NBR toughens up on power plants
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has tightened the rules regarding duty-free import power plant equipment in a bid to curb abuse of the privilege through import of materials not directly related to power plant construction. The revenue administration listed 20 items — including steel sheet, rod, cement, household goods, office furniture, dredger, anchor boat and vehicles — that are outside the purview of zero-duty import benefit for power plants, according to a notification issued at the end of last week. Since 1997 the customs authority has been offering the privilege to public and private power producing companies to import machinery, spare parts and materials needed for erecting the plants. Once commercial production starts, power plant operators can import spare parts worth up to 10 per cent of their import value duty-free for up to 12 years. With a total generation capacity of 22,787 megawatts, Bangladesh now has 137 power plants and six of them have been put out to pasture. Another 50 plants are under-construction, according to the latest annual report of the power division. The government is building 16 of them, whose combined generation capacity would be 8,745MW. Private sector players are building the other 34, whose total generation capacity would be 6,404MW.
Mobile operators cool down on investment plans
The mobile industry’s combined investment fell 19 per cent year-on-year to Tk 3,695.72 crore in 2019, the lowest in recent years, as the regulatory regime continues to spook the foreign owners of the top three carriers. Mobile carriers are not investing adequately into their network, a development that is directly hampering their service quality and customers are getting substandard service. Robi has cut back on its investment the most last year: about 32 per cent. In 2019, it invested Tk 1,421.3 crore and had planned to put in another Tk 1,200 crore but could not do so because of the regulatory restriction centring on its audit claims of Tk 867.23 crore by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Following a High Court order recently, Robi has paid two instalments of Tk 27.60 crore each to the BTRC and got no-objection certificate from the regulator after seven months, during which time its network expansion and maintenance came to a halt. Robi’s investment previously surpassed all other telecom investors’, making it the leading foreign direct investor for five consecutive years to 2018. Grameenphone’s investment declined more than 13 per cent in 2019 from the previous year, while Banglalink’s investment grew 4.37 per cent. Banglalink made significant investment in 2018 to purchase spectrum in order to roll out 4G, which ultimately resulted in an enhanced quality of service for customers, said Taimur Rahman, chief corporate and regulatory affairs officer of the company. The country’s third largest carrier invested Tk 3,524.16 crore in 2018, which included the spectrum charges it paid for buying 10.6 MHz spectrum. Without the spectrum charges, the investment stood at Tk 776.61 crore in 2018. In 2019 it invested Tk 810.62 crore. The carrier has yet to get the NOC’s after depositing Tk 1,000 crore to the BTRC in line with a court order.
Agent banking expanding fast among rural women
The agent banking is expanding fast among the female clients in the remote areas across the country, but the services still remained well behind the level as expected by Bangladesh Bank. According to the BB data, the number of female accountholders increased to about 2.3 million in December 2019 from only 850,247 in December 2018. In the quarter ended in September 2019, the number of female accountholders was about 1.5 million. At the end of 2019, the total number of accountholders was 5.2 million – 43 per cent female and 56 per cent male. The central bank has so far awarded 24 banks with the agent banking licences – 21 are now operating. Bank Asia has the highest number of female accountholders with 1.1 million, followed by Dutch-Bangla Bank with 577,729 and Islami Bank Bangladesh with 148,278. According to a quarterly report (October-December, 2019) of the Financial Inclusion Department (FID) of BB, in 2019 the agent banks disbursed loans of Tk 4.46 billion, only about 6.0 per cent of Tk 75.17 billion deposits collected by the agent banks from the clients during the period. Of the loans, 59 per cent disbursed among the male customers as compared to only 7.0 per cent to female customers. Other small enterprises received 34 per cent. The central bank officials said they started collecting data only on the number of female accountholders in 2018.
BCMEA re-elects president
Mr. Md. Shirajul Islam Mollah, MD of China-Bangla Ceramic Ind. Ltd has been re-elected as president of Bangladesh Ceramic Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BCMEA) for 2020-2021. Mr. Moynul Islam, Vice Chairman of Monno Ceramic Ind. Ltd was re-elected as the Senior Vice President.
DSEX drops to 4,287.38 on panic sale
The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) broad index – DSEX – witnessed another sharp loss of 97 points on Sunday, and came down below 4,300 points, following investors’ selling pressure. At the end of the session, the index settled at 4,287.38 points with a loss of 2.21 per cent. Following the plunges, observed in last three consecutive sessions, DSEX lost 4.0 per cent or 178.69 points. Finally, out of the 355 issues traded, only 37 advanced, 304 declined and 14 remained unchanged on the premier bourse. The shariah-based index – DSES – declined 1.66 per cent or 16.86 points to close at 999.06 points. The DS30 index, comprising blue chip securities, closed at 1,435.0 points with a loss of 1.86 per cent or 27.24 points. The turnover stood at over Tk 4.28 billion, which was 3.32 per cent higher than the turnover of the previous session. Among other major sectors, which witnessed price correction, bank declined 2.8 per cent, engineering 3.0 per cent, financial institutions 2.4 per cent, fuel & power 2.2 per cent, pharmaceuticals & chemicals 0.7 per cent, and textile 3.90 per cent. Telecommunication was the only sector that witnessed price appreciation, riding on Grameenphone (GP). The share price of GP advanced 0.19 per cent or Tk 0.5 to close at Tk 265.70 each.
BHBFC holds workshop for trainers, organisers
A workshop for the trainers and organisers was held at the BHBFC Training Institute in the city recently. Debasish Chakrabarty, Managing Director, Bangladesh House Building Finance Corporation (BHBFC), was present as the chief guest at the inaugural and closing ceremony of the workshop.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||4,287.38049||↓ 97.10||↓ 2.21 %|
|↓ 256.50||↓ 0.98 %|
|FTSE100||6,462.55||↓ 242.88 ||↓ 3.62 %|
|Nikkei 225||19,473.07||↓ 1,276.68||↓ 6.15 %|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 30.49||↓ 10.79||↓ 26.14 %|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 33.92 ||↓ 11.35 ||↓ 25.07 %|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,684.13 ||↑ 10.30 ||↑ 0.62 %|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.2758|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.670|
|EUR 1||BDT 94.0173|
|INR 1||BDT 1.11862|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<