3,521 client-complaints against banks in FY17
Clients lodged a total of 3,521 complaints with the Bangladesh Bank against the commercial banks, mainly related to general banking issues, in the last fiscal year of 2016-2017, a report of the central bank revealed on Sunday. The number of complaints, however, dropped by 1,009 from that of 4,530 filed in the previous FY 2015-2016. According to the annual report of the Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department of the BB, the highest 40.53 per cent allegations was related to general banking followed by 15.82 per cent on loan and advance issues. Clients also filed 15.02 per cent complaints with FICSD of the BB on trade bill, 9.23 per cent on issues related to debit and credit cards, 2.47 per cent on mobile banking, 2.39 per cent on bank guarantee, 1.85 per cent on remittance issues. Some 12.70 per cent complaints were on miscellaneous issues. The FICSD, however, settled most of the complaints, according to the report. BB governor Fazle Kabir on Sunday unveiled the report. Kabir also released the new mobile apps for filing complaints with the FICSD on banking service issues.
ICB Islamic Bank hit by fresh liquidity crisis
ICB Islamic Bank has sought restructuring of the repayment package for depositors of its predecessor Oriental Bank on grounds of a liquidity crunch, Bangladesh Bank (BB) officials said. The bank still has to return BDT 4.44 billion of now-defunct Oriental Bank’s clients, which it was supposed to do by November 2021 — its fourth deadline from the central bank — in phases. As per a BB instruction in November 2016, ICB Islamic was supposed to refund all clients that had deposits of up to BDT 2.0 million with the Oriental Bank within the next three years. Once returning those clients’ funds, ICB Islamic would have to move to refunding those who had deposits of up to BDT 5.0 million. Their claims will have to be settled over the next one and a half years. Thus far, ICB Islamic managed to pay back only a select few clients who had deposits of up to BDT 2.0 million in May last year. The next payment second instalment was due six months later in November but the bank failed to keep its word, said a BB official. Subsequently, last month, ICB Islamic proposed to the central bank to convert the amount, which has been frozen by the BB, into a Mudarabah deposit (term deposit) for the next three years; ICB Islamic will pay interest to the clients every six months. Of the BDT 4.44 billion, BDT 510 million has to be refunded to individual depositors, BDT 55.3 million to institutional depositors, BDT 1.78 billion to government and semi-government institutions, BDT 1.90 billion to banks and non-bank financial institutions and BDT 193.4 million to the BB. ICB Islamic, which took shape from the ruins of Oriental Bank in 2008, has so far repaid BDT 15.21 billion of its predecessor’s deposits of BDT 19.46 billion.
Govt doles out Tk 20b to recapitalise banks
The government will give BDT 20 billion in a latest dollop to state-run banks to meet their capital shortfall, officials said, at a time when reports are rife on irregular big lending. The funds are set to be handed out to seven financial institutions — three state-owned banks (SoBs), three specialized banks and the restructured Grameen Bank (GB). The money will be made available from a BDT 20-billion fund earmarked in the 2017-18 budget for recapitalisation of banks. The financial institutions division (FID) under the ministry of finance sent a proposal in this regard to the finance minister for approval, despite criticisms about giving taxpayers’ money for so-called recapitalisation of banks time and again. The minister gave the seal of approval on the proposal on March 7. Some BDT 4.0 billion, BDT 4.0 billion, BDT 3.0 billion, BDT 3.0 billion, BDT 4.0 billion, over BDT 1.997 billion and BDT 2.1 million will go into the coffers of Sonali Bank, Janata, Rupali Bank, Basic, Bangladesh Krishi Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) and Grameen Bank (GB) respectively from the budget cake kept for banks, according to finance ministry data.
Banks must check licences of petroleum importers
Bangladesh Bank has instructed all banks to check petroleum importers’ licence criterion and validity before opening letter of credit with a view to containing import of fuel by unauthorised entities. The central bank issued a circular in this regarding last week following a letter from Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, in which the issue of unauthorised petroleum import was raised to the BB. Under section 27 and 28 of Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Act 2003, getting the licence from the BERC is mandatory for reserving, marketing, sale and distribution of petroleum, the BERC letter said. BERC had earlier requested the central bank to issue directives to the scheduled banks to check validity of licences of petroleum importers before opening LCs. Despite BERC’s letter and BB’s instruction to the banks in this regard, some banks were opening LCs without checking validity of licences and criterion of the importers, thus resulting in non-approval from port authority to release from the ports.
High transaction cost hinders Mobile Financial Service (MFS) growth: study
High transaction cost is keeping more than half of Bangladesh’s micro and small enterprises (MSEs) away from using mobile financial services for business purposes, according to a new study. Lack of awareness, high risk of security and insufficient transaction limit are also hindering the growth of such services, according to the study titled “Mobile financial services for MSEs in Bangladesh: prospects and challenges”. There are nearly 8 million MSEs in Bangladesh and of which 46% use MFS for business purposes, the study found. It showed 32% of the MSEs made at least one business-to-business transaction. The study was carried out among 500 MSEs, of which 64% do not use mobile financial service because of high transaction fee, which is 2% for each cash-out and zero for cash-in service.
International Monetary Fund (IMF): Bangladesh’s macroeconomic performance robust in the coming year
The macroeconomic performance of Bangladesh is set to remain robust in the coming year and inflation broadly stable, a top official of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. Following the conclusion of the IMF officials visit to Bangladesh, the IMF said steady monetary policy management and fiscal discipline have contributed to continued macroeconomic stability. “Driven by domestic demand, real GDP growth exceeded 7% for a second consecutive year in FY2017, while inflation increased slightly, mainly due to higher food prices. With lower remittances and higher imports of capital goods and food, the current account moved into deficit. Foreign reserves remain adequate.
Finance Minister rules out ambitious target in next budget
Finance Minister said there would be no ambitious target in the next national budget. He also said the budget size is likely to be in between BDT 4.60 trillion BDT 4.75 trillion. He also added that human development would continue to be the highest priority in the next budget followed by education, health, and water supply. In terms of allocation, transport and energy would get the highest allocation. Based on the performance of the revised budget for current fiscal year, the minister said the revenue generation scenario is good compared to the previous years and expected it to continue. Annual Development Programme (ADP) implementation in the first eight months is 35%.
32,000 ECRs to be installed in first phase
The government has decided to install 32,000 electronic cash register (ECR) machines at sales centres and shops, said Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday. He said 50,000 ECR machines have been imported. Of them, 32,000 machines will be installed in the first phase as the same number of business has registered for VAT online.
124 RMG units run in risky buildings
One hundred and twenty-four readymade garment factories in Dhaka and Chittagong have been running their business in risky buildings, ignoring the government order for closures, said officials of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments. During the initial inspections on structural integrity, and fire and electrical safety conducted by two buyers’ groups — Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh and Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety — and a government-ILO joint initiative, inspectors found serious safety risks in the buildings in which 163 RMG factories were housed.
Data perking up telecommunication revenue
Bangladesh’s top three telecom operators’ revenue from data services grew 58.66% year-on-year to BDT 41.49 billion last year, which is over 17% of their total earnings in the period. In 2016, data services fetched 12.50% of their gross revenue, up from 8.32% in 2015 and 5% in 2014. The operators estimate that data revenue would overtake voice revenue within a few years. Secretary general of the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB), said data consumption has just started growing and the operators will be able to achieve three-digit growth in the years to come with the help of 4G. Last year, the number of mobile internet connections increased 19.68% year-on-year to 75.0 million whereas the number of active internet connections, including that of internet service providers and wimax, was 80.8 million. Last year, market leader Grameenphone’s revenue from data rose 51.39% year-on-year to BDT 21.80 billion, even though only 23.1 million of its customers were using 3G services as of December 2017. Meanwhile Robi’s data revenue nearly doubled to BDT 13.39 billion, thanks to the inclusion of Airtel’s revenue following a merger at the end of 2016. Banglalink earned BDT 6.30 billion or 13% of its total revenue from data services last year. In 2016, it was 10%. Grameenphone’s customers are now using 807 mega byte of data on an average per month, up from 632 MB at the end of 2016 while for Banglalink the figures are 580 MB and 391 MB. Robi did not mention its customers’ data usage volume in the annual report.
Why is metro rail construction costlier in Bangladesh?
Bangladesh is building first ever 20.1 kilometre metro rail project between Uttara and Motijheel in Dhaka with the capacity of carrying 60,000 passengers each hour. However, the construction cost of the metro rail (MRT line-6) in Dhaka is more than double comparing to neighboring Indian cities like Delhi or Mumbai.
General Pharma looks to more countries for export
General Pharmaceuticals Ltd (GPL) will broaden its export-oriented product line, company officials said. “We are now exporting our products to 26 countries and 14 more countries will be added to our portfolio,” Mahmudul Hoque, deputy manager (global marketing) of GPL told the FE recently. He said the company consolidated its position in Sri Lanka market recently through registering and launching its ‘Linaptin’, a research brand for the first time in Sri Lankan pharma market. GPL started exporting pharmaceutical finished products to Sri Lanka market from 2007 onwards, Mahmudul Hoque said. “So far, GPL has 27 registered products in Lankan market and more products are under registration stage,” the company executive said. GPL is exporting its pharmaceutical finished formulations to Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Myanmar, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Cameroon, Chad, Afghansitan, Macau, Somalia, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Libya, Yemen, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritius, Maldives, Belize and Guatemala. Another 14 countries are under consideration.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 62.11||↑0.07||↑0.11%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 65.59||↑0.10||↑0.15%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,322.99||↓0.94||↓0.07%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.33|
|GBP 1||BDT 115.50|
|EUR 1||BDT 102.68|
|INR 1||BDT 1.28|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.