Bangladesh Bank expands low-cost fund for apparel exporters
The central bank has increased the limit of the low-cost Export Development Fund for apparel exporters to USD 20.0 million from existing USD 15.0 million. “This has been one of our demands,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. BGMEA member factories can borrow from the fund against their letters of credit, firm export contracts or inland back to back LCs, according to a BB letter. The interest rate on loans from the fund will be LIBOR plus 1.0%.
Premier Bank to increase paid-up capital for subsidiary
Premier Bank has informed that the board of directors has decided to increase paid-up and authorized capital of Premier Bank Securities, a 99.99% owned subsidiary company of the Bank, said an official disclosure on Monday. The bank will increase paid-up capital of Premier Bank Securities from BDT 500.0 million to BDT 1.0 billion, which is within the limit of authorized capital by converting bank’s loan in to paid-up capital of Premier Bank Securities, subject to approval from Bangladesh Bank, BSEC and other regulatory authorities, according to the disclosure.
Bangladesh taking USD 165.0 million ‘pricey’ AIIB loans
Bangladesh is going to receive USD 165.0 million credit from the newly-established lender Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which will be costlier compared to the loans of other development partners, officials said on Monday. Officials said AIIB would charge nearly 2.5% interest rate for the USD 165.0 million loans against three projects, as the government completed negotiations with the Beijing-based lender early this month. Meanwhile, the rates of interest for the loans of other multilateral and bilateral lenders, including the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), vary from 0.01% to 2.0%. Among the existing lenders, Bangladesh received the largest amount of concessional loans from WB, ADB and JICA. A Ministry of Finance (MoF) official said the China-led lender AIIB would charge USD denominated LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) rate plus 1.2% interest for its loans to Bangladesh. In addition, AIIB would also charge 0.3% for front-end fee and 0.3% commitment fee for its loan. When the Economic Relations Division (ERD) and AIIB completed negotiations for the loan in early June, the 12-month LIBOR rate was 1.3%.
Bangladesh Bank cautions banks against extravagance
The central bank Monday warned commercial banks against non-compliance with its instructions on their branch establishment, relocation and decoration expenditures that add up to their overhead costs. Go by the existing provisions properly, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said in its warning that came against the backdrop of higher expenditure involved in establishing, relocation and decoration of branches by some banks. The central bank observed that some banks have been spending huge sums of money on decoration and relocation of branches recently, according to a circular issued by the BB on the day. Some banks have also created huge difference in the banking services by providing better services to their special customers with higher cost, it said. Besides, confidence of both depositors and equity providers may deteriorate on the bank managements because of such higher expenditures, the BB noted. However, the limit of cost for relocation of existing branches has been set at BDT 1,000 per sft. Expenditure on purchase of IT equipment should be kept at a reasonable level.
Greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) doubles in 2015
The value of Greenfield (GF) foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country jumped almost double following a spur although the number of announced projects declined. According to available figures, Greenfield foreign investment in Bangladesh found a surge last year mainly due to the announcement of two proposed large-scale electricity projects by Indian conglomerates Adani and Reliance. Total worth of the two projects is USD 3.0 billion. In 2015, Greenfield FDI worth USD 4.5 billion against 22 projects was announced by the multinational enterprises (MNEs) in Bangladesh, according to ‘fDi Markets’. The ‘fDi Markets’ is a service of the Financial Times, which is considered most comprehensive online database of cross-border Greenfield investments. It also shows Greenfield FDI in 2014 as USD 2.05 billion against 28 announced projects in Bangladesh. According to Bangladesh Bank statistics, net inflow of FDI in the country stood at USD 2.2 billion in 2015 while the amount was USD 1.6 billion in 2014. Net inflow doesn’t include Greenfield FDI.
BSEC, National Board of Revenue at loggerheads over fixation of tax
Deducting tax at source from unit-holders’ absolute income from liquidated closed-end mutual funds (MFs) got caught in an impasse as the revenue authorities took the face value of the units as cost price in taxing, sources said. The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has also said the unit-holders’ accumulated profits that came from the liquidated MFs will also be treated as ‘dividend’. But Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has strongly differed with the revenue board over taking into account the accumulated profit as dividend. The situation evolves after the liquidation of two closed-end MFs — AIMS First Guaranteed MF and the First Scheme of Grameen MF One. The LTU instructed the trustee of the Bangladesh General Insurance Company, the trustee of AIMS First Guaranteed MF, to deduct tax at source from the unit- holders’ accumulated profits considering the accumulated profit as dividend in accordance with the section 54 and 56 of the Income Tax Ordinance 1984. On the other hand, as per the BSEC instructions the Trustee has set aside a portion of the funds while disbursing unit-holders’ payments.
BDT 6.1 billion Teletalk expansion project on cards
Aiming to offer better and quality services, the government is going to take a fresh project for the state-owned cellular phone operator, Teletalk, to expand and modernise its network, reports BSS. State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications said the implementation of the project would strengthen, expand and improve the service quality of the operator which would also pave the way for offering different government services through it. Besides, posts and telecommunications division (PTD) secretary Faizur Rahman Chowdhury told the news agency that the PTD has already sent the Development Project Proforma (DPP) to the planning ministry for final nod of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC).
BSEC approves rights offer of BD Thai
The securities regulator Monday approved the rights offer of the Bangladesh Thai Aluminium, officials said. The approval came at a meeting held at the office of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC). As per the BSEC approval, the Bangladesh Thai Aluminium will issue one right share against one existing share at a price of BDT 10 each. The company will raise a capital worth above BDT 523.4 million through the rights offer to enhance its production capacity and repay loans partially. As the company’s rights offer document, the company’s net asset value (NAV) was BDT 47.94 as of June 30, 2015. The company’s earning per share (EPS) was BDT. 1.03 for the period January to June, 2015. Citizen Securities & Investment is working as issue manager for the rights offer of the the Bangladesh Thai Aluminium.
Budget to put pressure on low-income people: Transparency International Bangladesh
The Transparency International Bangladesh has called for reconsidering the proposed budget, saying it has slyly passed on the tax burden to lower income groups and the general people in its bid to reach the revenue generation goal. If the proposals are approved, it will expand socio-economic inequality and stoke instability, said the local chapter of the Berlin-based global anti-corruption movement in a statement on Sunday. The proposed budget has imposed various direct and indirect taxes on low-income groups, small savers, investors and pensioners, said Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of the TIB. The budget has inequitably proposed to deepen the tax burden on service holders who pay tax regularly and the common people who contribute to most of the VAT income. Savings certificates are a major credible investment tool for the lower income groups, but the imposition of additional tax on it will prevent them from having an extra income, the TIB said. Besides, the tax rebate scope, along with the increase in direct and indirect taxes, has been cut drastically for the low-income groups compared to the rich and the wealthy.
Cut in jet fuel price fails to lower air fares
The government has slashed price of A-1 jet fuel, known as aviation fuel, for outbound air flights by over 12.0% much to the expectations of airliners, keeping prices of other petroleum prices unchanged, sources said. But none of the outbound airliners has reduced the tariff of air tickets yet, meaning that the price cut would only be beneficial to the airliners, not the passengers, they added. State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) reduced the A-1 jet fuel price by 12.1% to 51.0 US cents per liter for international flights leaving the country’s main airport — Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in Dhaka and by 12.3% to 50 US cents per liter from Shah Amanat International Airport (SAIA) in Chittagong, a senior BPC official told the FE. The BPC, however, kept the aviation fuel price for domestic flights unchanged. The flights leaving the HSIA would have to continue purchasing the fuel at BDT 62.0 per liter and the flights leaving the SAIA at BDT 61.0 per liter, said the official. The BPC had slashed aviation fuel thrice in the previous year to cope with the falling oil prices in international market.
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