Private sector credit growth up further
Domestic credit flow to private sector increased further as cut-down lending rates roped in corporate entities to borrow more from local banks than overseas sources, bankers said. Private-sector credits grew to 15.6% in April 2016 on a year-on-year basis from 15.2% in March, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. The credit growth was 15.1% in February. The growth in credits to private sector has already surpassed the target set by the central bank in its monetary policy for the January-June period of the ongoing fiscal year. The central bank had projected the private-sector credit growth at 14.8% in June 2016 from 13.8% in December 2015. Echoing the BB chief economist’s view, senior bankers said the upturn in private- sector bank borrowing may continue in the months ahead as some banks offer lower interest rates on lending to their clients, particularly corporate ones, to minimize their cost of funds. The weighted average rates on lending came down to 10.6% in April last from 10.8% in the previous month, the BB data showed. It was 10.9% in February. The total outstanding loans with the private sector rose to BDT 6447.3 billion in April 2016 from BDT 5,577.8 billion in the same month of 2015. It was BDT 6,364.4 billion in March last. The overall excess liquidity with the commercial banks came down to around BDT 1.1 trillion as of April 7 last from around BDT 1.2 trillion a month ago, according to the central banker.
Remittance falls 8.0% in May
Remittance fell 8.3% year-on-year to USD 1.2 billion in May as low oil prices continue to erode the incomes of the Middle Eastern countries that host the most Bangladeshi migrant workers. In the first 11 months of the outgoing fiscal year, Bangladesh received remittance worth USD 13.5 billion, down 3.4% year-on-year. April’s receipts fell 7.8% year-on-year, according to data from the central bank. With a decline in crude oil prices impacting the fortunes of the oil exporters, remittance from workers in the Middle East appears to have contracted, the World Bank said in a report recently. About 68% of Bangladeshi migrant workers reside in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — which have been hit by the slump in oil prices. These workers had accounted for 64.0% of last fiscal year’s record of USD 15.3 billion in remittance receipts. Remittance income has not accelerated although manpower exports went up significantly in recent months. Some 311,642 Bangladeshis went abroad for jobs in the first six months of 2015-16, up 43.2% from a year earlier. Remittance sent by more than eight million migrant workers play a crucial role in the country’s economy, helping reduce the overall incidence of poverty as well as maintain a healthy balance of payments. It has helped reduce the poverty level in Bangladesh by 1.5%, according to the WB. It also accounts for about 66.0% of the country’s foreign currency reserves, providing Bangladesh with a strong and stable external position.
IMF prods government to enforce shelved VAT law soon
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggests the government to take necessary preparation to launch the shelved VAT (value added tax) law ‘in the near future’. In the face of a strong opposition from businesses, the government, willy-nilly, backtracked on its move to enforce the new VAT law in fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 alongside the new budget. In doing so, however, it breached a pledge made to the global lender in order to get USD 1.0 billion Extended Credit Facility (ECF) loan. Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget speech last Thursday announced a full-fledged implementation of the new VAT law from FY 2017-18. The government’s U-turn over the VAT law is believed to be because of the tough protest from the business community. The government framed the VAT and Supplementary Duty (SD) Act 2012 in line with the suggestion of the IMF. Enforcement of the new VAT law will introduce a uniform rate of VAT at 15.0% for all businesses, save small ones. It faced repeated agitation from the businesses before announcement of budget for next fiscal year as it had moved to implement the new VAT law in line with the commitment made to the Washington-based lender. The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), the apex trade body of the country, had urged the Prime Minister to intervene, as they said the new VAT law was formulated bypassing the recommendations of a joint committee. The recommendations include raising VAT-free turnover ceiling to BDT 3.6 million, fixing VAT rate at 3.0% for turnover up to BDT 15.0 million, setting VAT at 4.0% for traders who are unable to obtain rebate, and at 2.0% for those who sell products at fixed rates.
NBR moves to boost payroll taxes
Companies will have to submit a list of employees and their taxpayer identification numbers to the National Board of Revenue while showing their salary expenses — a move by the revenue authority to boost payroll taxes. If employers fail to do so, the salary payment that they have made will be treated as income and will be taxable. The step will prevent companies from claiming higher expenses by showing “ghost employees” on the payroll, as TINs have been made mandatory for employees who get a pay of BDT 16,000.0 or above a month. About 95.0% of the employed people work in the private sector. Of the employed, 24.0 million are paid employees and half of them receive salaries on a monthly basis, according to Labor Force Survey 2013 by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. The number of managers, professionals, technicians and associate professionals is 3.5 million or 14.6% of the total paid employees. People in these three groups have an average monthly income between BDT 17,746.0 and BDT 21,323.0, according to the survey. Taxmen said they do not get the proper amount of taxes from salaries and as a result, its contribution to total income tax collection remains low. Taxmen got BDT 9.8 billion as withholding tax from salaried persons in fiscal 2014-15, a 29.0% hike from the amount in the previous year, according to NBR.
Envoy Textiles recognized for green initiatives
Envoy Textiles Ltd, a leading garment exporter of Bangladesh, was recognized by a US organization for its green initiatives that helped save a significant amount of energy and water in its production process. Envoy Textiles received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s platinum certification — the first Bangladeshi exporter to get the recognition from US-based Green Building Council in the denim category, the company said. Platinum is the highest level of green-factory certification that a structure can earn. LEED is a popular green building certification program used worldwide. It includes a set of rating systems for design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods. The program aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. Envoy Textiles saves 30.0% electricity by means of the green initiatives, said Abdus Salam Murshedy, managing director of the company. “We also save a substantial amount of gas and water.” The factory in Bhaluka of Mymensingh produces high-value denim fabrics for renowned retailers such as Marks & Spencer, GAP, Wrangler, Tesco and Next.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$50.44||+0.08||+0.16%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$51.47||+0.03||+0.06%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,938.28||+17.95||+0.10%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.38*|
|GBP 1||BDT 114.07*|
|EUR 1||BDT 88.10*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.