Forex reserves cross USD 30.0 billion-mark
Country’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves crossed the USD 30.0- billion mark Monday principally as the global market slump lowered import-payment pressures on the economy. The forex reserves rose to USD 30.001 billion on the day, setting a new record, from USD 29.86 billion of the previous working day, officials said. It was USD 29.01 billion on April 25. “Our forex reserve has crossed the USD 30.0-billion mark mainly due to higher export earnings and upward trend in inward remittance,” SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB), told the FE. Mr. Sur Chowdhury also said the country would be able to settle eight months import bills with the current reserves. The country’s overall import turnover decreased in terms of value, not volume, following lower prices of commodities, particularly petroleum products, on the global market, the deputy governor explained.
Investment rebate may rise to 25.0%
The proposed limit for individual taxpayers’ investment rebate is set to be revised upward in the new finance act following widespread criticism of a squeeze. Official sources said the ceiling for investment rebate may be raised to 25% from the proposed 20.0%.On June 02, the government in the Finance Bill-2016 proposed to cut the ceiling for investment rebate to 20.0% from the existing 30.0% for the individual taxpayers. Research think tanks, professional bodies, chambers and general taxpayers criticized the lowering of the investment ceiling in the proposed budget as tax-burden for the individual taxpayers would increase substantially if the cut is enforced. They said a sharp climb-down from 30% to 20% would substantially increase the pressure of income-tax payment on the individual taxpayers.
BREXIT not a concern for forex market in Bangladesh
The exchange rates of foreign currencies except British Pound Sterling still remain stable in Bangladesh’s forex market even after the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU) on June 23. The country’s economists are not yet concerned about the BREXIT as it has no short-term direct impact on Bangladesh’s financial market. However, they feared that the country might face the impact on the export and remittance in the long run. The exchange rate of US dollar was BDT 78.0, Euro was BD T 87.0 as of June 26 and the rate was almost same a week before. There has been no fluctuation in the exchange rate of the two currencies after Brexit but pound rate plunged to BDT107.0 from BDT 115.0 even after the British referendum, according to the Bangladesh Bank data.
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company poised for maiden offshore gas exploration
Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration Company (Bapex) is set to go for offshore oil and gas exploration for the first time ever jointly with Australian company Santos, beginning with Magnama drilling. The state-run company signed a deal Monday in this regard with the foreign firm to initiate the hydrocarbon exploration. The work may begin next February, officials said. Under the ‘binding offer agreement’ Bapex will carry out offshore drilling jointly with Santos at Magnama structure in the Bay of Bengal, BAPEX managing director Md Atiquzzaman said. Santos will be paid USD16.5 million as ‘sunk cost’ for engaging in the joint venture (JV) to explore the offshore well, the MD said. Some exploration activities involving around USD 92.3 million have so far been carried out at Magnama, located under the block-16 area, he said.
Bangladesh Power Development Board incurs BDT 15.0 billion loss in Q4
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has incurred losses of nearly BDT 15.0 billion in the last quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal year 2015-16, worsening the government’s subsidy burden on the private power sector, sources said. BPDP incurred losses due to a huge gap between bulk power tariff and power generation cost caused mainly by costly power purchase from independent power plants, rental and quick rental plants, they added. It has been providing electricity bills to independent and rental power plants and supplying fuel oil to its own power plants, hampering the electricity generation activity, a high official of the board said. The state-run entity has requested the power division to provide BDT 14.9 billion as subsidy for independent power plants, rental and quick rental power plants and import electricity from India.
New telecom policy finally gets nod
The government yesterday gave its long overdue approval to the draft of the national telecom policy that addresses the fast evolving scenario of the country’s telecom landscape. The new policy will replace the existing one, which was formulated in 1998. The policy allows spectrum and service neutrality, a pressing demand of the country’s mobile operators. It aims to achieve 100% teledensity and 65.0% internet penetration by 2021. “The slogan for the policy is ‘Telephone for All’,” said Mohammad Shafiul Alam, cabinet secretary, after the meeting. The policy has been formulated considering the fast evolving landscape of the country’s telecom sector over the next ten years. However, there is scope for revision from time to time to keep up with the changing scenarios, he added.
Teletalk signs deal with Huawei for network expansion
State-owned cellular phone operator Teletalk struck a USD 39.2 million deal on Monday with Chinese firm Huawei for its 2G and 3G network upgradation and expansion, reports BSS. Teletalk Managing Director Gias Uddin Ahmed and Huawei Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Colin Shi put pen on the agreement paper at Posts and Telecommunications Division (PDT) in presence of State Minister Tarana Halim. Speaking on the occasion, Tarana Halim said Huawei would install 685 2G BTSs and 559 Node-Bs (3G BTS) and upgrade the core network of Teletalk in next 18 months involving USD 39.2 million.
DCCI expresses worries over proposed gas price hike
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) expressed Monday concern over the proposed gas price hike saying it might affect the economic growth. It called upon the government to improve gas supply to meet the growing demand through alternative primary energy. It also suggested formulating consistent gas tariff and distribution plan for minimum three years in line with exploration and distribution policy aiming to cater the cumulative, incremental sectoral interests, investment opportunities and propel the economic growth trajectory avoiding commotion in the years to come.
Phoenix to invest over BDT 100.0 million in AkjerDeal.com
Silicon valley-based venture capital company Phoenix will invest over BDT 100.0 million in Bangladesh’s leading e-commerce marketplace AkjerDeal.com. Fahim Mashroor, chief executive officer of AjkerDeal, and Phoenix general partner Shamim Ahsan, came up with the announcement at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel yesterday. Fahim said this investment will help AjkerDeal develop its ICT sector. According to Shamim Ahsan, the e-commerce local company has not enough money to invest in this sector. So, there is an urgent need to make a level playing field. Earlier, Phoenix announced it would invest USD 200.0 million dollar in Bangladeshi e-commerce sector.
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