Remittance flow to Bangladesh grew marginally in April from a month earlier as low oil prices, weak global economic growth and fiscal tightening in the Middle East continue to hurt the key source of foreign exchange. Some USD 1.1 billion flew in as remittance, up 1.9% from March but down 8.4% year-on-year, according to Bangladesh Bank statistics. In fiscal 2016-17, remittance inflow has been lower in every month from a year earlier, meaning the full-year receipts could be way below last fiscal year’s USD 14.9 billion. April’s receipts take fiscal 2016-17’s tally to USD 10.3 billion, down 16.1% year-on-year. Globally, remittance has fallen. Workers’ remittances to developing countries fell for a second consecutive year in 2016, a trend not seen in the last three decades, said the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief last month.
UK’s remittance leader BRAC Saajan opens office in Dhaka
BRAC Saajan Exchange Ltd, the UK-based subsidiary of BRAC Bank Limited, Wednesday opened its Dhaka office to provide state-of-the-art customer services for inward remittances. The offshore office will provide 24/7 customer service to the Bangladeshi expatriates in the United Kingdom and for other European expatriate Bangladeshis. BRAC Saajan (BSEL) is one of the largest and the most profitable Bangladeshi Payment Institutions in the UK. BSEL in fact is working hard for the expatriate Bangladeshis in sending remittance through legal channels, through secured way and at a competitive cost. Founded in 2003 by Mr. Abdus Salam as Saajan Worldwide Money Transfer Limited and based in Birmingham, in 2011 BRAC Bank Limited acquired 75.0% shareholding of the Company. During last year, BRAC Saajan remitted USD 225.0 million to Bangladesh.
The government plans to offer cost-free remittance facility to Bangladeshi expatriates under package incentives to boost falling inflow of remittances, officials said. During July-April period of this fiscal year, the remittance flow into the country fell by over 16.0%. Under the incentives just planned, the existing system of paying USD 10.0-USD 15.0 as fee each time of remittance – varying from country to country – may be waived for the remitters. Instead, the amount may be borne by government as this is one of the key sources of revenues for the financial institutions that deal with remittance transactions, people familiar with the developments told the FE Wednesday.
Bangladeshi women migration swells by 217 per cent in five years
The women migration from Bangladesh has ballooned by 217 per cent in last five years as some new destinations have been opened up for their overseas earnings, insiders said. The state-owned Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET) showed that the migration of the females for the overseas job has swelled to 118,088 in 2016 from that of only 37,304 in 2012. The Middle Eastern country Jordan is the top Bangladeshi worker recruiter over the last five years, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Lebanon and Qatar. According to the BMET, Jordan recruited 97,424, Saudi Arabia 89,902, the UAE 72,594, Oman 51,631, Lebanon 46,468, and Qatar 22,582 Bangladeshi female workers from 2012 to 2016.
Investment in National Savings Certificates (NSCs) hits annual record of BDT 376.0 billion in 9 months
The net investment in the national savings certificates and bonds broke the yearly record within the first nine months of the fiscal year 2016-17 hitting BDT 376.5 billion. The net investment in the national savings instruments earlier registered a record at BDT 33,688.60 crore in FY16. Directorate of National Savings and Bangladesh Bank officials said a section of people continued to invest heavily in the savings tools in recent time due to lower interest rates in banks’ fixed deposit schemes. The net investment in the national savings certificates and bonds in the July-March period of the current financial year 2016-17 increased by 62.4% to BDT 376.5 billion compared with that of BDT 231.9 billion posted in the same period a financial year ago, according to the latest DNS data. The officials said that the government did not cut the rates of interest on the savings certificates and bonds in the interest of politicians and bureaucrats. The politicians and bureaucrats are now investing heavily in the instruments to enjoy higher interest rates for the tools, they said.
Bangladesh should seize the opportunities that China is creating by slowly retreating from the export markets, said Yasuyuki Sawada, chief economist of the Asian Development Bank, yesterday. “China’s manufacturing shift towards high-end products is a great opportunity for Bangladesh and Vietnam to tap into,” Sawada said at a press briefing on the occasion of the ADB’s 50th anniversary. Sawada, also a director general of the ADB, said China commands 60 percent of the Asian gross domestic product and the country is rebalancing its external demand-driven economy into an internal demand-oriented one.
NBR to include more products in supplementary duty (SD) list to protect local industries
The National Board of Revenue has decided to increase the number of products for imposition of supplementary duty (SD) at import stage under the new VAT act to ensure protection to local industries from uneven competition with imported finished goods. A high-powered team of the value-added tax wing of the revenue board has already started working to identify the goods produced in the country that need further protection. Under the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act-2012, which is scheduled to come into force from July 1 this year, the number of products having SD at the import stage is reduced to 170 from the existing 1,430 products. Entrepreneurs have been expressing their concern over withdrawal of SD from many products produced in the country saying that it would severely reduce the level of protection for the domestic industries. Local products will not be able to survive as the price of imported finished goods will be lower due to withdrawal of the SD. Local entrepreneurs have sought protection for few more years to achieve competitiveness with imported goods.
Submarine cable link between Bangladesh, Myanmar on cards
Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL) and Singapore based Blueberry Telecom Pvt Ltd are going to establish a separate regional submarine cable link to connect Bangladesh with Myanmar. The cable will be 250 kilometres long and will connect Cox’s Bazar and Myanmar’s coastal city of Sittwe, said Monwar Hossain, managing director of BSCCL. It will take six months to lay the cable under the sea through Cox’s Bazar to Sittwe at a cost of USD 25.0 million, he said. BSCCL will own 10.0% of the cable that will have a lifespan of around 20 years. It will be operated by a company named BSCCL-Blueberry Bangladesh Ltd.
Cars of Proton brand of Malaysia, assembled by PHP Group in Chittagong, have hit the Bangladesh market, said PHP officials. PHP has so far assembled 35 vehicles of three models, Proton Preve, Proton Saga and Proton Exora, at its Chittagong plant by importing the parts from Malaysia, they said. PHP through its newly-established arm, PHP Automobiles, has started to sell the cars to customers in Bangladesh, said an official.
US-based IT company to hire 1,000 graduates for Bangladesh operations
Kazi IT Center Ltd, a US-based company, yesterday struck an agreement with the government to recruit 1,000 fresh graduates for its operations in Rajshahi — a move that will boost foreign currency earnings. “Bangladeshi youth are very creative and we want to make the best of them,” said Mike Kazi, chief executive officer of the company, after signing the deal with Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). Mohammad Enamul Kabir, director for training and development of the council, signed the deal on behalf of the government at a ceremony at the Information Communication and Technology Division in the capital, in the presence of State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak. Kazi IT, which began its journey in Bangladesh in 2010, has set up an office in Rajshahi and will start hiring this month. It will also invest in Kaliakoir and Jessore hi-tech parks to expand its footprint. The company is currently running its business in California, USA. Last year, its turnover was $30 million, which is expected to reach $50 million this year, said Kazi, a non-resident Bangladeshi.
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