Atiur resigns as Bangladesh Bank governor
Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman stepped down Tuesday, at the head of a string of punitive actions, amid raging criticisms over stealing of more than USD 100.0 million from the country’s account with the US Fed. After his unceremonious exit from the central bank – four and a half months before the expiry of his second tenure as Governor – the government also fired two of his deputies. The two deputy governors who faced the axe are Md Abul Quasem and Nazneen Sultana. Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters that they were asked to resign. Meanwhile, banking secretary M Aslam Alam was made OSD or officer on special duty-a status that leaves him without a portfolio. Amid some quick backstage developments, the government appointed former finance secretary Fazle Kabir as the Bangladesh Bank governor. Until his new appointment Mr. Kabir was chairman of the state-owned Sonali Bank board. The finance minister told reporters at his office that Kabir will stand in as the chief of the central bank.
BPC imports 2,200.0 tons of diesel from India next week
State-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) will import next week its maiden consignment of 2,200.0 tons diesel by rail from India’s Numaligarh refinery owned by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL). BPC will receive this consignment of diesel having 0.03% sulphur content at Parbatipur in Bangladesh. The benchmark price of Indian diesel will be similar to the price that BPC currently imports having 0.05% sulphur content from international market, a senior BPC official said. But BPC will have to pay a premium of USD 7.0 per barrel to Mean of Platts Arab Gulf (MoPAG) diesel assessments on a cost and freight (CFR) basis to the Indian BPCL. It means that the price will be over USD 7.0 per barrel from international price of diesel. The costs of fuel transport and the loss from evaporation are covered from the premium. BPC currently imports 0.05% sulphur diesel at USD 4.4 per barrel to MOPAG Gasoil assessments on CFR basis.
Bangladesh reviewing nine possible FTAs
Even though Bangladesh is yet to sign any Bilateral Free Trade Agreement (BFTA), it is currently reviewing the possibilities of signing BFTAs with nine countries. The Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) has already conducted studies on potential BFTAs with the countries like Malaysia, Myanmar, Turkey, Macedonia, Nigeria and Mali. Although the commission favored BFTA with Malaysia by extending coverage on services, Kuala Lumpur differed with Dhaka over inclusion of trade in services. By including services, Bangladesh could explore labor market in this Southeast Asian country. This was disclosed at a training program on ‘Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) in South Asia’ which began in Dhaka on Tuesday.
PGCB to install two new sub-stations in Chittagong
Power Grid Company of Bangladesh Limited (PGCBL) is going to set up two high-powered sub-stations to boost transmission in Chittagong region, reports BSS. The two sub-stations will be installed in next two years while another two sub-stations will be brought under expansion involving a total cost of BDT 2.6 billion. PGCBL and Xiansu Etern of China inked an agreement at PGCBL headquarters to this end, said a press release Tuesday. PGCBL Company Secretary M Ashraf Hossain and Hua Jie Jack of Xiansu Etern put pen on the agreement paper. PGCBL under its “National Power Transmission Network Development” project will implement the project. The new sub-stations are 230/132KV at Rampur and 132/33KV at Agrabad while 230/132KV at Hathazari and 132/33KV at Khulshi will be expanded.
PDB signs deal to import 100.0 MW from Tripura
Bangladesh Power Development Board on Tuesday signed a five-year contract with NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited to import 100MW power from India’s north-eastern state of Tripura. The contract would be renewed after five years, said officials. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian prime minister are scheduled to inaugurate on March 23 commercial power transmission from Tripura to Comilla, they said. PDB will pay BDT 6.4 to NVVN for each unit or kilowatt-hour electricity which would be supplied from a 726MW gas-fired power plant in southern Tripura which was constructed with assistance from Bangladesh. Bangladesh in 2011, allowed India transportation of the turbines, generators and other heavy equipment without any levy through its territory, from West Bengal’s Haldia port to the site of the 726MW power plant at Palatana in southern Tripura. PDB’s secretary Mazharul Huq and NVVN chief executive officer Nand Kishore Sharma signed the contract on behalf of their respective sides at Bidyut Bhaban. State minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid, power division secretary Monwar Islam, PDB chairman M Shamsul Hasan Miah attended the signing ceremony. It would cost PDB BDT 6.7 per unit as the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh would charge BDT 0.3 for transmitting each unit of electricity, a PDB official said.
Alliance cuts ties with 11 more RMG factories
The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a retailers platform for North American buyers – has cut business ties with more 11 RMG factories as the latter failed to make headway towards remediation. With this, the total number of factories suspended by the Alliance stood at 42. Earlier, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a European retailers group, suspended business relations with 13 other factories. In a statement, the Alliance claimed that it has cut business relations with the factories for their failure to show adequate progress in remediation, failure to submit evidence of its progress, lack of communication and failure to comply with review panel recommendations. Some factory owners cut their business ties on their own. If suspended factories wish to restore its participation to the Alliance process, they will need to undergo a new inspection at their own cost, stated the Alliance. The issue of safety in the country’s apparel sector came under spotlight after the Rana Plaza building collapse, which killed more than 1,135 workers. The Alliance has so far inspected 870 factories while the Accord more than 1,600 supplier factories.
GP brings 23.3 million customers under re-registration
Over 23.3 million Grameenphone customers have successfully completed their re-registration through the biometric verification process as per the guidelines provided by BTRC. The figure constitutes 41.0% of the operator’s customer base. From January 2016 Government initiated re-registration of mobile phone subscribers through the biometric process. Through this process customer’s NID and fingerprint is verified by the Election commission (EC) against EC’s Database, said a statement. “I would like to thank our customers for coming forward to participate in the re-registration process and grateful to them for their support. The channel partners are also doing a wonderful job in supporting this huge task, said Grameenphone, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Mahmud Hossain. Clarifying its position with the concerns raised over fingerprint storage by mobile phone operators, Grameenphone would like to strongly reiterate that the company does not store any fingerprints on its own system.
BTRC appoints firm to audit Robi
After a delay of five months, the telecom regulator yesterday signed an agreement with audit firm Masih Muhith Haque & Co to examine Robi’s books. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission was supposed to sign the agreement with the audit firm in October last year when its Indian partner, TR Chadha & Co, abruptly pulled out. Masih Muhith Haque later took on a new foreign partner, PKF Sridhar & Santhanam LLP. The firm will start its audit in the next two weeks and will finish the job within 180 days, as per the agreement with the BTRC. It will take home a fee of Tk 78.2 million for the job. Robi, the third largest operator in the country in terms of active subscribers, is in the process of merging with Airtel, the fourth largest operator. The merger will take a couple of months for completion. The BTRC though is yet to take a decision on the audit of Airtel’s books.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$36.90||+0.56||+1.54%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$39.16||+0.42||+1.08%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,251.53||+22.4||+0.13%|
|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.