The central bank is set to modify the guidelines on credit card operations, allowing the banks to fix the interest rate on card users on the basis of any loan instead of consumer credit.The banks have already been asked not to charge more than 5.0 per cent of the highest interest rate of a consumer loan for credit card users.The decision was taken at a meeting with leaders of Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB), a forum of the banks’ chief executives, held at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) headquarters in the capital on Monday.BB Governor Fazle Kabir presided over the meeting. The six-member delegation of ABB was led by its Chairman Anis A Khan.The meeting also decided that the guidelines on credit card operations will come into effect from January 01, 2018.The banks will be allowed to issue supplementary foreign currency or dual currency credit cards under the revised guidelines. BB earlier advised the card issuers not to issue any supplementary foreign currency or dual currency credit card.
Bangladesh Bank has advised all scheduled banks to distribute relief and financial assistance among the people affected by the recent landslides in Chittagong hill tracts areas.Banks were asked to help them under corporate social responsibility activities and show such expenditure in the balance sheet as spending in social projects or community investment sector, the banking regulator said in a statement yesterday.As of yesterday, 150 people, including four army men, were killed in the landslide and the death toll may rise as the rescue operation has not yet come to an end.
Southeast Bank Limited signed an agreement with Labaid Group recently under which the bank’s credit and debit card members can enjoy up to 15% discounts on various medical services in Labaid Hospital, said a press release.Md Abdus Sabur Khan, head of cards division of the bank, and Brig Gen (retd) Dr Khan Md Asadulla Hel Galib, medical director of Labaid Group, signed the deal on behalf of their respective organisations. The signing ceremony was also attended by officials of the two the organisations.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked Finance Minister AMA Muhith to postpone implementing the controversial new value-added tax law set to be effective from July 1, Finance Ministry officials said.The directive came at a meeting in parliament office on Monday, also attended by National Board of Revenue Chairman Nojibur Rahman and Finance Division officials.An official who was present at the meeting said the prime minister did not want the new law, which introduces 15% flat VAT rate, to create any extra pressure on people as the government headed for national election in just one and half years.She asked the officials concerned to further review the implementation plan of the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012.Sheikh Hasina also wanted to know about the outcome of the negotiations that continued for the last four years with the country’s business community on the new VAT law.“Find out if there was any negligence from the officials that led to the failure in negotiations with the business community and left the problem still unresolved,” she was quoted as saying by an official.The government came up with the postponement plan of the new VAT law because of the possible negative impacts on people’s life and the ruling party’s standing ahead of the next parliament polls.
The government moves to rewrite the new VAT act, accommodating in it some provisions of the existing law, to skip wild criticisms and possible price rises. Officials said exercises are on stream to accommodate some of the provisions of the existing VAT law of 1991 in the new VAT and Supplementary Duty (SD) Act 2012 following demands from businesses and to stem escalation of prices. Incorporation of multiple rates of the value-added tax (VAT), continuation of the tariff value, estimated time for accommodating the changes in the VAT online system have been studied by the VAT wing of the revenue board recently as per instructions from government high-ups.The department of VAT of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has exercised the options and sent separate summaries to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), sources said.However, they said, the government has yet to take any decision about deferring the VAT and SD Act 2012 meant for enforcement from the upcoming fiscal year
The government has released cash incentives amounting to Tk 11 billion to be disbursed among major exporters for the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17.The ministry of finance in the first week of this month advised the Chief Accounts Officer of the Finance Division to release the fund in favour of the central bank to start disbursement of the fourth installment from April to June, 2017.Local exporters have been advised to seek the fund by applying to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) through respective banks against their exports during the period. Of the Tk 11.00 billion, the jute and jute product sub-sector will get Tk 1.00 billion, while other sectors will receive the remaining amount.At present, some 20 export sectors including textiles and apparels, frozen fish, leather products, agro-based products and agro-processing industry, halal meat, bone paste, potato, light engineering, ship and pet bottle flakes are receiving cash incentives. Under the cash incentives programme, agro-products and processed agro products, halal meat, diversified jute products, carbon made from jute and seeds of vegetables and crops are getting the highest 20 per cent cash subsidy.The small and medium garment factories are receiving additional 4.0 per cent subsidy, while 3.00 per cent are being provided to new products and new market expansion except the USA, Canada and the European Union and 2.00 per cent for export to the EU.
Shipments to the US, Bangladesh’s single largest export destination, declined 4.93 percent year-on-year to $4.82 billion in the first ten months of the fiscal year due to erosion of price competitiveness and longer lead time.The declining trend is not a good sign as exports had previously grown at a commendable rate over the years despite internal and external difficulties, said an exporter and an economist.“We had challenges before too, but we never faced such a declining trend in exports to the US,” said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute.For instance, Bangladesh’s exports to the US maintained even 20 percent growth in some years in spite of difficulties.“There is something wrong and we need to find that out sooner than later,” Mansur said, adding that erosion of price competitiveness is the major reason behind the slowdown in exports to the US.
BR, Chinese co sign deal on Dhaka-N’ganj rail corridor
Bangladesh Railway (BR) and Power China signed a Tk 2.63 billion contract on Tuesday to develop Dhaka-Narayganj rail corridor. But the construction of 12-kilometre railway track in the next one-and-a-half years by freeing the land from illegal occupants remains challenging.BR Additional Director General (infrastructure) Kazi Rafiqul Alam and Commercial Manager of Power China Zhang Peiliang signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides at Rail Bhaban in Dhaka. Railway Minister Mujibul Haque, Director General of BR Mohammad Amzad Hossain, Deputy General Manager of Power China International Group Limited Yang Huijun and additional secretary Komol Kishore Bhattacharjo spoke on the occasion.Admitting the challenge, the minister said the expansion of the Dhaka-Naranganj route had become essential for facilitating the movement of thousands of commuters between the two cities.
Rough weather and growing traffic congestion during Ramadan are turning out to be a boon for e-commerce players, who are witnessing a surge in the orders for clothes and accessories in the lead-up to Eid-ul-Fitr. Typically, the e-commerce players get about 15,000 orders a day, but from this month it has been in the neighbourhood of 21,000, according to industry insiders. For instance, Bagdoom, one of the top e-commerce sites in the country, is receiving 35 percent more orders when compared with last Eid-ul-Fitr, said Mirajul Huq, its chief operating officer.“The weather is playing a very important part this year,” he said.At the start of Ramadan, cyclone Mora hit the country, and since last week a depression at the Bay of Bengal has been causing continuous rainfall in the capital.For Daraz Bangladesh, the jump in orders from last Eid has been more than double, helped in part by some of the offers they are giving to entice Eid shoppers, according to Syed Mostahidal Hoq, its managing director. eCourier, an e-commerce product delivery service company, is looking at a 20 percent hike in orders, which will go up to 50 percent soon, said Biplob G Rahul, chief executive and founder of the company.
Retail Holdings Bhold BV, the largest shareholder of Singer Bangladesh Ltd, has sold 1.2 million of its shares into the largest retailer of consumer durables in the country. The shares, out of its total holding of 33.5 million stocks, were sold at the prevailing market price, according to a web posting on the Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday. Retail Holdings of the Netherlands sold 4.85 million shares in April this year and 2.05 million shares in October last year. Every share of Singer Bangladesh was traded at BDT 180 to BDT 196 last year which increased to BDT 224.70 on February 22 this year and closed at BDT 188.1 yesterday on the DSE. Officials of Singer Bangladesh declined to comment on the sales of the shares. Retail Holdings held about 70.0% share in Singer Bangladesh as of last year.
10 more Economic Zones to be ready for investment by December: BEZA
Development of at least 10 more economic zones will be completed by December this year, increasing the number of the completed EZs to 15. Among the 23 EZs, 10 would be completed by the end of this year. These are: Meghna Industrial Economic Zone, Mirsarai Economic Zone, Naf Tourism Special Economic Zone, Sabrang Economic Zone, Moulvibazar Economic Zone, Jamalpur Economic Zone, Sirajganj Economic Zone, Sonargaon Economic Zone, East-West Special Economic Zone and Akij Economic Zone. BEZA chief said they had already developed five EZs in different areas of the country where some investors already made investment commitment. The completed EZs included Mongla Economic Zone, Abdul Monem Economic Zone, Bay Economic Zone, Aman Economic Zone and Meghna Economic Zone.
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