Now is a good time to make investment in Bangladesh,” said Lin Weiqiang, president of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh, which represents about 80 percent of the Chinese enterprises in the country. The reasons are the impressive economic growth clocked in by the country over the past decade or so, the current government’s commitment to development and the vast labour resource, he said.“Economic exchange between China and Bangladesh became more vigorous since the Awami League government came to power,” said Lin. His comments came at a press briefing yesterday to announce the ‘China-Bangladesh Investment Forum’, held at the capital’s Westin hotel.
Agricultural credit exceeds target by 20% in FY’17
The country’s public and commercial banks exceed their farm loans disbursement target by 20% during the recently-concluded Fiscal Year 2016-17, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data. Agricultural loans disbursement by the banks in the July-to-June period totalled almost Tk21 crore against a target of Tk17,550 crore, and were up from the Tk17,646 crore lent in the previous FY.As per the central bank data, more than half the amount of total credit went to the crop sector.“Banks have been able to exceed the agricultural loan disbursement target over the last couple of years due to their strict monitoring of the credit disbursement,” BB Executive Director Subhankar Saha told the Dhaka Tribune.“Every month, we hold meetings with scheduled banks to expedite agricultural loan disbursement activities.”According to the banking sector analysts, agricultural credit disbursement in FY’17 far exceeded the target as the banks failed to disburse loans to other sectors, while a low interest rate made borrowing in the farm sector more attractive. In a recent circular, Bangladesh Bank asked the country’s financial institutions to disburse farm loans at an interest rate of 9%. The central bank will announce its next agricultural and rural credit policy and programme for the ongoing fiscal year on July 27.
Daily MFS transactions cross Tk1,000cr mark
Mobile banking use surged in the first half of 2017 despite Bangladesh Bank lowering the daily and monthly transaction limits to curb the illegal channelling of remittance. According to the latest data from the central bank, the average daily value of mobile financial services (MFS) transactions broke through the Tk1,000 crore barrier in June. The figure was reached through an average of 6 million daily transactions and was 18% higher than the Tk844.23 crore recorded in 4.9 million daily transactions in May.MFS enables consumers to obtain financial account information and conduct transactions with their financial institution using mobile banking services, and to make payments, transfer money, or pay for goods and services through mobile payments. The banking method is growing in popularity in Bangladesh. At present, 17 of the 19 banks granted permission to run MFS are providing services and of these, Brac Bank’s bKash and Dutch Bangla Bank’s Rocket topped the list in service providing. Former Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman introduced MFS, claiming that “no other country has more mobile banking customers than Bangladesh.”According to the central bank data, the number of registered mobile bank accounts stood at 53.7m by the end of June, up from 52.6m in May. Among the registered accounts, the number of active mobile banking account users stood at 27.4m.However, to target rising illegal use of MFS, from February 1, 2017 the central bank brought down the daily ceiling of mobile cash-in to Tk15,000 from Tk25,000, while slashing the maximum cash-out limit to Tk10,000 from Tk25,000.The monthly maximum cash-in limit was slashed to Tk100,000 from Tk150,000 and the maximum monthly limit on cash-out was brought down to Tk50,000 from Tk150,000.
AB Bank Limited donated computers
AB Bank Limited donated computers to Economics Department of Jahangirnagar University. President & Managing Director of the bank Moshiur Rahman Chowdhury handed over the computers to the department’s Associate Professor Asrarul Islam Chowdhury at AB Bank head office in the city recently.
VAT law delay to impact economic growth: IMF
Bangladesh will face challenges in maintaining its current growth momentum in fiscal 2017-18 due to the deferment of the implementation of the new VAT law for two years, said the International Monetary Fund.“The authorities’ decision to delay the launch of the VAT that was supposed to improve the weak tax revenue collection will make achieving the growth more difficult,” said the Washington-based multilateral lender in its updated World Economic Outlook. The report was released yesterday in the Malaysian capital by IMF’s Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld. The government at the eleventh hour shelved its bid to enforce the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 from July 1 in the face of pressure from a section of businesses and lobby groups. Framed at the prescription of the IMF to boost domestic revenue collection, the law seeks to impose a uniform VAT rate of 15 percent, doing away with the existing multiple rates. Bangladesh though will continue to maintain its solid macroeconomic performance this year, according to the report.
Monetary policy may be expansionary
The central bank yesterday held its final round of meetings to lock down an expansionary monetary policy for the first half of the fiscal year. The main aim of the monetary policy — due to be announced tomorrow — would be to contain inflation while achieving higher economic growth in line with the budgetary target. The private sector credit growth target may be set between 16.5 percent and 17 percent. In the immediate past monetary policy, the private sector credit growth target was set at 16.5 percent. As of May, credit growth was 16.03 percent. In contrast, the private sector credit growth stood at 16.78 percent in June last year.“In recent times, inflation has been on the rise due to food price spiral — the new policy will keep an eye on this,” said a high official of the Bangladesh Bank, adding that the private sector credit growth goal posts will be shifted much. There will be no changes in policy rates though, he added. The government has set the GDP growth target of 7.4 percent and inflation target of 5.5 percent for 2017-18.The monetary policy must particularly look to contain inflation, which is on an upward trend, due to a rise in food prices, said Mustafizur Rahman, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue.
Steps taken to ease vessel congestion as exports suffer
Chittagong Port Authority has taken a series of measures to ease persisting vessel congestion which continues to cause huge losses in the country’s export and manufacturing sectors. The decisions include allowing bigger container vessels at night and creating more space at the yard, procuring handling equipment, enhancing capacity of the off-docks, resuming capital dredging and keeping the port operational round the clock. The decisions were taken at a meeting on Monday with all port users to facilitate export-import activities and keep the sea port operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week. According to industry insiders, manufacturers have to pay more fare to feeder vessels as it has to overstay by 5-10 days to unload goods or choose costly air shipment to avoid delay. Imported raw materials are also coming late and hampering production particularly in the garment industry, the chief source of foreign currency in Bangladesh. The country’s apparel exports rose by only 0.20% in the last fiscal year, which is the lowest in one and a half decades.“In clothing business, fashion, time and season are very important. If a manufacturer fails to deliver products in time, he wouldn’t be able to sustain in the business,” said Faruq Hassan, senior vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).“Due to perennial congestion at the Chittagong seaport, which is the prime delivery point of export goods, the RMG manufacturers have to suffer a lot in order to import raw materials in time and ship the finished products within the deadline.“These issues increase the production as importers have to pay more for delay in unloading products. To avoid delayed shipment, they have to choose air shipment which is costly.
Minister wants developed world to lift trade barriers
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed has urged the developed countries to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers for promoting Bangladesh’s export products, reports BSS.”Due to different tariff and non-tariff barriers, Bangladesh’s exports to different countries in the world have not been growing at expected level,” he said on Monday while meeting with Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) Kunio Mikuriya at his secretariat office in the city, said a press release. Tofail said the least developed countries (LDCs) should get duty-free and quota-free market access in the developed countries as per decision of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
BTRC invites applications for mobile number portability licence
The telecom regulator yesterday invited applications for the much-awaited auction for mobile number portability licence, which will give customers the freedom to switch mobile operators without changing their existing eleven digit number. This will help improve service quality and empower customers, said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.“The option will make the market more competitive and push operators to improve their service quality to hold on to subscribers,” he said. The regulator had called an open auction for September 28 last year but it was called off. It was then decided to use the beauty contest method, in which a committee typically sets a number of criteria, including technical offers and financial strengths. The candidates’ offers are then evaluated by a jury who selects the plan that has the best mix of those criteria. The services will be licensed to one company. State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim posted on her Facebook page that it would take another six to nine months for this service to be available. A subscriber will be able to make the switch for Tk 30 and have to stay with it for at least 90 days.
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