Banking sector sees rise of millionaire depositors
In just one year, the banking sector has seen a massive rise in millionaire depositors. There are 5,834 more millionaire depositors in the sector compared to the previous year. Before, the number was 62,038; currently it is 67,872. The information comes from the latest report by Bangladesh Bank. The report was made with data up to September 2017. The report shows that in a year, millionaire depositors increased by 5,834. However, from June 2017 to September 2017 millionaire depositors decreased by 1,019. According to data from Bangladesh Bank, in September 2016, the number of millionaire depositors was 62,038. This number was 67,872 in September 2017. In June 2017, the number of millionaire depositors was 68, 891. The report also discloses that on September 2016, 702 people had deposits over Tk50 crore. By September 2017, the number had increased to 852. By September 2017, the number of people who had Tk1 crore in deposits was 53,344. On September 2016, this number was 48,897. In one year the number of millionaire depositors has risen by 4,447. Bangladesh Bank former deputy governor Khondokar Ibrahim Khaled said: “The banking sector is becoming the hostage of people with money. The rise in millionaire depositors is proof of that. Bangladesh is following a capitalist economy like America now. This kind of economy allows for people to make money by force.” The report also showed that the number of people who have deposits over Tk1 crore is 53,344. The number of people who have deposits over Tk50 crore is 852; three months back this number was 853.
SME loan release to women drops by 11pc in 2017
Disbursement of SME loans by banks and non-bank financial institutions to female entrepreneurs declined by 10.71 per cent or Tk 572.67 crore in 2017 compared with that in 2016, although their male peers received nearly 15 per cent more SME loans last year. Economists and female entrepreneurs attributed the fall to lack of supportive mentality of banks and NBFIs towards the small and medium enterprises run by women and absence of strict monitoring by Bangladesh Bank. They also said collateral rules should be relaxed for women considering their better loan repayment track record. The latest BB data released on Tuesday showed that banks and NBFIs extended Tk 4,772.99 crore in loans to the enterprises owned by women last year, while the figure was Tk 5,345.66 crore in 2016. Loan repayment by the female entrepreneurs, however, increased by Tk 1,632.96 crore to Tk 4,834.54 crore in last year from Tk 3,201.58 crore in the previous year.
Karmasangsthan Bank requests for Tk 2.0b fund
The state-run Karma-sangsthan Bank (KB) has requested the government to release a sum of Tk 2.0 billion in paid-up capital for it, aiming to implement its five-year work plan, officials said. The managing director of the specialised bank in a letter to the finance ministry on March 14 made the request for taking necessary steps to arrange funds for the paid-up capital. “The demand for loan is increasing gradually. But the state-owned bank could not disburse loans as required because of fund shortage,” a high official of the bank told the FE. “We have received a proposal put forward by the state-owned bank seeking funds for paid-up capital,” a senior official of the banking division said. The government recently approved a proposal for raising the authorised and paid-up capital of the bank from Tk 7.0 billion to Tk 10 billion and from Tk 5.20 billion to Tk 8.0 billion respectively.
Bangladesh Securities & Exchange Commission (BSEC) to automate over the counter (OTC) market
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has taken an initiative to revamp the over-the-counter market at the Dhaka Stock Exchange by allowing electronic transaction of shares on the platform without investors’ physical presence. On Tuesday the BSEC at a commission meeting presided over by its chairman approved a proposal in this regard of its committee formed in September last year to make suggestions aiming to develop the OTC market. The commission asked the committee to submit its report by April 8. At the OTC market of the DSE, shares of the companies which were delisted from the bourse are traded. Once the automation is completed, investors’ physical presence at the bourse’s OTC market will not be required as brokerage houses, which will fulfil the requirements of new rules, will be allowed to submit orders for share sales and purchase in favor of investors. The automation of the OTC market would facilitate the shareholders of the companies listed with the market to negotiate prices of their shares. There, at the same time, will be a separate small-capitalized board where small companies and units of open-ended mutual funds will be traded. Any small-capitalised company with paid up capital between BDT 50 million and BDT 300 milliion that would raise capital from the capital market would be listed with the small-cap board. There are 66 companies in the OTC market where 32 companies are active and the shares of 34 companies were not trading for a decade.
Commercial launching of iPay Systems today
iPay Systems Limited, a digital payment platform in the country, is going to commercially launch its activities today (Wednesday), reports BSS. Finance Minister AMA Muhith will launch the system as the chief guest at a function at the Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden hotel in the city, said a press release. Posts, Telecommuni-cations and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar, Prime Minister’s Media Adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury and State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak will be present as special guests. After getting approval from Bangladesh Bank, iPay Systems Limited has already started its operation in the country on January 7.
Power Div seeks 47pc hike in ADP allocation for next FY
The Power Division has sought a budgetary allocation of Tk 316.27 billion for the next fiscal year (FY), up by 47.39 per cent than that of the current fiscal. If the allocation is made, it would be the highest one given to any sector under the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the FY 2018-19, officials said. In the current ADP, the division received Tk 214.58 billion in the original ADP for the current fiscal year 2017-18. “We have sought the money as some large projects, especially on the power generation and transmission sub-sectors are being implemented to meet the growing demand for electricity,” said a Power Division official. He said the fund will be required as some big power plants and high-voltage transmission lines will be installed in the next FY. The division sought over Tk 206.47 billion from internal resources and over Tk 109.80 billion worth of project aid, the data showed.
Wider NBR drive to detect tax-dodging foreigners
Smelling large information gap in the data about registered foreign workers in Bangladesh, the tax authority now takes a wider survey on 40 companies to detect undocumented ones. As per the data compiled by the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), some 5,345 foreign workers came through the authority’s approval from May 2016 to November 2017, tax officials said. The income-tax authority found the number extremely poor compared to the visible presence of foreign workers in different companies, especially in export-oriented sectors. Tax officials guess the number to be manifold higher which was not reflected in the BIDA-preserved records. They said many foreign employees are working in Bangladesh bypassing registration with the BIDA, thereby dodging payment of withholding tax. A taskforce regarding ensuring tax compliance by foreign workers meets today (Wednesday) to give selected companies approval for inspection, said Serajul Karim, income-tax (legal and enforcement) member of the NBR.
Least Developed Countries (LDC) graduation by 2027: Commerce Minister
Bangladesh will finally graduate to a developing country by 2027 with improvements in per capita income, human asset index and economic vulnerability, Commerce Minister said yesterday. Once Bangladesh comes out from the least developed country’s (LDC’s) bloc, the UN will spare three more years as transition period for taking preparations and finally the country will graduate to a developing country in 2027. The LDCs cannot enjoy the benefits on export to the developed countries as they are not providing the LDCs with all the export benefits as per their commitments to different ministerial conferences of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) earlier, the minister said. The minister lauded the role of the European Union as Bangladesh has been enjoying the duty-free export benefit to the EU region under its “Everything but Arms” scheme over the last four decades. The minister is hopeful that the per capita income will increase to the USD 2,000 threshold up from the current USD 1,600.
Per-capita income surges nearly 200pc in 10 years
The per capita Gross National Income (GNI) surged by nearly 200 percent in the past 10 years, improving significantly the living standard of the people in both rural and urban areas across the country. According to the finance ministry, the per capita income swelled to $1610 in the financial year 2016-17 (FY17) from mere $543 in FY06. The increase was 196.50 percent. The phenomenal rise in GNI is one of the three pre-conditions that Bangladesh met to become eligible for graduating from the group of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). According to the UN’s graduation thresholds, GNI per capita of a country should be $1,230 or above. The rising GNI has played a vital role in improving the country’s socio-economic conditions and living standard of people in general. “Bangladesh’s poverty rate has dropped to 24.3 percent in 2016 from 31.5 percent in 2010. That means living standard of people across sections have increased,” World Bank lead economist in Dhaka Dr Zahid Hussain told BSS. Referring to the stable micro-economic indicators, the economist hoped that the rising trend in GNI would continue in future, taking Bangladesh out of the LDCs in 2024. He, however, suggested developing a contingency plan for minimising the risks and fencing off the challenges that Bangladesh would face after graduation from the LDCs group.
BGMEA to get 500 acres in Mirsharai economic zone
The government has decided to provide the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) 500 acres of land inside a special economic zone located in Mirersharai of Chittagong in a bid to boost apparel exports in the years to come. Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (Beza), which deals with these zones, believes that the move would help garment makers earn $50 billion from exports by 2021. The Beza and BGMEA will sign a memorandum of understanding in this regard today. “BGMEA has a target to export $50 billion worth of apparels by 2021, but it has no roadmap to achieve the target,” Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Beza, told The Daily Star yesterday. “The government has decided to provide them the land so that they can set up new factories, create more employment and earn more from exports,” he said. Chowdhury said the Beza was considering an option to give the BGMEA another 1,500 acres of land inside the same zone.
Bicycle industry shows promise as export earnings grow
Bangladesh’s bicycle industry, an emerging export sector, has huge potential in the global market as export earnings are growing by around 9 per cent per year. As of 2016, Bangladesh had a market share of 11 per cent in the bicycle industry in the European Union (EU) countries and the country is the third largest exporter, Bangladesh Bicycle Merchants Assembling and Importers Association president Mizanur Rahman told The Independent. During the first eight months (July–February) of the 2017–18 fiscal year, Bangladesh earned nearly USD 57 million by exporting bicycles, especially to the EU market. During the same period in the 2016–17 financial year, the earnings totalled USD 52.54 million. The growth rate is approximately 9 per cent compared to the previous year. Bangladeshi bicycles are exported to 18 countries, including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, Australia and Portugal. Industry people and analysts have said the country has the capacity to earn nearly Tk. 1,000–1,500 crore from bicycle exports within a couple of years, if the import duty on cycle raw materials is reduced.
Hike in prices of construction materials concerns realtors
Realtors on Tuesday voiced concerns over the price spirals of key construction materials, which, according to them, may harm the country’s real estate sector. They also sought the government’s intervention to arrest the price hike. At a press conference in the capital, Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB) said prices of major construction materials including rods, bricks and stones, have been on a significant rise over the last several months. Moreover, the recent rise in prices of different brands of cement, a key construction ingredient, have come as yet another blow to the real estate sector which had experienced a few years ago. Keeping this in view, the apex trade body of the sector sought the government’s intervention in this regard.
Handset import rises 10pc despite duty hike
Handset imports rose 9.6 percent to 3.4 crore units last year despite a spike of 5 percentage points in import duty. However, the number of smartphones brought in to the country did not increase as expected because of the import duty spike, said the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA). Given the advent of 4G services and greater use of digital services, the industry was expecting that more than one crore units of smartphones would be imported in 2017. But, 82 lakhs were brought in through the legal channel, which is 23.5 percent of the total imports. In 2016, smartphones accounted for about 26 percent of the total imports. “Definitely over-taxation is holding the industry back from flourishing,” said Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub Manik, president of the BMPIA. With the view to promoting local manufacturing, the government in June last year raised the import duty for handsets to 31 percent. The move might have spurred more illegal handset imports, Manik said, while citing the number of Samsung devices and iPhones on sale in local markets to further his point. About 40 percent of the Samsung devices on sale were not imported by BMPIA members, he said.
AMTOB strongly supports effective launch of MNP
A working committee of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), mobile phone operators and Mobile number portability (MNP) licensee is working together to finalise a consumer-friendly MNP process, reports UNB. As soon as the workable MNP process is finalised, the MNP licensee in collaboration with all the related stakeholders will launch the service within a significant reasonable timeframe for making the service up and running, said a press release issued by the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh (AMTOB) on Tuesday.
BBS labour force survey 2016-17: Female labour force growth dwarfs males
The size of the female labour force in Bangladesh increased at a significantly more rapid rate than that of men from the 2015-16 fiscal year to FY2016-17. According to a report from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the size of female labour force increased by 4.6%, while the male labour force increased by 1%. The total labour force increased by 1.4 million, or 2.3%. The findings of the report, titled the “Labour Force Survey 2016-17,” were published at a seminar at the BBS auditorium in Dhaka on Tuesday. The report also said that the unemployment rate remained at a constant 4.2%, with the ratio of unemployed men versus women at almost 50:50. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal graced the seminar as the chief guest, while state minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan spoke as special guest. Statistics and Informatics Division Secretary in-Charge Saurendra Nath Chakrabhartty presided over the seminar.
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