Bangladesh Bank Governor faces heat
Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman yesterday faced criticism from government high-ups and a number of ruling party leaders for “incompetent handling” of the cyber theft. Finance Minister AMA Muhith was furious, and hinted that the top management of the BB may see changes as the fallout of the theft of USD 101.0 million from the BB account with the New York Federal Reserve Bank. “We are going to make a major decision,” he told reporters at the secretariat after the weekly cabinet meeting yesterday. Asked what the major decision would be, Muhith said, “Definitely, there will be a major change.” The minister made the comment in response to a query whether the government would take any action against the BB. The BB governor has been criticized particularly for keeping the government in the dark about the matter for more than a month. Questions were raised over Atiur’s decision to travel to New Delhi to attend an event of the International Monetary Fund at a time when mysteries around the cyber theft were unfolding.
July-January Foreign Direct Investment rises over 30.4%
Bangladesh received over USD 1.22 billion net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the first seven months (July-January) of the current fiscal year. The amount is 30.4% more than the net FDI received in the same period in 2014-15 financial year, reports bdnews24.com. Finance Minister AMA Muhith has credited the ‘strong’ base of Bangladesh’s economy and the ‘stable’ political condition for the rise in FDI despite global recession. “The rise in FDI means that an environment of investment has been created in the country. Bangladesh is getting attractive to the foreign investors,” he said. The minister said the continuous GDP growth of over 6.0% has added gloss to Bangladesh’s image. “It has positively affected the foreign investment,” Mr Muhith said. Analyst Zaid Bakht, however, is ‘not happy’ with domestic investment. According to Bangladesh Bank, the net FDI was USD1.7 billion in 2014-15 fiscal year and a little over USD 1.43 billion in 2013-14.
Telcos losing customers for biometric SIM registration
The telecom sector is going through a rough patch for the second consecutive month as operators are losing customers after the government mandated fingerprint re-registration for all SIMs. In the first two months of 2016, mobile phone operators lost 1.97% of their active connections that dropped to 131.1 million at the end of February, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s monthly report published yesterday. Although the number of active SIMs declined, active internet connections saw 7.76% growth in these two months. As of February, the number of active internet connections stood at 58.3 million, which was 54.1 million at the end of 2015. All five private operators saw their active connections drop in January and February, following the government’s move to make the biometric verification mandatory for all users. For the same reason, people are not buying new SIMs either. The industry began the year with 133.7 million active SIMs and lost 2.6 million in the first two months.
Government to conduct feasibility on Maheshkhali coal power plant
Aiming to set up another coal-fired power plant in Maheshkhali of Cox’s Bazar district, the government has launched a project to conduct feasibility study and environmental assessment, reports BSS. Bangladesh and Singapore would jointly set up the 700 MW ultra-super critical coal-based power plant involving USD 1 billion. “We will conduct a study to assess the viability and environmental impact to implement the project minimizing all the probable impacts,” said planning minister A H M Mustafa Kamal. Apart from the study, necessary land would also be acquired for the power plant, he added. The planning minister informed that Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has already cleared the project; “land acquisition, protection and feasibility study for Bangladesh-Singapore 700 MW ultra-super critical coal-based power plant with BDT 7.46 billion”.
Australia to provide LNG related support: State minister for power, energy and mineral resources
Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka Gregory A Wilcock expressed his country’s interest to provide LNG related support along with training as Bangladesh is going to set up LNG terminal, state minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid said, reports BSS. The state minister said the Australian government wants to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and set up LNG terminal in Bangladesh. At the meeting, Mr Wilcock invited the state minister and government officials to join the 18th International Conference & Exhibition on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The conference and exhibition would be held on April 11-15, 2016 in Perth, Australia. According to the LNG conference, the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, will open LNG 18 in Perth in April this year – the biggest LNG conference and exhibition ever held in Australia and the world’s largest event on 2016 global LNG calendar.
UK air shipment ban hits exporters hard
The UK’s restriction on direct air shipment from Bangladesh continues to take its toll on the country’s exporters, especially those of vegetables and allied products as well as emergency apparel shipments, industry insiders said. Without specifying the losses faced by them, the exporters said they send around 70-80 tonnes of different products to the UK in a week through direct flights of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. “But, now we cannot make any direct shipment of urgent products, including samples of apparel items,” said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president Md Siddiqur Rahman. The exporters are now using indirect routes for sending their products, facing re-screening. He expressed fear that they might be charged for the re-screening, which takes much time than usual. Air shipments are mainly made if shipments are delayed or there is urgency from buyers. Some 10-15% of the total apparel exports are shipped by air annually, Mr Rahman added.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$37.00||(0.18)||(0.48%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$39.24||(0.29)||(0.73%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,229.13||+15.82||+0.09%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.41*|
|GBP 1||BDT 111.93*|
|EUR 1||BDT 87.08*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.