Hackers steal USD 100.0 million from Bangladesh Bank account
Bangladesh Bank has identified the people involved in the hacking of around USD 100.0 million (BDT 7.8 billion) from its foreign currency account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, claim BB officials. Almost the entire amount was transferred online to the Philippines banking system and a small portion of it to Sri Lanka by suspected Chinese hackers on February 5, they said. The incident took place at a time when Bangladesh’s banking system is trying to recover from the recent ATM and credit card fraud. A senior BB official told The Daily Star yesterday that a small portion of the stolen money has already been recovered from Sri Lanka. But the money, which is in the Philippines, is yet to be recovered. “We are dealing with the issue. Those who were behind the hacking have been identified,” said the official. The BB has around USD 28.0 billion in foreign currency reserve. Nearly one-third of the reserve is in the form of liquid assets with the Federal Reserve Bank in the US and the Bank of England. The rest is invested in bonds and gold. In a statement yesterday, the BB said it has been able to recover a portion of the stolen money. But it did not mention the amount.
BDT to weaken against dollar this year: BMI Research report
The BDT is likely to weaken against the dollar this year, impacted by a significant slowdown in remittance growth due to low oil prices and poor economic growth prospects in the Middle East, according to an analysis. The lacklustre investment outlook in Bangladesh will also exert downside pressure on the BDT, said the London-based BMI Research, a company of Fitch Group. “However, we believe that Bangladesh Bank will maintain a tight grip on the foreign exchange market to ensure broad stability on the unit, and the threat of a one-off devaluation is relatively low as Bangladesh’s external accounts are in a much stronger shape than in 2011.” The BDT remained relatively stable against the dollar for most of 2015, trading within a tight range of BDT 77-80. The BDT has been exceptionally strong in real effective terms over the past year, partly due to the windfall it has received from lower oil and commodities import costs as well as a steady inflow of remittances which supported the current account, according to the report. BMI Research said that it expects the currency to face downside pressures over the coming quarters as remittances growth is likely to slow considerably due to an unfavorable macroeconomic backdrop in the Middle East. In addition, the rise in domestic security threats and a poor business environment are likely to curb direct investment and portfolio inflows, further removing support for the BDT, according to the report.
Financial literacy program: BSEC to form nine sub-committees
The technical committee on nationwide financial literacy program has initiated a move to form nine sub-committees including a body for preparing guidelines to run the program, officials who attended the meeting told New Age. Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission executive director Md Mahbubul Alam chaired the first meeting of the technical committee, where Dhaka Stock Exchange managing director Swapan Kumar Bala, Chittagong Stock Exchange acting managing director Md Ghulam Faruque, Central Depository Bangladesh managing director MH Samad, Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association president Md Sayadur Rahman were also present. Mahbubul told New Age that the committee in its first meeting discussed different issues including that of how the program could be implemented. The committee decided to form nine sub-committees regarding different tasks, but it will require approval from the steering committee before they starts functioning, he said. Another committee member said the committee at the meeting also segregated its tasks into three phases — short-term, mid-term and long-term. He said that the short-term plan would span from 2016-18, mid-term from 2018-19 and long-term plan would be implanted in 2020 and afterwards.
Hong Kong firm to invest USD 30.0 million in Ishwardi EPZ
Hong Kong-based Must Group will set up a garment manufacturing unit in Ishwardi Export Processing Zone, its fourth in Bangladesh. The fully foreign-owned company, Hoi Bun Fashions Ltd, will be established with an investment of USD30 million, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority said in a statement. Hoi Bun Fashions will have a production capacity of 10.4 million pieces of garment items a year, and will create employment opportunities for about 3,750 Bangladeshis. An agreement to set up the new unit was signed at the Bepza Complex in Dhaka yesterday. Abdul Halim Molla, member (investment promotion) of Bepza, and Waseem Mohd Siddiqui, a director of Hoi Bun Fashions, signed the deal, while Major General Mohd Habibur Rahman Khan, executive chairman of Bepza, was also present.
Changes in ADP implementation guidelines on the cards
The government has decided to bring about changes in criteria of formulating and implementing projects against the backdrop of chronic slow progress of the annual development program, officials said. They said a committee, headed by the cabinet secretary, had been appointed for preparing recommendations on new guidelines for projects approval and their implementation. The latest decision by the government reflected the longstanding demand from experts and donor agencies to increase the ADP implementation rate by improving efficiency of the project implementing agencies. Former caretaker government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam said the capacity of the implementing agencies needed to be increased on urgent basis by changing the decades-old criteria. The ADP implementation rate in the first seven months is lowest in last eight years, he noted. Officials said finance minister AMA Muhith while reviewing the foreign-funded projects in a meeting last month decided to appoint the committee.
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