Agents of mobile financial services (MFS) are themselves actively involved in various kinds of criminal activities, including collection of ransom by human trafficking, extortion, and fraud by maintenance of several hundred false or real accounts, according to a report titled ‘Impact of Mobile Banking on Financial Inclusion in Bangladesh’, released by the Bangladesh Bank (BB) recently. It is very easy to open an MFS account with a fake identity, the report said, adding that money laundering is mostly conducted through mobile accounts registered with fake identities. “Over the-counter (OTC) transactions have become a widely practiced irregularity in the MFS sector in Bangladesh, which is a serious problem, and is considered the root of many evils in this sector. This also causes agents to charge customers illegally,” the report said. About competition and market share, the BB said bKash currently dominates the MFS space, accounting for 55.11 per cent of the market followed by DBBL (38.26 per cent). The rest of the 11 providers with live services currently account for around 6.63 per cent of the total market share. According to the BB’s reports, at the beginning of 2013, the total number of agents was 60,000. At the end of September 2015, this figure crossed 542,400. This large differential highlights the rapid growth of this space in a very short time. In terms of agent numbers, bKash is the market leader, followed by DBBL. It is seen that only 2 per cent of agents are female while 49 per cent of the agents work in the rural areas. The BB found that 71 per cent of the MFS users have access to an agent within 1 km. In contrast, only 19 per cent of bank account holders have a bank branch within the same distance.
Two delegations of Bangladesh Bank (BB) returned home yesterday after visiting Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia to find out reasons of downward trend in country’s remittance inflow, reports BSS . The teams will submit their findings soon to BB Governor Fazle Kabir, a BB official told BSS. “The two teams have already returned home. We are preparing a report after analysing the findings of our investigation,” said BB Economic Advisor Dr M Aktharuzzaman, who led one of the two teams. As the falling trend of the inflow of remittances is becoming a matter of concern for the country, two teams of experts of BB went to Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia to find out the reasons behind the declining trend of remittances. BB economic advisor Dr M Akhtaruzzaman led a three-member team and General Manager of BB Governor’s Secretariat Dr M Habibur Rahman led another three-member team. Aktharuzzaman said, during the visit, they met with many Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), including workers, doctors, engineers, accountants and many other professionals, at Mecca, Riyadh and Jeddah and tried to find out the reasons behind the declining trend of remittance inflow. “We discussed with them through meetings and spot discussions, especially in marketplaces or workplaces,” he added.
Govt sits tomorrow to review its anti-money laundering efforts
The government is likely to sit tomorrow (Thursday) to review the country’s ongoing anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-terrorist financing efforts aiming to adopt effective strategies in this regard, officials said. One of the key agendas of the meeting is to review the progress on an action plan which was prepared as per the recommendations made by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) after reviewing the third round mutual evaluation (ME), they added. Besides, implementation progress on memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) and law enforcement agencies and regulatory agencies will come up for review in the meeting, they mentioned. The third round ME on Bangladesh was accepted in an annual meeting of APG held in October last. A deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank (BB) and head of BFIU presented the action plan in the meeting of the National Coordination committee (NCC) on anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-terrorist financing. The meeting was held on October 31 with the finance minister in the chair.
Agriculture loan disbursement grew by more than 22 per cent or Tk 25.53 billion in the first eight months of this fiscal year (FY) than that of the same period of last FY due to a higher demand for the credit during the ongoing boro season, officials said. The disbursement rose to Tk 139.29 billion in the July-February period of the FY 2016-17 from Tk 113.76 billion in same period of FY2015-16, according to the latest statistics of Bangladesh Bank (BB). Of the amount, eight state-owned banks (SoBs) disbursed Tk 65.04 billion while the remaining Tk 74.25 billion by the private commercial banks (PCBs) and foreign commercial banks (FCBs). All the scheduled banks have already achieved 79.37 per cent of their collective farm loan target for the current FY, which was set at Tk 175.50 billion, the BB data showed. The central bank is set to review the credit disbursement and recovery performances of the eight SoBs by the end of this month, according to a senior official of the BB. He said the public banks will be advised at the meeting to boost the recovery drives in the coming months. The recovery of farm loans, however, rose to Tk 123.16 billion during the period under the review from Tk 107.55 billion in the same period of the last FY.
Bonds not to be issued against banks’ capital shortfall
Finance Division has rejected the proposal of issuing bonds worth Tk4,100 crore for three state-run banks including BASIC Bank to meet their capital shortfalls. Other two banks, Janata and Rupali, sought subordinated bond of Tk1,000 crore and Tk500 crore respectively for sever-year period. However, Finance Division didn’t say anything about issuing of bond of Tk22 lakh for Grameen Bank. The decisions came at a meeting on capital shortfalls of seven state-run banks. Finance Minister AMA Muhith presided over the meeting. Officials who attending the meeting said the government liabilities would increase if they met the banks’ capital shortfalls from bonds. An official said Bangladesh Bank has been asked to prepare a report on BASIC Bank that how the bank utilised Tk2,300 crore in last two and a half years to meet its capital shortfall. BASIC Bank was not able to reduce the non-performing loans and its liquidity fund reached Tk1,500 crore. A Finance Division official said most of funds were utilised to buy government bonds. He said the BASIC authorities didn’t try to give loans to the “real businessmen” for earning more profit. At the meeting, BASIC Bank representative revealed the provision requirement of the bank and hoped to halve the figure to Tk2,100 crore over the next five years. The provisioning requirement of the bank as of December 2014 was Tk4,297crore, which came down to Tk3,858 crore in December 2015.
Meghna Bank looks to launch new mobile services by October
Meghna Bank Limited is going to introduce chip-based card for mobile financial services for the first time in Bangladesh by the end of October this year, the bank’s top executive said. “We’re still working to launch new mobile financial services in Bangladesh by third week of October 2016 aiming to bring more unbanked people into the banking network,” Mohammed Nurul Amin, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the fourth-generation bank, told the FE. Mr. Amin also said, “We’ll initially offer person-to-person (P2P) payments among our clients across the country.” Currently, Meghna Bank is running its business with 32 branches across the country. The goal of this project is to launch different mobile financial services, including disbursement of inward remittance, person to business (P2B) payments, business to person (B2P) payments and person to government (P2G) payments and government to person (G2P) payments, which will be offered subject to approval from the Bangladesh Bank (BB) and all other relevant regulatory bodies, said the bank’s top boss. “These services will allow use of mobile phone technology to send and receive monetary value electronically through their own mobile handsets or NFC (Near Field Communications) Tag or Tap Card or through authorised outlets across the country,” the senior banker explained.
Banking sector accounts for 41.30pc of total turnover
The country’s premier bourse closed Tuesday’s session with a moderate rise following investors’ participation in banks and financial institutions. On the day, most of the major sectors witnessed correction but the market bounced back depending investors’ increased participation in banks. At the end of the session, the DSE broad index DSEX rose 0.51 per cent or 29.13 points to close at 5724.85 points. According to a market review of EBL Securities, the market started with an uptrend on Tuesday and buoyancy frenzy from prudent investors managed to keep the broad index above 5700 points. The shariah-based index DSES shed 0.36 per cent or 4.76 points to close at 1300.43 points, whereas the blue chip DS30 went up by 0.21 per cent or 4.37 points to close at 2065 points. Of 326 issues traded, 129 advanced, 169 declined and 28 were unchanged. A total of above 0.173606 million trades were executed in Tuesday’s trading session generating a turnover of above Tk 12.63 billion with trading volume of 439.37 million securities, according to LankaBangla Finance.
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday approved Tk 1.15 lakh crore 4th Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Programme, aiming to improve equity, quality and efficiency for gradually moving towards Universal Health Coverage and achieving health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reports UNB. The approval came at a meeting of the Ecnec held at the NEC Conference Room in the city with Ecnec Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of nine projects were approved today involving an estimated cost of Tk 1, 230.34 lakh crore. Of the total project cost, Tk 1,4186.77 lakh crore will come from the national exchequer and Tk 18,847.23 crore from project assistance. The Planning Minister said it approved a project for the 4th Health, Population and Nutrition Sector Programme under Health and Family Welfare Ministry involving Tk 1.1 5 lakh crore. Of the total cost, Tk 96639.13 will come from the state exchequer while Tk 43486. 36 crore from project assistance, he said.
Neo-protectionism could hit hard Bangladesh export
Waves of neo-protectionism, especially in the world’s biggest economy — the United States — come as a matter of grave concern for Bangladesh as economists say it may hit hard the country’s export trade. According to leading economists, the government should take the matter seriously with its policies to circumvent any unwanted situation in the economy. The protectionist rhetoric from the White House since President Donald Trump took office has rattled many developing economies that are dependent on merchandise export to the United States. Protectionism is an economic policy of restraining trade between states or countries through methods such as tariffs on imported goods, restrictive quotas, and a variety of other government regulations. Protectionist policies protect the producers, businesses and workers of the import-competing sectors in a country from foreign competitors.
Govt takes up Tk 73cr project to extract minerals from beach
The government is taking a fresh initiative to extract minerals and mineral particles from the sands of Cox’s Bazar beach and the Brahmaputra river, for which there is a big demand abroad. For that end, a Tk 73 crore project will be taken up, which has already been approved by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council yesterday. Every year, 21 million tonnes of valuable heavy mineral particles are deposited into the sands of the Cox’s Bazar beach and another 5 million tonnes into the Brahmaputra river basin, according to a proposal from the planning ministry. A study by the mineralogy division of the Institute of Mining, Mineralogy and Metallurgy (IMMM) found that the sands of the Brahmaputra river contain magnetite and ilmenite that have iron and titanium. The minerals have huge demand in the international market, it said. At present, the US, Mexico, Egypt and India have taken initiatives to extract minerals and mineral particles from the sands of sea beach and rivers. Besides, for socio-economic development of the country more research is required on mineral resources and their processing.
Beza asks for investors’ security at economic zones
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority or Beza yesterday urged the government to provide security for investors and their assets, and ensure a smooth supply of energy and power to the industrial units that will be set up in the economic zones. “All the economic zones should be kept free of interference from any quarter,” said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza. He spoke at a function to award a contract to Powerpac-East West-Gasmin Consortium, a joint venture between Shoulder Group, Bashundhara Group and Garmin Ltd. The contract was for the development, construction, finance and operation of the Mirsarai Economic Zone Phase-1, which is located on 550 acres at Mirsarai, Chittagong. Beza also signed a memorandum of understanding with BPDB-RPCL Powergen to set up a 150MW power plant at the Mirsarai Economic Zone. M Abul Kalam Azad, principal coordinator of Sustainable Develop-ment Goals at the Prime Minister’s Office, said Powerpac will take the necessary steps so that industrial production can begin in the economic zone by next year. He said the government is formulating an act on ‘one stop services’ to assist investors from one place. The draft act will be placed at a cabinet meeting soon for approval, Azad said.
Shipping Corporation to buy oil tanker for Tk 286cr
Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) will add a new oil tanker to its fleet within two months to resume its trade on international sea routes using its own vessels after a lull of nearly two years. The tanker with a 36,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) capacity will be the first vessel to be purchased by BSC since 1991. The corporation will buy the tanker from China for Tk 286 crore, said BSC Managing Director M Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan at a press conference in the port city yesterday. The oil tanker will carry crude oil, aviation fuel or any other chemical products. At present, BSC depends on chartered vessels for carrying crude oil for Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. BSC currently operates three vessels: one is for carrying containers and the two others are lighterage tankers. The three decades old vessels cannot go to seas due to rules of the International Maritime Organisation. The corporation once owned 38 oceangoing ships. But it had to sell 35 of them as their operational validity expired, according to Bhuiyan.
The telecom regulator has slapped Robi with a show-cause notice over the mobile operator’s non-payment of Tk 108.83 crore of its fees for merger with Airtel. So far, Robi has paid Tk 318.52 crore of its total merger fees of Tk 427.35 crore. The Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission asked the mobile operator to pay the sum at the earliest, according to the letter issued on March 15. Robi was also asked to explain within 30 days why the regulator should not void the merger for such non-compliance of terms and conditions.
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.
ABOUT DHAKA BANK
Dhaka Bank has truly cherished and brought into focus the heritage and history of Dhaka and Bangladesh from Mughal outpost to modern metropolis. Most of its presentation, publications, brand initiatives, delivery channels, calendars and financial manifestations bear Bank’s commitment to this attachment.