Dhaka, Delhi to sign USD 2.0 billion loan deal today
Dhaka and New Delhi will sign the final agreement on a USD 2.0 billion (about BDT 160.0 billion) credit from India on Wednesday, reportsbdnews24.com. The signing of the Line of Credit (LoC) deal will take place at the NEC auditorium in the city at 3.0pm, said Additional Secretary Mohammad Asif-uz-Zaman of the Economic Relations Division (ERD). ERD Senior Secretary Mohammad Mejbahuddin of Bangladesh and the chairman and managing director of India’s Exim Bank will sign the agreement on behalf of their countries, he said. Senior officials of the Bangladesh government and Indian diplomats, including the high commissioner, will be present there, according to Mr Asif-uz-Zaman. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on the fresh ‘soft loan’ during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Dhaka visit in June last year. Asked about the delay in its implementation, the ERD additional secretary blamed it on initial disagreements over some terms and conditions of the loan.
‘DSE-Mobile’ begins journey today’
The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) will launch the DSE-Mobile Wednesday (today) to facilitate share trading through the mobile application, officials said. As chief guest, Finance Minister A M A Muhith will formally launch the DSE-Mobile at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre. The chairman of the securities regulator Prof. M Khairul Hossain will attend the program as special gust. According to the DSE, a total of 234 brokerage firms will provide the mobile trading service to the investors having BO (beneficiary owner’s) accounts. The investors will be able to avail the service without any charge for a few months initially. The DSE said the rate of fees for availing the mobile trading service will be fixed later. The DSE-Mobile is a mobile app, directly linked with DSE trading system, which provides real-time awareness to investors with mobility. The DSE-Mobile has two versions. The first one is called DSE-Mobile VIP, which is a non-trading version. The second one – DSE-Mobile Trader – is a trading version of the mobile app.
February inflation falls to 5.62% on food price decline
The rate of inflation in February last declined to 5.62%, the lowest in the last 41 months, thanks to the downtrend of prices for food and consumer goods alongside the stable exchange rate, reports UNB. “The general point-to-point inflation declined to 5.62%, which was the lowest in the last 41 months, as it was 4.96% points in September 2012,” said Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal. The minister was releasing the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) after the ECNEC meeting held at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area. The general inflation rate in January was 6.07% points. According to the data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), the food inflation came down to 3.77% in February last against 4.33% in the previous month of January. Elaborating the reasons for the declining trend of inflation, Mustafa Kamal said the prices of most of the consumer goods in both local and international markets were less on their adequate supplies. Besides, the exchange rate remained stable, for which the prices of imported materials and goods were not increasing.
Higher RMG shipment: January exports to US rise 11.0%
The country’s exports to the United States of America grew by 11.0% in January following a rise in the number of apparel shipments. The total value of Bangladeshi exports to the US stood at USD 511.6 million in January. Ready-made garments (RMG) fetched USD 497.7 million of the total figure, growing 11.3% over that of January last year. The total RMG export earnings from the US was USD 5.4 billion in 2015, growing 11.7% from the previous year, according to data from Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), a concern of the US Department of Commerce. The country’s apparel exports to the US had dropped to USD 4.8 billion in 2014, from USD 4.9 billion in 2013. Meanwhile, the RMG exports of Vietnam to the US grew 16.5%, earning USD 926.1 million, in this January over the same month last year. Vietnam is one of the major competitors of Bangladesh in the sector. Chinese apparel exports grew 2.7% to USD 2.4 billion in the same month this year, from USD 2.3 billion in January 2015. India fetched USD 314.9 million, marking 2.7% growth in the same time.
Power import from Tripura likely from this month: Two PMs to open the power transmission
The government is going to import 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Tripura, India, as a proposal to this effect is likely to be placed before the cabinet committee on purchase today (Wednesday). As per proposal, officials said, Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) will purchase electricity from Palatana power plant in the northeastern Indian state at a price of BDT 6.4 per unit under ‘no-electricity, no-payment method’. “If everything goes accordingly, the trading in power is likely to start in the third week of this month,” ministry sources said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Premier Narendra Modi are expected to jointly inaugurate the power transmission through videoconferencing on March 23. The government finalized import of 100MW electricity from Tripura in January last when a delegation from Tripura, led by chief minister of the state Manik Sarkar, met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and discussed the matter with her. Authorities in Dhaka and Tripura later agreed on a set of terms of references on the cross-border power trade.
ADP spending remains dismal in 8 months
The rate of implementation of the annual development program saw a very dismal headway as it dropped to its eight-year low to 34% in eight months of the current fiscal year, according to data of the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the planning ministry. The IMED data published on Tuesday showed that 54 ministries and divisions could spend only BDT 346.7 billion or 34.0% of the total ADP allocation in the July-February period of the current fiscal year of 2015-2016. The total allocation for the entire fiscal year is BDT 1,010.0 billion. In the same period of last fiscal year, the ADP implementing agencies spent BDT 323.9 billion or 38.0% of the total allocation of BDT 860.0 billion for that year, the data showed. The previous lowest rate of implementation in the July-February period was 30.2% in FY08 when the size of ADP was BDT 265.0 billion, according to the data. The ADP implementation rate was 36.0% in FY14, 44.0% in FY13, 38.0% in FY12, 37.0% in FY11, 38.0% in FY10 and 35.0% in FY09, the IMED data showed. According to the data, of the ministries and divisions, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division implemented in the eight months the lowest — 8% of its allocation for the entire fiscal year.
NBR intends to enforce new act from July 1
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has no option but to enforce the new VAT and SD act from July 1, 2016 for the sake of boosting the government’s revenue earnings, the NBR chief said on Monday. “We have no alternative but to go by the new Value Added Tax (VAT) and Supplementary Duty Act,” NBR chairman Md Nojibur Rahman said at a members’ conference on ‘from differential to uniform rate system in Bangladesh: political economy of reforming VAT’. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) organized the conference at its auditorium in the city. The NBR chairman attended the program as the chief guest while Humayun Kabir FCA, council member and former president of ICAB, as the session chairman. NBR member (VAT policy) Barrister Jahangir Hossain, ICAB president Kamrul Abedin FCA and former president of ICAB Dr Jamaluddin Ahmed also spoke on the occasion. Speaking at the program, the NBR chairman said the revenue board will work for the people, but revenue mobilization is the key priority of the government to meet the country’s needs for internal resources. The tax authority has formed strong partnership with the business chambers and professional bodies like ICAB, he added.
Mobile surcharge takes effect today
The government yesterday imposed a 1% surcharge on the use of mobile phone, the proceeds from which will be spent on healthcare and education. The surcharge will put extra pressure on the users who are already paying 15% value added tax and 3% supplementary duty on their phone bills. The surcharge takes effect today, according to a gazette notification by Internal Resources Division under the finance ministry. The government announced the plan to impose the surcharge two years ago. “We received the SRO (statutory regulatory order) in the evening. We are trying to comply with the order as early as possible although there are some technical challenges,” Mahmud Hossain, chief corporate affairs officer of Grameenphone, told The Daily Star yesterday evening. Due to the VAT, supplementary duty and the new surcharge, a user actually will get talk time of BDT 83.7 against a top-up of BDT 100.0. The surcharge will bring the government an additional BDT 2.5 billion to BDT 3.0 billion.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$36.49||(0.01)||(0.03%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$39.55||(0.1)||(0.25%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||16,964.10||(109.85)||(0.64%)|
|USD 1||BDT 78.39*|
|GBP 1||BDT 111.20*|
|EUR 1||BDT 86.03*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.16*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.