The central bank has directed the commercial banks to watch the money handling in the banking channel carefully in order to stop terror financing both at home and abroad. The Bangladesh Bank issued the direction across the country recently.Head of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) AHM Razee Hassan said, it had asked the banks to monitor especially so that no one can use the banking sector for terror financing. A guideline for checking money laundering and terror financing through e-commerce will be issued soon also, he said. Such a strict instruction came from a conference of chief anti-money laundering compliance officials, generally known as CAMLCO recently. The BFIU will meet the CAMLCOs of non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) within the next two months for taking effective measures to comply with rules and regulations of the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating Financing of Terrorism (CFT) issues properly to check illegal fund transfers, said Razee Hassan who is also the deputy governor of BB.
The country saw its current-account deficit widen further in the first seven months of this fiscal mainly as trade and inward remittance both remained on a downturn. Officials said the nation’s current account counted a deficit of US$754 million during the July-January period of the financial year (FY) 2016-17 in a slide from $2.47 billion worth of surplus in the matching period of the last fiscal. The deficit in current-account balance was $657 million a month ago, according to revised figures released by Bangladesh Bank (BB). It was estimated $793 million earlier. “The current-account deficit balance may rise in the coming months if the existing higher trade deficit along with decreasing trend in inward remittance continues,” a senior official of the BB told the FE Wednesday. Meanwhile, the overall trade gap widened by more than 36 per cent or US$1.41 billion in the seven months to January of this FY following a higher growth in import payments than export earnings. The trade deficit rose to $5.28 billion during the period under review from $3.87 billion in the same period of the last fiscal, the BB data showed.
Net inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the first seven months of the current fiscal year (FY17) increased by 8.6 per cent, according to the latest statistics of the central bank. The data showed that Bangladesh received some $975 million during July-January period of FY17as FDI in net terms while the amount was $898 million in the same period of FY16. In gross terms, inflow of FDI was $1710 million which was 7 per cent higher than the amount of $1597 million during the period under review. Form the gross amount, disinvestment, loss and repayments of intra-company loans have been deducted to calculate net inflow of FDI.
Women’s loan default rate is much lower than their male counterparts in Bangladesh, prompting financial institutions to come up with more female-friendly products, departments and even branches, according to bankers. While the overall banking sector’s default rate stood at about 10 percent at the end of December 2016, women borrower’s default rate is less than one percent. “Every woman borrower is compliant and hardly gets defaulted in paying their loans back,” said Anis A Khan, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank and chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh. He said women begin their business humbly and progress steadily because they use their loans efficiently. The unbelievable recovery rate of loans given out to women has prompted many banks to launch special products dedicated to the group. Some banks have set up dedicated departments to land more clients. However, the picture is not entirely rosy: women still face a lot of challenges in getting loans as they can’t provide adequate collateral. Banks disbursed Tk 141,935 crore to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in 2016, of which only three percent went to women borrowers, Bangladesh Bank data shows.
OECD invites BD to join combat against fund flight
Intergovernmental body OECD has requested Bangladesh to sign a multilateral convention to implement tax-treaty-related measures in a global combat to prevent base erosion and profit shifting, especially to tax havens. Tax avoidance through Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BESP) is being considered a global problem which requires global solutions, says OECD. A large group of countries, including G20 and OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, and developing nations have worked out a comprehensive package of effective measures against BESP, says a letter sent to Finance Minister AMA Muhith recently.
Country’s February exports fetched $2.72 billion which falls short of the corresponding previous mark and the month’s target both, statistics show. The single-month merchandise shipments in February 2017 fell by 4.49 per cent compared to $2.85 billion earned in the corresponding month of 2016, according to the official data released Wednesday. The earnings also fell 9.64 per cent short of the target set for the month. And the overall earnings during the July-February period of the current fiscal year 2016-17 also marked a slow growth, which businesspeople attributed largely to some external factors. February exports fall 9.64pc short of target. The statistics show the eight-month export proceeds stood at $22.83 billion in a slow growth of 3.22 per cent during the period (July-Feb) compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year. The country fetched $22.12 billion during the first eight months of 2015-16 fiscal.
Large taxpayers urge govt not to milk them, always
Two major business bodies proposed that the government expand tax net instead of imposing heavy tax burden on large taxpayers to meet the revenue-collection targets. Leaders of the chambers lamented that large taxpayers have to face unusual pressure whenever the tax authority faces revenue shortfall against its target. Leaders of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and the Bangladesh Chamber of Industries urged the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to address the issue in a pre-budget meeting Wednesday in the run-up to formulation of the next national budget. The NBR opened pre-budget consultation with the stakeholders with Wednesday’s meetings with the chambers on its headquarters premises. The parleys are meant for eliciting their proposals to be considered in framing the budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2017-18.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) to launch one-stop service in 6 months
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority will launch a full-fledged and functional one-stop service within next six months for the foreign investors, said its executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam on Wednesday. He made the announcement while speaking at a press briefing held in BIDA office in the capital Dhaka. BIDA executive members Mohammad Altaf Husain and Nabhash Chandra Mandal and Japan Development Institute chief executive officer and chairman Shoichi Kobayashi, among others, were present at the briefing. The government is at the final stage in formulating a One Stop Service Act in this regard and it will be available soon, Aminul said. Once the OSS is launched, investors will not require to come to the BIDA office and around eight other organizations to get approval for making investments in Bangladesh, he said.
IBFB’s call to amend law to ensure supremacy of BIDA
A leading business forum has called for amending the recently-enacted BIDA Act to increase power of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and give it supremacy over all other related departments. At the same time, the forum has proposed alignment of all laws and regulations related to investment in the country to make those legally binding for other ministries and departments to accept the BIDA’s regulating authority. Prominent business think-tank Internationa Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) made the proposals on Wednesday in the capital at a seminar on ‘Role of BIDA and proposed One- Stop Service Act: Investment Climate in Bangladesh’.
Council formed to resolve crisis in garment sector
The government has formed a tripartite council to resolve any crisis in the garment sector through dialogues. In a gazette on Monday, the labour ministry published the names of the representatives of the council, which will be headed by the state minister for labour and employment. Six government officials from different ministries, including the labour secretary, and six leaders from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association will be in the committee, according to the gazette. Six trade union leaders from different associations will also be present in the committee, the gazette said. The council will mainly suggest the government how to improve the industrial relations between the factory owners and the garment workers and how to improve their productivity. The council members will meet thrice a year to discuss the latest labour situation to update the government. The head of the council can call more meetings if necessary, the gazette said.
Alliance cuts ties with award-winning FARR Ceramic factory
North American buyers’ group has suspended business relation with seven more Bangladeshi factories including a ceramic factory in February while the European buyers’ group terminated two new factories from its supplier list due to failure in making required progress in ensuring workplace safety. In a statement issued on Monday, the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American buyers, said that the initiative continued to uphold accountability measures for factories that failed to prioritise remediation of faults. ‘In February, seven new factories were suspended from the Alliance compliant list, bringing the total number of those suspended to 134,’ the Alliance statement said. Although the platform announced suspending seven factories, they disclosed the name of six factories. Farr Ceramics Ltd’s factory in Gazipur, which faced suspension, was the only ceramic company on the Alliance list for safety inspection. Farr Ceramics, the country’s one of the leading ceramic tableware exporters, won gold trophy for three consecutive year since financial year 2010-11 for its outstanding performance in the country’s export earnings.
A delegation led by Marubeni’s ASEAN and South-west Asian Affair executive official Shoji Kuwayama expressed its interest at a meeting when they called on Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu at the Ministry of Industries in Dhaka. An official familiar with the process has said that the terminal would jointly be constructed by Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) and Marubeni at the port city and the terminal would be run by importing natural gas from Malaysia. During an hour-long meeting, the Marubeni delegation also expressed interest to invest in fertiliser, paper board, power and LNG sectors in Bangladesh, the official added.
Mobile operators are taking preparations so that they can roll out 4G data services as soon as they get a go-ahead from the regulator. Top three mobile operators — Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink — tested their 4G networks with one of their technology partners a few months ago and found 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps of upload and download speed, which is much higher than that in existing 3G services. Another technology vendor is currently testing different methods of spectrum use for 4G services, working alongside the mobile operators and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Robi has started to make all their SIM cards 4G-enabled; it plans to launch the service across the country as soon as it receives the 4G licence. Banglalink has also sought permission from BTRC to make its SIMs 4G-enabled. Grameenphone declared last year that they are ready to roll out the fourth generation of services. It established about 11,000 3G-enabled sites and all those can provide 4G services as well, said an official.
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.
ABOUT DHAKA BANK
Dhaka Bank has truly cherished and brought into focus the heritage and history of Dhaka and Bangladesh from Mughal outpost to modern metropolis. Most of its presentation, publications, brand initiatives, delivery channels, calendars and financial manifestations bear Bank’s commitment to this attachment.