Dhaka, Jamuna banks allowed to float bonds worth Tk 1,000cr
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday allowed two banks — Dhaka Bank and Jamuna Bank — to float subordinated bonds worth Tk 1,000 crore in total. The capital market regulator gave the approval in a commission meeting presided over by its chairman M Khairul Hossain. As per the BSEC approval, Dhaka Bank will float non-convertible floating rate subordinated bonds worth Tk 500 crore and Jamuna Bank will issue non-convertible coupon bearing subordinated bond worth Tk 500 crore. The face value of each unit of Dhaka Bank’s bonds will be Tk 10 lakh, while the face value of Jamuna Bank’s bonds will be Tk 1 crore each. The bonds to be issued by the two banks will be fully redeemable in seven years. Only corporate bodies, financial institutions, eligible investors and funds will be allowed to subscribe the bonds through the private placement. The banks will fulfil the requirement for Tier II Capital Base by raising capital through the bond issue. Green Delta Insurance is the trustee of Dhaka Bank’s bond and Standard Chartered Bank will be the mandated lead arranger, while IDLC Investment Company is the trustee of the Jamuna Bank’s bond and Jamuna Bank Capital Management will be the mandated lead arranger.
SoEs may be allowed to deposit 60pc with public banks, 40pc with PCBs
The government is likely to relax the policy to allow its agencies so that they can deposit more funds with the private commercial banks (PCBs) to help mitigate the ongoing liquidity crunch. Under the proposed relaxation, the state-owned enterprises (SoEs) may be allowed to deposit 60 per cent of their funds with the public banks and rest 40 per cent with the PCBs. Currently, the state agencies are allowed to deposit 75 per cent of their funds with the public banks and rest 25 per cent with the PCBs. “An official announcement in this connection is expected to come shortly,” a highly placed source at the government told the FE on Wednesday. He also said the issue has also been discussed at different high-level meetings of the central bank in the last couple of days.
Private banks’ profits slide on piling bad loans
Private banks’ net profits slid for the first time in four years in 2017, dragged down by their ballooning non-performing loans. In 2017, private banks, most of which are listed on the stockmarket, counted Tk 7,782 crore in net profit in contrast to Tk 7,806 crore a year earlier. They made operational profit of Tk 24,647 crore from which Tk 7,990 crore was deducted as tax and Tk 7,361 crore as provisioning against bad loans. “The private banks’ default loans had escalated last year,” said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Dhaka Bank. So, the banks were compelled to keep large amounts of provisioning against the bad loans, which ultimately eroded their profit base, he said. Of the 40 private banks, 17 saw their net profits decline from a year earlier. Rahman, also the chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, a forum of banks’ managing directors, said the private banks would struggle to register growth in profits this year too given their ongoing liquidity crunch. This is not good news for the stockmarket, as it means the listed banks might announce lower dividends to their shareholders this year, he said.
SoCBs charge 10.50% on term-deposit to other banks
The state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs) are now charging maximum 10:50 per cent interest rate on term-deposit for other banks particularly private ones. Most of the SoCBs have enjoyed a comfortable satiation on liquidity as the government agencies prefer depositing their funds with the public banks after the Farmers Bank incident. Earlier, the Farmers Bank Limited declined the encashment of a fixed deposit worth over BDT 5.08 billion due to liquidity shortage. The money belongs to the Climate Change Trust Fund (CCTF). The banks particularly private commercial banks (PCBs) are receiving term-deposit mainly for three months tenure from the public banks to meet their growing demand for liquidity, according to banking sector insiders.
Taxpayer’s money for bailing out banks lines pockets instead
A sizeable portion of the taxpayer’s money – Tk2,000 crore to be precise – is earmarked in the budget for recapitalization of banks. The budgets for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 fiscal years has seen Finance Minister AMA Muhith ensure Tk2,000 crore is always set apart to help cover the massive deficit of various banks. The trend is expected to continue in the upcoming budget as well. According to experts, the decision to bail out banks instead of forcing them to comply with regulations and collect from loan defaulters is sending the wrong message, further encouraging misappropriation of the taxpayer’s money. Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, said there was no plausibility behind wasting the taxpayer’s money by using it to salvage banks.
Farm loan release growth slows amid banks’ liquidity crunch
Farm loan disbursement growth rate slowed down in the July-February period of the fiscal year of 2017-18 compared with that in the same period of the previous fiscal year due mainly to the ongoing liquidity crisis in the banking sector. Private commercial banks and foreign commercial banks along with state-owned banks in July-February disbursed Tk 14,520.42 crore in farm loans, which is 71.18 per cent of the total target for the banks for the ongoing fiscal year, the Bangladesh Bank data released on Wednesday showed. Banks in the eight months of FY17 had disbursed Tk 13,929.45 crore or 79.37 per cent of the annual target. The central bank has set a Tk 20,400-crore farm loan target for the banks for FY18 while the target was Tk 17,550 crore in the previous year. The year-on-year farm loan disbursement growth was 4.47 per cent in the first seven months of FY18 that declined to 4.24 per cent in July-February of the year.
5 banks get Asiamoney award
Five banks from Bangladesh have recently been awarded at the Asiamoney best bank awards 2018. Asiamoney, a financial publication, presented the awards for excellence across a range of core banking activities over the past 12 months, reports Euromoney, a UK-based English monthly magazine focused on business and finance. Brac Bank received three awards for being the best domestic bank as well as digital bank and for its corporate social responsibility at the presentation ceremony at JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong on Monday. Standard Chartered bagged the one for best international bank and City Bank received the premium banking services award while the best corporate and investment bank award went to Eastern Bank. HSBC won accolade as the best bank in small and medium-sized enterprise category. The winners were selected by a team of senior journalists chaired by Euromoney’s editor.
Poor salaries, skills gap plague insurance sector: analysts
Bangladesh’s insurance sector has long been facing a skills gap at all levels because of a poor pay structure, uncomfortable work environment and a lack of relevant education and awareness, industry people said yesterday. Amidst this situation, they said it was high time for the insurers to develop a strategy that enables recruitment of talented executives along with development and retention of skilled people. “The industry faces an image crisis and a lack of confidence regarding claim settlements,” Shafiqur Rahman Patwari, chairman of the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), told a roundtable at The Daily Star Centre. The programme titled “How to overcome the biggest workforce challenge in the insurance industry through empowerment of professional development” was jointly organised by Green Delta Insurance, Professional Advancement Bangladesh Ltd, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) of the UK, and The Daily Star.
China’s $2.6b loan may get approval today
The hard-term loan committee today may approve a $2.6 billion financing for the Padma rail link project, paving the way for the signing of a deal with the Exim Bank of China next month. The committee is scheduled to hold a meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair at his office. A finance ministry official said the loan agreement was likely to be signed in Beijing in the middle of next month. A high profile team from Bangladesh may attend the signing ceremony. The Chinese State Council, the highest policymaking body of the East Asian nation, last month gave the consent to the loan for the project.
NBR plans to bring foreign firms of Bangladesh residents under tax net
The National Board of Revenue is planning to bring Bangladesh residents-controlled foreign companies under the tax net against the backdrop of making investment by Bangladeshi businesses in low or no tax regimes and tax haven countries. NBR officials said that income tax wing of the revenue board was now working to include a provision in the planned new income tax act to bring CFCs under the Bangladesh tax regime. A CFC is a corporate entity that is registered and conducts business in a different country but controlled and managed by residents of another country. If any Bangladesh resident sets up any company or make investment abroad with control in the company, it will be Bangladesh’s CFC and the NBR will have the rights to impose tax on profits of the country once the provision is included, they said.
NBR extends validity of old BINs till June 30
The National Board of Revenue has extended the validity of manually issued 11-digit old business identification numbers to June 30 as it could not yet complete the legal procedures for making the use of nine-digit electronically issued new BINs mandatory. The revenue board on Tuesday issued a public notice amending the previous notice for extension of the deadline which is set to expire on March 31. The revenue board had earlier decided to scrap the use of old BINs and make new e-BINs mandatory for business activities, including trade, import, export, opening letter of credit and participation in tenders, from January 1 this year and later extended the deadline to March 31. Officials of the value-added tax wing said that the NBR was yet to complete legal procedures, including amendments to existing VAT Rules 1991 to automate the VAT system, make use of e-BINs mandatory and introduction of online submission of VAT returns. Issuance and use of online BINs, known as e-BINs, have also been facing various technical and legal difficulties, they said.
Unused foreign fund rises 12pc to $40.24b
Unused foreign assistance in the pipeline rose over 12 percent to $40.24 billion in the last eight months to February. During the period, disbursement from the lenders increased by 75 percent year-on-year to $3.42 billion, according to data from the Economic Relations Division (ERD). However, commitments from foreign sources decreased over 46 percent year-on-year to $7.91 billion while disbursement hit $3.09 billion. There is nothing to worry about the unused foreign loan now, Farida Nasrin, additional secretary to the ERD, told The Daily Star. She said a country could borrow funds equivalent to 40 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), according to estimates on external credit by International Monetary Fund.
Indo-Bangladesh water transit encompasses Pangaon Port
Bangladesh is likely to give its consent to India’s proposal to take Pangaon terminal near Dhaka in the bilateral Inland Water Transit and Trade Protocol. The issue may be finalised at the upcoming secretary-level talks to be held in Delhi next month, shipping ministry officials said. Located 20 kms off Dhaka metropolitan area in Keraniganj Upazila in Dhaka district, the Pangaon terminal is an inland port and container terminal on the Buriganga river. It was opened in 2013, with the prime objective of country’s trade shipment through the alternative route to leapfrog Dhaka-Chittagong highway congestion. “We have received a proposal from India for inclusion of the Pangaon port in the inland water protocol recently. In principle we agree to this proposal, but the issue will be finalised in the upcoming secretary-level meet in Delhi to be held next month, ” Md Abdus Samad, Secretary of the Ministry of Shipping, told the FE on Sunday.
Tech upgrades to boost power business
The business of electrical power is quite unique. Power is produced like a commodity. However, when it comes to its usage, it has to be consumed at the time of its production. This unique characteristic creates certain unique opportunities to deploy technology and reshape the business of power. Today, the power generation capacity of Bangladesh has grown to 16GW, according to the website of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). Simultaneously, the transmission capacity has also increased, thereby making electricity accessible to many urban and rural homes.
PGCB to build 400 kV grid line for power supply to Mirsarai Economic Zone
State-owned Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) will build a 17-km 400 kV grid transmission line for power supply to Mirsarai Economic Zone (MEZ), reports UNB. PGCB officials said the proposed transmission line will be connected from nearby 230/33 kV BSRM substation to new substation at the MEZ. In this regard, the PGCB signed a contract with Indian firm Kalpataru Power Transmission Ltd (KPTL) yesterday to execute the project at a cost of Tk 82.21 crore. As per the contract, the Indian contractor will construct the high voltage transmission line on a turnkey basis within 15 months to facilitate electricity supply to the industries and other commercial ventures there. Officials said once the line was operational, there will be uninterrupted power supply to the MEZ. They mentioned that Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has already allocated 50 acres of land for construction of the grid substation. They said the MEZ is one of the 100 economic zones undertaken by the government to facilitate setting up industries within a specific periphery with all necessary infrastructures and other support services. PGCB company secretary Md Ashraf Hossain and KPTL business development manager Aritra Bose signed the contract on behalf of the respective sides while PGCB managing director Masum Alberiuni, executive director Chowdhury Alamgir Hossain and other top officials of both the companies were present on the occasion.
Builders scale down work, spending on Padma Bridge
The project-execution agency seeks a pared-down Tk 43.95-billion fund from the government in the upcoming budget for the Padma Multipurpose Bridge as construction work decelerated, sources said. At the present rate of going — reportedly slowed by riverbed adversities — the builders could miss the December 2018 construction deadline, they presumed. Officials said Wednesday the Bridges Division sought the lower amount of annual allocation from the aggregate fund due to slow progress in the construction works. Insiders said if the Division could spend the entire Tk 43.95 billion it has sought in the next financial year (FY) 2018-19 budget, some Tk 57.82 billion will remain unspent from the total Tk 287.93-billion cost of the 6.15km bridge. And the amount sought in the upcoming budget is Tk 5.08 billion lower than Tk 47.03-billion outlay for the bridge in the current (FY2017-18) revised Annual Development Programme (RADP). The project tenure for building Bangladesh’s largest 6.15-kilometre dream-bridge is due to be over by this coming December probably before completion of the works.
BCSIR signs MoU with Japan entity on construction
Bangladesh and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the city Wednesday to conduct joint researches on sustainable construction and mitigation of arsenic from drinking water in the country, reports BSS. Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) and Japanese JDC Corporation inked the MoU at a function at the BCSIR seminar room. BCSIR Secretary Md Khalilur Rahman and JDC Corporation President Takeo Asakura signed the MoU on behalf of their respective sides in presence of BCSIR Chairman Md Faruque Ahmed. The researches will be conducted using the ‘Twister’ and ‘JaPani’ technologies invented by JDC for sustainable construction and mitigation of arsenic from drinking water. Under the MoU, one mini plant will be set up at an arsenic affected area to test the effectiveness of the ‘JaPani’ technology in mitigating arsenic from drinking water and another mini plant will be installed on ‘Twister’ technology at a suitable place. If the technologies bring fruitful results, then measures will be taken to implement those in Bangladesh.
Industrial Sector: Job growth falls further
Employment growth in industrial sector slowed further in fiscal year 2016-17 for the second year in a row, in a sharp U-turn from its previous growth record, according to the Labour Force Survey released by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics last week. Sluggish private investment, rise of capital intensive sector and adoption of advanced technologies are three key reasons behind this, experts and analysts said. The industrial sector, which was a major employment generator between 2000 and 2010, employed only 3 lakh people in the last seven years till FY 2016-17. On average, the sector created 42,857 jobs a year during the period. In the previous seven years till 2010, it created 8.71 new jobs, the survey said. As a result of this reversal, industrial sector’s share of employment fell to 20.4 percent in 2016-17, down from the highest 23 percent recorded in 2013.
Spike in prices of building materials, interest rates worries developers
A sudden rise in interest rates and prices of key construction materials has created volatility in the country’s real estate sector, a top developer of the country has observed. The developer also noted that the dream of middle-income people to own flats or apartments would be shattered again by the spike in interest rates and prices of construction materials. Dr Toufiq M Seraj, managing director of Sheltech (Pvt) Ltd., made the remarks while talking to the FE last week. “In the first quarter of this year, the price of one tonne of MS rod has surged by around 24 per cent,” he said. “Such a price hike will obviously push up overall construction cost. As a result, prices of flats will also jump in the near future.” Dr Seraj, also an urban planner, was of the view that the property developers that are committed to optimising clients’ satisfaction would be hit hard by such escalation in costs.
BAPI seeks cash incentives on finished pharma formulations
Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (BAPI) has demanded cash incentives on export of finished pharmaceutical formulations, as the pharma sector is mainly focused on export of finished products. If the government gives cash incentives on different tiers (more cash incentives for export to regulated countries and normal incentives for export to less regulated countries), Bangladesh could be better prepared to face the post-LDC challenges, BAPI president Nazmul Hassan MP said at a seminar on Tuesday. He was presenting a keynote paper titled ‘Bangladesh Pharmaceutical Industry: Opportunities and Challenges’ at the seminar organised by BAPI as part of its annual general meeting (AGM) at Sonargaon Hotel in the city. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed attended the seminar as the chief guest while Health and Family Welfare Minister Mohammad Nasim was the guest of honour.
Akij subsidiary to acquire Singapore-based Robin Group
Akij Jute Mills Limited has signed a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Singapore-based Robin Group to acquire 100 per cent share of two operating subsidiaries in Malaysia. It is the maiden development in Bangladesh’s corporate history to achieve the distinction for attracting a Bangladeshi company’s investment in a foreign country, industry sources told The FE Wednesday. Akij Jute Mills Limited got the approval for Equity Investment of USD 20 million from their Export Retention Quota (ERQ) Account on October 25, 2017 after long due diligence conducted by Bangladesh Bank. Mr. Sk. Bashir Uddin, Managing Director and Mr. Shamsuddin Ahmed, FCA, Chief Financial Officer of Akij Group and high officials of the Robin Group were present at agreement signing function.
BTRC to invite bids to award 4 tower sharing company licences
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decided to invite proposals soon to award four tower company licences.The BTRC decision came from a special commission meeting presided over by its chairman Shahjahan Mahmood on Wednesday, BTRC commissioner Md Jahurul Haque told reporters. He said the commission decided to publish a request for proposal within next two to three working days. He also expected that the licences could be awarded within two months. Awarding tower sharing licences would help, among others, developing mobile network coverage area by facilitating optimum utilisation of telecommunication resources and reducing environmental hazards.
Govt to open prepaid power meters to market
The government is set to leave prepaid electricity meters to the open market allowing consumers to choose and buy the meters from the market. Currently, power distribution utilities supply prepaid electricity meters to consumers in different distribution areas across the country and do not follow any uniform rent system for the meters, said officials. A committee headed by Power Cell director general Mohammad Hossain is scheduled for today to submit a draft policy on the meter marketing to the power division. Consumers will be allowed to buy their prepaid meters from the open market like they purchase digital or analogue meters, Hossain told New Age on Wednesday.
SME fair starts on April 4
A five-day “National Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Fair-2018” will begin from April 4. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC), an official of the SME Foundation told BSS on Wednesday. SME Foundation and FBCCI are jointly organizing the fair aimed at promoting the SME products and introduction of SME goods for expanding business, trade and commerce. Around 274 SME institutions will exhibit their products, including jute, agriculture and leather products and electrical and information and technology goods, the official said. He said the SME Foundation will give the “National SME Entrepreneurs Award-2018” at the fair.
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)||$ 64.57||↑0.19||↑0.30%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 69.78||↑0.25||↑0.36%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,327.29||↑2.28||↑0.17%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.90|
|GBP 1||BDT 118.11|
|EUR 1||BDT 103.39|
|INR 1||BDT 1.29|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.