Lending disrupted for a week for BB server crash
Banks’ lending activities ground to a halt for a week until last evening due to the abrupt collapse of the central bank’s Credit Information Bureau server on March 6. The CIB report, which informs on the clients’ credit status, must be collected from the central bank’s server to sanction, extend or renew any loan. Banks are not allowed to provide any loan if the CIB report, which was put up online in July 2011, informs that the clients are defaulters. The CIB server was brought to order last evening, said Debashish Chakrabortty, spokesperson of the Bangladesh Bank. The CIB server and some other segments of the central bank’s data centre had collapsed on March 6 due to failure of the cooling system. It took the central bank nearly a week to resolve the technical problem as the repairs needed were done step by step, said another BB official. “We have been forced to stop our credit activities largely in the last few days. We failed to sanction fresh loans and extend or renew the existing ones,” said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Dhaka Bank. Rahman, also the chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, a forum of banks’ chief executive officers, said that the central bank had not even informed the banks about the server breakdown.
Sonali, BRAC drew highest complaints in 2017: Bangladesh Bank (BB)
Customers expressed more dissatisfaction with services of scam-hit Sonali Bank Limited than of any other bank in the country as Bangladesh Bank received highest 345 complaints against the state-owned bank during the 2016-2017 fiscal. Customers’ second highest 213 complaints were against BRAC Bank, followed by Janata Bank Limited with 185 complaints, according to the annual report of BB’s Financial Integrity and Customer Services Department, which was published on Sunday.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) strengthens forex support to banks, sells USD 55 million
The central bank has strengthened its foreign currency support to the commercial banks to settle their import payment obligations, particularly for fuel oils. As part of the move, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) sold USD 55 million directly to two commercial banks on Monday to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. The USD was quoted at BDT 82.96 each in the inter-bank foreign exchange (forex) market on the day, remaining unchanged from the previous level, according to the market operators. BB officials also said the central bank may continue to provide such foreign currency support to the banks in line with the market requirement. BB has resumed giving the support in recent months through selling the US currency to the banks directly to keep the market stable. A total of USD 1.63 billion was sold to the commercial banks since July 01 of this fiscal year, 2017-18, as a part of its ongoing support, according to BB’s latest data. The market operators, meanwhile, said the demand for the USD is increasing gradually, mainly due to higher import payment pressure, particularly of capital machinery, petroleum products, consumer items and food grains. The country’s forex reserve rose to USD 32.03 billion on Sunday from USD 31.93 billion of the previous level, the BB officials added.
Focus on banking sector reform, curbing unemployment
Economists and professionals suggested the government on Monday to highlight unemployment problem and to bring the banking sector under reform in the upcoming national budget. They also proposed to curb loan default trend in the election year and to impose penalty for time and cost overrun of the government’s development projects. The proposals were placed in a pre-budget meeting with Finance at National Economic Council (NEC) in the capital. Responding to the proposals, the finance minister said the government would consider incorporating a provision of penalty in the upcoming budget for time and cost overrun of the development projects. He also vowed to curb the loan default culture. Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Chairman suggested imposition of penalty for cost and time overrun of the development projects, focusing it as a major problem. He also recommended bringing qualitative change in economic management along with taking strict measures against loan default. An alternative institutional arrangement is needed for long-term investment financing for the capital market, he noted. The first finance secretary of Bangladesh, suggested exploring the possibility of increasing Advance Deposit Ratio (ADR) limit for the commercial banks considering their ongoing liquidity crisis. Responding to the proposals, the finance minister said the Bangladesh Bank has already abandoned the measure regarding tightening the ADR limit.
UCBL gets new additional MD
Mohammad Mamdudur Rashid recently joined United Commercial Bank Limited (UCBL) as additional managing director. He has been in the financial services industry for over 25 years, out of which 22 years have been in banking, a career that began in 1995 with Citibank-Bangladesh. In his banking career that covers multiple cultures across Bangladesh, India and Australia, Mr. Rashid managed a number of functional areas covering business, risk, finance, operations, compliance, credit administration, HR and general services. In his immediate past banking role, he has been the additional managing director and head of wholesale banking of BRAC Bank Limited, where he joined in December 2009. He also held various other senior roles at BRAC Bank, including those of chief financial officer and strategic leadership for SME business.
Trust Bank gets new DMD
Junaid Masroor joined the Trust Bank Limited as deputy managing director effect from March 8, a press statement said. He started his career with erstwhile BCCI (Overseas) Limited as management trainee officer in 1989. Masroor worked as head of transaction banking in Eastern Bank Ltd. He also served in the Bank of Nova Scotia, ANZ Grindlays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank in different capacity for several years in corporate banking, the statement added.
Bangladesh about to meet Least Developed Countries (LDC) graduation criteria
Bangladesh is set to get the qualifying marks for LDC graduation when the UN policy body sits for a review of the country status today (Tuesday). The 20th plenary meeting of the Committee for Development Policy (CDP) of the United Nations will reappraise the country’s development indicators when it resumes for a second day Tuesday in the US city of New York, officials in Dhaka said. The four-day meeting, on its second day, is scheduled to conduct a triennial review where Bangladesh is set to be designated as one of the countries meeting the graduation criteria for the first time. In Dhaka, the move is being seen as the first big step for the country towards formally graduating from the least-developed-country status by 2024. To be eligible for graduation from the world’s poor-country club, a country must reach threshold levels for graduation on at least two of these three conditions, or its GNI per-capita must exceed at least twice the threshold level. When it comes to Gross National Income, Bangladesh’s GNI per capita, as per the World Bank Atlas method, is USUSD 1272, well above the threshold of USUSD 1242. In the Economic Vulnerability Index, where the score needs to be 32 or less, Bangladesh’s score is 24.9, whereas in Human Asset Index, the country has already attained a score of 72 — well above the threshold of 66. As such,
Budget for FY19 to be placed on June 7
Finance Minister said the next national budget will be placed before the parliament on June 7. He also hinted that the next budget will be of BDT 4.75 trillion. He also said it is of grave importance to put an end to the loan default culture in the country. “As per the finance minister, now it’s time to think about this because default culture has continued somehow and such strong efforts were not taken to put an end to it.
Apparel exports to new markets on the rise
Garment exports to non-traditional markets rose 3.77 % year-on-year to USD 2.6 billion in the July-January period of the current fiscal year thanks to preferential trade benefit and fiscal incentive. Apparel shipments fetched USD 2. billion in the same period last fiscal year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. In 2008, garment exports to the emerging markets stood at only USD 800 million. Since then it started climbing and rose five times to USD 3.9 billion in 2015-16. Shipments to the emerging markets are rising on the back of zero-duty benefit granted to Bangladesh, opening of retail stores by global brands, market diversification by local exporters, and the government’s fiscal incentives. Bangladesh receives the zero-duty benefit to markets such as Japan, India, and China. As a result, shipments to the markets are rising at a faster rate. Riding on the relaxed rules of origin, garment export to Japan grew 1.94% to USD 446.0 million in July-January and is expected to cross USD 1-billion mark at the end of the year.
Govt opens gas connection for all but households
The government plans to resume piped natural-gas connections to all consumers but households from next month with the start of expensive LNG (liquefied natural gas) import. Already, according to officials, it has opened up new connections for industries, and the state-run gas- marketing and-distribution companies have initiated moves to complete all relevant formalities beforehand.
Third metro rail to have underground tunnel through Dhaka Cantonment
The government is planning to construct the third metro rail (MRT line-5) connecting Hemayetpur and Vatara through the Dhaka Cantonment. The metro rail will have two elevated parts – the first one to be constructed between Hemayetpur and Aminbazar (5.5km) while the second part will connect Natun Bazar and Vatara (0.5km).
Singapore-based cos eye growing BD market: Lee
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong said today his first official meeting with Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina in Singapore has created a good opportunity to strengthen partnership between the two countries. Singapore-based companies are keen on the growing Bangladeshi market as significant opportunities are laying there in energy and port sectors, he said this while speaking at a luncheon hosted by him in honour of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at his official residence Istana. Lee Hsein said Sembcorp is one of the largest investors in the energy sector with over US$ 1.1 billion investment in power plants and the Singapore Port Authorities (PSA) are interested to explore opportunities in Chittagong Port. Mentioning that Bangladesh is located in the heart of South Asia and well-positioned to interact with ASEAN and its neighbours, he said the Bay of Bengal links to the Southeast Asia, India, and Sri Lanka. The Singaporean prime minister expressed the hope that the signing of the updated Air Services Agreement between Singapore and Bangladesh would bring the people and businesses of the two countries closer and also help bring bilateral relations to greater heights.
Two projects dropped from Indian credit
The government has dropped two projects from the Indian line of credit list and instead will use its own funds to implement them due to complexities in the terms and conditions for the loan from the neighbouring country. The projects are: the expansion of cancer treatment facilities in Bangladesh and setting up the campus of Rangamati Medical College and Hospital. As per the conditions of the $2 billion Indian LoC deal signed in March 2016, at least 65 percent of procurement for the projects would have to be done from the neighbouring country. A review found that the quality of the medical equipment manufactured in India is not world-class. So to avoid purchasing sub-par equipment the government decided to drop the projects from the list, said an official of the health and family welfare ministry, adding that equipment will now be imported from the EU or the US. The decision was taken at a review meeting on sub-regional cooperation held at the Prime Minister’s Office in the first week of February.
Govt eyes 5G by 2020
After successful launch of 4G service last month, government is now planning to rollout the 5th generation (5G) service by 2020 in Bangladesh to get better connectivity with the capacity of a high volume of data, BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said yesterday. “An expert will be appointed within 3 months for conducting a feasibility study to access different aspects of 5G launching,” Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman told The Independent. 5G networks, promise more speed, can serve a higher density of broadband users, and are optimised for Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to everyday objects becoming intelligent with the ability to send and receive data. “5G offers potential for services such as Internet of Things (IOT) services, augmented reality and virtual reality which can be delivered using the new technology, Mahmood said.
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