BB issues new rules on hiring CFO, CITO for banks
The central bank has introduced a new set of regulations on appointment of chief financial officer (CFO) and chief information technology officer (CITO) of the banks to ensure good governance in the banking system. Under the new regulations, minimum 12 years of working experience in banks or financial institutions (FIs), including three years in banking accounting and taxation, will be required for a person’s appointment of or posting to the post of CFO. On the other hand, minimum 12 years of working experience in information technology, of which five years experience in banks and FIs, will be needed for appointment of or posting to the post of CITO. The central bank issued a circular in this connection on Sunday and instructed the managing directors (MDs) and chief executive officers (CEOs) of the banks to follow the new set of regulations on appointment of CFO and CITO. The banks have been asked to comply with the new regulations by December 31, 2018, if any deviation is found in educational qualification and experience of their existing CFOs and CITOs, according to the circular.
Bad debts plague banking sector
Bangladesh’s banking sector is witnessing a pile up of bad loans at an alarming rate with the borrowers showing a rising tendency of defaulting on loan payments. Experts have blamed the situation on the lack of good governance in the banking sector. Figures provided by the central bank revealed that the defaulted loans stood at Tk22,644 crores at the end of 2011. Six years later, the amount swelled to Tk74,303 crores. Fazle Kabir, the central bank governor, dubbed loan default a grave problem, saying it had regulators worried. Currently, state-owned Sonali Bank has the highest amount of defaulted loans, or nonperforming loans, followed by BASIC, and Janata Bank. Among the private banks, Islami Bank tops the list of banks with highest default loans, according to the central bank. The amount is zero for Shimanto Bank Ltd, which is fully owned by Border Guard Bangladesh Welfare Trust.
Current account deficit crosses $5b
Bangladesh’s current account deficit reached a 15-year high of $5.34 billion in the first seven months of the fiscal year as the country’s capacity to export is failing to keep up with the appetite for imports. At this point last fiscal year, the deficit was $890 million. The current account deficit has already weakened the exchange rate of the local currency against the US dollar, said AB Mirza Azizul Islam, a former finance adviser to the caretaker government. On Thursday, the interbank exchange rate was Tk 82.96 per dollar, up from Tk 79.65 a year earlier, according to central bank statistics. The dollar will appreciate further if the widening trend of current account is not halted in the months to come, he said. “Production cost will increase automatically due to the appreciating trend of the greenback as the country has to import large amounts of industrial raw materials to produce essential goods.” Higher production costs will fuel inflation, which, in turn, will have an adverse impact on the spending capacity of consumers, he said. Islam went on to urge the government and the central bank to take measures to boost export earnings in a bid to squeeze the large current account deficit. A good flow of remittance will also play a key role in containing the current account deficit, he said.
NRBs can buy wage earner bond thru their or beneficiaries’ taka accounts
Bangladesh Bank on Sunday said expatriate Bangladeshis would be able to purchase wage-earner development bond by taka fund credited in their non-resident taka account in the country or in resident taka accounts of their beneficiaries. Foreign exchange policy department of the central bank clarified the issue through a circular following confusion regarding methods of payment and utilisation of fund held in taka accounts fed by inward wage remittances for purchase of WEDB. Taka fund credited in non-resident taka account of Bangladesh nationals residing abroad or in resident taka accounts of their beneficiaries against inward remittances through normal banking channel or authorised exchange house channel is eligible to purchase WEDB, the circular said. It also asked all authorised dealers in the country to take steps in line with the circular.
Micro lenders should go for tech upgrades
Microfinance institutions will have to embrace a technology-based financial system as the existing processes for loan sanction and disbursement will change entirely within the next decade, said Brac Founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed. The loan amount and the instalment size will be determined by technology, shortening the time needed to provide microcredit to clients, he said at a book launching ceremony organised by the Credit and Development Forum on Saturday at the Brac Centre Inn in Dhaka. A mobile phone app is now being developed in the US that will allow clients to take loans and make repayment. Brac Bank’s subsidiary bKash has already emerged as a popular technology-based financial service provider in Bangladesh.
IDRA, Green Delta insure 1,000 rickshaw pullers
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) and Green Delta Insurance Company have come together to provide insurance coverage to 1,000 rickshaw pullers in case of accidents. Some rickshaw pullers received their insurance policies at the launch of the initiative titled “Shobar Jonno Bima” (insurance for all), in the capital’s Shyamoli Club Playground yesterday. Under the policy, beneficiaries will get Tk 100,000 for accidental deaths while Tk 50,000 for accidental injuries. The IDRA provided the insurance premium, a part of it coming from a day’s salary donated by its employees, while Green Delta issued the policy. “This is a historic moment for Bangladesh’s insurance industry as an initiative like this was never taken before,” said Shafiqur Rahman Patwari, chairman of the IDRA.
New head of Commercial Banking of StanChart
Alamgir Morshed has been appointed as Head of Commercial Banking of Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh recently. Alamgir joined Standard Chartered in 1995. In his immediate past role, Alamgir led the Financial Markets team, where he was responsible for overseeing the Debt Capital Markets, Financial Markets Sales and Foreign Exchange and Rates Trading functions. With over 23 years of experience in the banking industry, Alamgir introduced many pioneering solutions such as currency derivatives, interest swaps, and commodity hedging to the local market.
IPDC’s profit rises 10.7pc
IPDC Finance’s profit rose 10.7 percent year-on-year to Tk 33.54 crore in 2017 and the local non-bank financial institution announced 20 percent stock dividend for its shareholders. The disclosure came at IPDC’s 13th extraordinary general meeting and 36th annual general meeting held at Spectra Convention Centre in Dhaka yesterday. “It is a great pleasure to announce that IPDC has successfully completed the second year of five-year strategy by accomplishing the expected promising growth,” Muhammad Musa, chairman of IPDC Finance. “At IPDC, we believe this success will boost the confidence of our stakeholders by giving them a clear vision for the upcoming years.” Mominul Islam, managing director and CEO; Samiul Hashim, company secretary, were present at the meetings, IPDC said in a statement yesterday.
ADP outlay to be Tk 178,000cr next fiscal year
The government is planning to raise the development budget for fiscal 2018-19 by about 20 percent, giving emphasis to accelerating the construction works of some flagship infrastructure projects like the Padma bridge, Rooppur power plant, Dhaka metro rail. The allocation for fiscal 2018-19’s annual development programme is likely to be Tk 178,000 crore, up from this year’s budget of Tk 148,381 crore. The amount will be finalised by April 10 by the resource committee of the finance ministry after discussions with the planning commission and the various ministries and divisions. A planning ministry official said there was a plan to complete the Padma bridge by December this year, but it may now be delayed by six to seven months.
Govt drafts policy on financial assistance for PPP projects
The government has prepared a draft policy on financial assistance for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects, aiming to attract private investments in such projects, officials said. “A draft policy styled Guidelines for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) for PPP projects, 2018 has been formulated,” a senior finance ministry official told the FE. The guidelines will take effect immediately after its publication in the official gazette, he added. According to the draft policy, maximum 40 per cent of the total estimated capital cost will be provided as capital grant in the form of VGF, a PPP official said. Besides, maximum 40 per cent of the total estimated project cost will be provided as annuity in the form of VGF, he added. The VGF limit is now maximum 30 per cent under the existing guideline, he also mentioned. The draft guidelines had been sent to the authorities concerned for taking their opinions on the draft policy.
Govt launches e-challan to ease payments for services
Now here comes e-challan system for easy payment of fees for government services electronically, without citizens needing to move from pillar to post. People will be able to submit fees for passport, police clearance, and national-identity card through e-challan under the digital system, launched Sunday by the ministry of finance (MoF). State Minister for Finance M A Mannan said the digitised e-challan system will help mitigate the problems citizens face in manual system where they spend additional time, cost and conveyance fee. “Nearly a year’s time will be needed for bringing collection of fees for all government services under e-challan,” he told the audience at the launching ceremony. Chief Coordinator for sustainable development goals (SDG) affairs at the PMO Abul Kalam Azad and finance secretary in-charge Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury were among others present at the programme in finance ministry’s conference room.
Land acquired for Indian economic zones
The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) has completed the acquisition of 1,106 acres of land for three special economic zones exclusively for Indian investors. The Beza acquired 110 acres land for Mongla Economic Zone in Bagerhat, 496 acres for Bheramara zone in Kushtia and 500 acres for the Mirsharai zone in Chittagong. The process to acquire another 550 acres for the Mirsharai zone is underway. The prime minister has approved the development project proposal for the Mongla and Bheramara zones, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza. Besides, two such proposals for the Mirsharai zone and two ICT-based economic zones to be set up in Munshiganj have been sent to the PMO for approval, he said.
BGMEA seeks more time to demolish bldg, SC to decide on March 27
The Supreme Court’s Appellate Division will decide whether garment exporters’ organisation BGMEA will receive more time to demolish the illegally constructed 16-storey building in the city’s Hatirjheel area, reports UNB. A four-member bench led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain heard a petition for more time on Sunday and set Tuesday for the date of the decision. Lawyers Kamrul Haque Siddique and Imtiaz Moinul Islam represented the BGMEA at the hearing while the state was represented by Attorney General Mahbubey Alam. Built illegally on endangered wetlands in Dhaka about two decades ago, the BGMEA building was called ‘a cancer’ on the Hatirjheel Beautification Project by the High Court.
Direct container transport from Korea to Ctg port begins
A mother vessel carrying containers arrived in the Chittagong port from the Bussan Port of Korea on Saturday, marking the beginning of direct container transportation between the two ports. Businesses said it will help reduce the travel time almost by half. Containers generally take 25 to 30 days to reach Chittagong from Korea via Singapore, as they had to wait at Singapore port to be unloaded from mother vessels and then reach Chittagong by feeder vessels. But now a vessel will take 14 days to reach Chittagong from Korea, said a senior official of the local agent of the vessel of Hyundai Merchant Marine Company Ltd. Hyundai Merchant is the only company getting such facility for now, sources said. As the mother vessel, MV Santosa Trader, arrived in the port on Saturday afternoon, it was welcomed at a brief function attended by officials of the Chittagong Port Authority and the shipping line. Director (traffic) of the CPA Golam Sarwar, Managing Director of the Hyundai Merchant Marine Co Ltd. Kin Shin and Manager of Ocean International Ltd., local agent of the company, Md Jahid Hossain were present.
Car brands fond of Bangladeshi jute
Bangladesh has the potential to become the main supplier of jute to the global car industry, which uses the natural fibre to manufacture the interiors of vehicles. The global car industry needs about 100,000 tonnes of jute a year, of which 12,000 tonnes come from Bangladesh, according to Mushtaq Hussain, managing director of Golden Fibres Trade Centre, a leading jute exporter. Bangladesh started supplying jute to high-end car brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Audi in early 2000s and Hussain is one of the pioneers in breaking this new export ground. Previously, the car industry used glass fibre to manufacture the interiors. But glass fibre is not recyclable or biodegradable, so in 1994 the search for a green alternative began. Jute emerged as the frontrunner.
Jute export to India faces new hurdles
The Indian authority has initiated an investigation into the import of jute sacking cloth from Bangladesh following allegations that the item was being brought in large quantities to evade the anti-dumping duty (ADD) on jute sacking bags. On January 5 last year, India had slapped ADD ranging from $19 to $352 a tonne on jute yarn/twine, hessian fabric and jute sacking bags brought from Bangladesh and Nepal after a year-long investigation. But the Indian Jute Mills Association alleged that a section of clever importers were bringing in jute sacking cloth in abundance from Bangladesh to get round the ADD. Subsequently, the association filed an application with the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties, which then opened the investigation. The investigation would look to determine the existence, degree and effect of the alleged circumvention by poring through trade data from October 2016 to December 2017 and examine the need to extend the existing ADD to the circumventing product.
Meghna sets up eight new plants for $300m
Local conglomerate Meghna Group of Industries has invested $300 million (about Tk 2,500 crore) to set up eight new factories at its newly-built two economic zones at Meghnaghat in Narayanganj. The new factories, which will take the group’s total industrial units to 40, will create 3,500 jobs. “People’s buying capacity has been increasing and we want to strengthen our market share,” said Mostafa Kamal, chairman of the group, while explaining the rationale behind the big investment. The new units, which will be inaugurated on Saturday, are for: beverage, edible oil refinery, tissue, pulp and paper, flour, chemicals, cement fibre, steel fabricate mills and a 40 megawatt power plant.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 65.79||↑0.24||↑0.37%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 70.32||↑0.20||↑0.29%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,354.04||↑0.54||↑0.04%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.49|
|GBP 1||BDT 118.82|
|EUR 1||BDT 103.95|
|INR 1||BDT 1.29|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.