Suspicious bank transactions up 54pc in FY16
Suspicious transaction reports submitted by reporting agencies including banks and non-bank financial institutions increased by 54.20 per cent to 1,687 in the fiscal year 2015-16 from 1,094 in the FY 2014-15, according to a Bangladesh Bank report to be released soon. The STRs submitted by the reporting agencies in FY16 contained a total of 31,785 suspicious transactions worth Tk 3,035.93 crore. The reporting agencies submitted 416 STRs in FY13 and 621 STRs in FY14.A BB official told New Age on Tuesday that the STRs usually increased when the country faced an upward trend in money laundering as the reporting agencies submitted the reports on the grounds of financial crimes. Experts have often suspected that money laundering was being perpetrated behind the under-invoicing and over-invoicing. According to a Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management research report released in June, a large amount of money is being laundered abroad from Bangladesh through export and import business or trade financing. After receiving the STRs, the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, a wing of the central bank to tackle money laundering and terror financing, conducted 63 special inspections on banks in FY16.The BFIU also carried out 27 onsite inspections on 27 mobile financial service providers (head offices and agents) during FY16.The central bank unearthed some money laundering related crimes after conducting the inspections, the BB official said. The BB, however, did not reveal the unearthed money laundering cases in its report. The BIFU received 91.70 per cent STRs from banks and the rest were submitted by other reporting agencies including NBFIs and insurance companies.
Mercantile Bank elects Vice Chairmen and EC Chairman
Md Abdul Hannan and ASM Feroz Alam have been elected as vice chairmen and Md Anwarul Haque as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Mercantile Bank Limited recently.Renowned export and ready-made garment businessman and Chairman of Debstar Associates Ltd and Murad Apparels Ltd, Md Abdul Hannan is known for his contribution to society through different welfare activities, education, health and social development movements.Leading industrialist and Managing Director of Bengal Trading Ltd (Tokyo) ASM Feroz Alam is a sponsor of Premier Leasing & Finance Limited and the founder of Saheda Gafur Ibrahim General Hospital in Patuakhali. He is also involved in financial services, electronic media and many other businesses.Notable businessman and Managing Director of Living Plus Ltd Engr Md Anwarul Haque is involved in real estate, construction, export and import, insurance, financial services and other businesses in the country.
Daily transactions reach Tk 1,000cr
Mobile transactions reached Tk 30,008 crore for the first time in June, according to Bangladesh Bank. During Eid celebrations in June, transactions through mobile reached Tk 1,000.28 crore a day on an average, up by 18.48 percent from the previous month. Mobile financial service providers say people are becoming more comfortable with electronic transactions. Different incentives like cash back and discounts are offered before Eid, which boost the volume of such transactions then, they said.“June was a dream month for the mobile financial service providers and we need to take some more time to reach that level of regular transactions in every month,” said Shamsuddin Haider Dalim, head of corporate communications at bKash.“Nowadays people are adopting more digital services in their daily life and we hope this phenomenal growth will increase in the days to come.”In June, a good number inactive mobile financial service accounts also became active to avail the Eid offers, industry insiders said.At the end of June, the number of active accounts grew by 27.76 percent from May to reach 2.74 crore, the highest level so far. Meanwhile, the total number of accounts, both active and inactive, reached 5.37 crore.
Inter-ministerial meeting on off-loading shares today
Bank and Financial Institutions Division has called an inter-ministerial meeting today to discuss bureaucratic hurdles towards off-loading shares of 26 state-owned companies in the stock market.The government has failed to off-load shares of these enterprises in the stock market during the past seven years allegedly due to non-cooperation of the relevant ministries and bureaucratic tangles.Finance Minister AMA Muhith will preside over the meeting. Bank Division Secretary Md Yunusur Rahman and representatives of the companies will also be present in the meeting.An official at the Bank Division said despite repeated calls from finance minister, the state-owned companies were unwilling to off-load their shares into the capital market.He said the heads of the companies were even warned that they would have to leave the office if they failed to off-load shares by the stipulated times.Most of the gas distribution companies under the Power and Energy Ministry said they would not off-load shares in the local stock market unless the discovery of new gas reserve and increase the existing gas production.Most of gas distribution companies told the Financial Institutions Division that due to shortage of the gas, the government stopped supply of gas to CNG filling stations, residential houses and commercial institutions, the official said.According to the Bank Division sources, only Bangladesh gas field company is willing to off-load shares in the stock market and it has already communicated with ICB capital management company.Shares of the Sheraton Hotel Dhaka will be off-loaded after completion of the renovation of the hotel and then it will be re-banded.
BB to unveil monetary policy for Jul-Dec today
Bangladesh Bank will unveil today the monetary policy statement for the first half of the current fiscal year (2017-18).According to a BB press release, the central bank governor, Fazle Kabir, will unveil the MPS at 11.30am at a press conference at the BB headquarters in the capital, Dhaka.A BB official told New Age on Tuesday that the central bank would focus on the achievement of thesustainable development goals in its new monetary policy ensuring the quality loan disbursement to the agriculture and SME sector.The central bank may increase the private sector growth target slightly in the new MPS with a view to achieving the 7.40 per cent GDP growth target set by the government for this fiscal year.The BB set a private sector credit growth target of 16.50 per cent for the January-June period of FY 2016-17.The BB, however, feared that the country would face an inflationary pressure in the first half of FY18 due to higher amount of money supply than that of the January-June period of FY17.The government has set an inflation target of 5.5 per cent for FY18.
Rising apparel exports to China a sign of new opportunities
Riding on a duty-free trade privilege, Bangladesh’s garment export to China increased 14.77 percent year-on-year to $391.59 million in fiscal 2016-17, something exporters are seeing as a sign that new opportunities are awaiting. China, the global leader in apparel business, has turned into a major export destination for Bangladesh because of its huge population with a growing section of middle-income households. Moreover, China is shifting production from basic to high-end garment products and has a shortage of skilled labour. Garment manufacturers are also giving more preference to Chinese markets for a shorter lead-time and better prices from retailers and brands. Exporters are upbeat about Chinese markets as this potential can be a very good substitute for continued apparel export growth at a time when shipments to other traditional destinations like the US, EU and Canada is falling.
Wheat imports may go up further
Bangladesh’s wheat imports and consumption are likely to go up further this fiscal year, driven by resilient domestic demand and lower international prices, said industry operators. Imports are expected to hit 60 lakh tonnes at the end of the current fiscal year, posting a 5.44 percent gain year-on-year, said the US Department of Agriculture recently. Two industry operators said import of grain may exceed 60 lakh tonnes this fiscal year because of increased consumption as a substitute to rice, the staple food. The USDA revised upward Bangladesh’s wheat consumption forecast to 73 lakh tonnes for the current fiscal year, up three lakh tonnes from its March forecast on increased consumption as an alternative to rice in flood affected areas.“A lot will depend on rice prices. Demand for wheat will rise if rice prices remain at the current level in the domestic market,” said Abul Bashar Chowdhury, chairman of BSM Group, a Chittagong-based importer. Price of coarse rice, which is consumed mostly by poor and lower middle-income people, dropped marginally from a record high of Tk 47.30 per kilogram in June. Retail prices of coarse rice were Tk 42-45 per kilogram yesterday thanks to increased imports after reduction of import duty by the government to 10 percent from previous 28 percent.
Muhith asks DCs to increase govt revenue
Finance Minister AMA Muhith has asked the deputy commissioners to find out ways to increase collection of government revenue.He told the DCs during the ongoing “Deputy Commissioners Conference 2017”, which began in Dhaka on Tuesday, that raising revenue collection was necessary for enhancing different services.Muhith noted that the number of tax payers in the rural areas was significantly low.He urged the deputy commissioners to help implement the current fiscal year budget.“Deputy Commissioners should have special initiatives to achieve the target of the National Board of Revenue,’’ he added.
Edible oil sees price hike twice this yr
The price of edible oil has witnessed increase twice in the current calendar year, according to traders and the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), reports UNB.The price of bottled soybean saw a hike by Tk 5 per litre in the first quarter of the year while Tk 2-3 a litre in the third quarter. Besides, it saw a 16.85 per cent rise in the last one year.A five-litre bottle of soybean of different brands was selling at Tk 510-Tk 530 in the city markets on Friday which was Tk 490-520 last week and Tk 430-Tk 460 a year ago.
Ctg Port to have adequate equipment by 2021
CHITTAGONG, July 24: Chittagong Port will be self-sufficient in cargo handling equipments by 2021, and will be able to procure 10 per cent more than its demand. Ministry of Shipping (MoS) Secretary Ashok Madhab Roy said this at a view-exchange meeting at Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Training Centre on Monday. He also said the port and customs office will remain open round-the-clock from August 1 to ease congestion of vessels and containers. No development project of Chittagong Port will be kept waiting for more than one week for MoS’ approval. Besides, works regarding the projects related to the port’s development will also be expedited in other ministries concerned.
NBR vows to check money laundering through trade
The revenue board will focus on checking illicit outflow of money through international trade after it found more than 80 per cent cases of money laundering taking place through this process, said NBR chief Md Nojibur Rahman.He said some of the suspicious cases have been detected by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) where the country did not receive any proceeds from abroad against exports. The NBR chairman said these Wednesday at a press briefing arranged at a city hotel on the occasion of national launching of ‘World Customs Organisation’s (WCO) Security Project’ in Bangladesh. The NBR chairman said the board would work in three areas including prevention of terrorism, terrorist financing and money laundering under the project. The Asia Pacific Group on money laundering and some other organisations are assisting the government agencies to prevent siphoning of money from the country.
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