Bangladesh earns USD 13.5 billion remittance in 2017, says IFAD report
Bangladesh has fallen behind its three other South Asian neighbours — Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka — in growth of remittance inflow in the last one decade, reports UNB. However, the country was ahead of its closest neighbour India in the inward remittance growth during the same period, according to a report released by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Monday. The IFAD report said, Bangladesh earned remittance worth US USD 13.5 billion, equivalent to 6.1% of its gross domestic product (GDP), last year. Over the past one decade, the country posted a steady remittance growth rate of 4.2%, much lower than Pakistan (10.8), Nepal (9.8) and Sri Lanka (9.4) but higher than India (3.3%). In Bangladesh, 65% of the total value of remittances goes to rural areas, the report said pointing out that rural remittances are particularly important in Asia and the Pacific because remittances ‘count’ more in small towns and villages where living expenses are lower, and typically the cost of sending remittances to rural areas is higher than to corridors linking high-volume urban markets. India (USD 69 billion), China (USD 64 billion) and the Philippines (USD 33 billion) are the three largest remittance-receiving countries in the world; Pakistan (USD 20 billion) and Vietnam (USD 14 billion) are also in the top 10.
Banks can give securities custodian services directly: BB
The Bangladesh Bank has allowed banks to provide securities custodian services directly without forming any subsidiary company.The central bank’s decision will come into effect from July 22, said a circular of BB on Tuesday. BB said that all the private commercial banks had been exempted from the provision of 7(3) of Bank Company Act, 1991 for providing the securities custodian services directly. According to the provision, no bank can provide the services of stock-broker, stock dealer, merchant banker and portfolio manager directly. Earlier in 2013, the central bank extended the deadline of the requirement of subsidiary company to give the service of custodian services by five years, said a senior BB official.
BB lists major risks facing economy, suggests ‘prudent management’
The central bank has recommended keeping close watch on higher credit growth, yawning current account deficit and inflationary risks for the sake of macroeconomic stability. “Strong credit growth, wider current account deficits, and inflationary risks, however, warrant continued prudent management of macro-financial stability,” the central bank said in its latest Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (BBQ) for October-December 2017, released on Tuesday. Mustafa K Mujeri, former director general of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), subscribed to the BB recommendations, saying the policy-makers should also take effective measures immediately to minimise such risks. “The stability of real sectors may be hampered if the ongoing pressures on external sector, particularly on overall balance of payments (BOP), continues,” Mr Mujeri, also former chief economist of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), explained when contacted.
NBR directs banks to collect VAT for ads on social media
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has forwarded letters to all commercial banks to collect 15 per cent value added tax (VAT) from online advertisements placed by local companies on social media like Google, Facebook and YouTube. The letters were issued to the banks on Monday, asking them to collect 15 per cent VAT when advertisers make the payments to social media platforms abroad. The NBR has also directed its field offices to monitor Google and Facebook. Matiur Rahman, LTU-VAT commissioner of the NBR, said: “We’ve directed commercial banks to collect 15 per cent VAT when advertisers make the payments to social media like Facebook, Google and YouTube. Initially, the banks will collect the VAT and submit it to the NBR. Later, we’ll directly bring Facebook, Google and YouTube under the VAT net. “It’ll also be monitored whether the advertisers make the payments through any alternative channels outside the banking sector,” he added.
BRAC Bank witnesses steady growth in last five years
BRAC Bank displayed a steady growth in earnings and dividend payout in last five years riding mainly on managerial efficiency, the bank’s top executive said, eyeing to make the company number one in the country’s banking sector. The return on assets (ROA), an indicator of how profitable a company is relative to its total assets, over the last five years reflects the bank’s efficiency in generating revenue by using its assets. The ROA improved from 0.78 per cent in 2013 to 1.95 per cent 2017, according to the company’s financial statement. The company’s consolidated ROA, including the subsidiaries, was 1.77 per cent in 2017, 1.55 per cent in 2016, 1.02 per cent in 2015, 0.93 per cent in 2014 and 0.17 per cent in 2013. “So far I know the ROA of other banks is far below than the BRAC Bank. Many banks even do not public their ROA,” said Selim R. F. Hussain, managing director and CEO of BRAC Bank.
Four SoBs, ICB to buy shares of Farmers Bank
Four state-owned banks (SoBs) and the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) are buying shares of Farmers Bank in a desperate effort to save the troubled bank hit by loan scams, reports bdnews24.com. Bangladesh Bank cleared the way for the ICB and the four government banks — Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali — relieving them of barriers under the Banking Companies Act. The central bank issued a notice on Tuesday, citing an order from Governor Fazle Kabir. A central bank official said the four state-owned banks and the ICB will buy Farmers Bank shares for Tk 7.15 billion. The four banks will pay Tk 1.65 billion each and the ICB will account for Tk 550 million of the fund. The money will be used to pay depositors of the troubled bank.
Large loans make up 57.27pc of banks’ total lending: Says study at BIBM workshop
Large loans account for around 57.27 per cent of the total lending by banks, mainly concentrated in Dhaka and Chattogram, according to a study. Foreign commercial banks (FCBs) have 73.09 per cent of their total outstanding credit in large industries followed by private commercial banks (PCBs) with 64.75 per cent, specialised banks (SBs) 47.57 per cent and state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs) 40.36 per cent. About 85.74 per cent of the total outstanding credit of all banks in 2017 remained concentrated in Dhaka and Chattogram divisions, it revealed. The findings were disclosed at a review workshop held at the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) Auditorium in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Imports 70pc costlier for higher tariffs: PRI
Bangladeshi consumers pay 70 percent more than the prices in the international market to buy imported and import-substitute products due to the country’s high tariff regime, said a think-tank yesterday. For this reason, Dhaka is said to be one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in, said Zaidi Sattar, chairman of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh. “Any consumer goods you buy, the prices are well above the international levels. It is because the imports are subjected to the highest protective tariffs in the region, if not the world.” He made the remarks while presenting a paper — ‘Protection Policy, Export Diversification and the Forgotten Consumer’ — at a discussion held at the think-tank’s office in Dhaka.
Banking sector plagued by scams: UN
Bangladesh’s banking sector has been plagued by financial scams, non-performing loans and poor monitoring, posing a macroeconomic risk, said a United Nations report launched in Bangkok on Monday. The country’s robust growth has been supported by domestic demand, especially large infrastructure projects and new energy sector initiatives, it said. Remittance flows also started rising with increase in global oil prices, says the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2018. The region’s robust growth in 2017, forecast to continue this year, gives the scope to meet this objective, it said. The report advises the region’s countries to take advantage of the current favourable economic conditions to address vulnerabilities and enhance resilience, inclusiveness and sustainability of economies. Implementation of several policy initiatives requires mobilising domestic public financial resources and leveraging private capital, the report noted.
Move to open direct banking channel with Russia
A move is underway to establish direct banking channel between Bangladesh and the Russian Federation, aiming to facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries, officials said. In the absence of a direct banking channel, Bangladeshi businesses have to use a third country to export goods to Russia, which does international trade in its currency, ruble. Presently, Bangladesh exports goods to Russia via European countries, including Germany, Turkey and India.
Southeast Bank launches ‘Instant Banking’
Southeast Bank Limited has launched “Southeast Bank Instant Banking” service. The formal launching ceremony of the service was held recently at the bank’s head office in the capital. M. Kamal Hossain, Managing Director of the bank, formally launched the value-added service for the customers. Through this service, customers would be able to make deposit and withdraw cash without human interaction. Southeast Bank Instant Banking is a state-of-the art technology-backed service which provides customers with real time cash acceptance dispense facility with note serial numbers, mini-statement, balance inquiry and many more services. Southeast Bank will gradually expand its network with regular ATMs across the country.
IPD Finance Ltd, Asian Paints, DBBL Bank, others organize CSR-oriented programs
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) allows organizations to contribute to the welfare of the society, environment, or customers. Different organizations organize talent hunt programs to unleash the potential of the youth of this country. Among them, Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd and other commercial banks have provided scholarships to GPA-5 holder students across Bangladesh. Amongst the non-banking financial institutions, IPDC Finance Limited organized ‘Little Farmer’, a one of a kind initiative organized by Nagarkrishi at the British Council campus, to inspire a generation connected to Earth, and raise awareness about the future of the planet.
Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) reschedules trading hours in Ramadan
The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) has rescheduled its trading time during the holy month of Ramadan, without reducing trading hours like previous year. The trading on the DSE will take place from 10:00am to 2.00pm without any break during the Ramadan, instead of the regular trading period from 10:30am to 2:30pm. As per the decision, DSE office will remain open from 9.00am to 3.30pm during the Ramadan, instead of the regular time of 9:30am to 5:30pm. The trading and office hours will get back to normal time after the Eid-ul-Fitr vacation. The port city’s bourse — Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) — will also follow the DSE trading and office time.
Workers’ outflow halves as Saudi jobs disappear
Employment opportunity for Bangladeshi workers has shrunk in Saudi Arabia in recent months, worsened by its slow development work and restrictions on certain jobs for foreign workers, insiders have said. The number of outbound Bangladeshi workers to the oil-rich kingdom has more than halved in the last four months, according to data released by the state-run Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET). Except women workers, Saudi employers are not willing to recruit Bangladeshi workers at present, sector insiders said. In the January-April period of 2018, a total of 107,935 workers went to the kingdom whereas the number of outflow was 216,101 in the same period of 2017, the data showed. Because of the falling oil price and political uncertainty, development work has remained slow in the kingdom, making it difficult for foreign workers to get jobs.
Both food, non-food inflation declines
Inflation fell 5 basis points to 5.63 percent in April, compared to the previous month, on the back of a decrease in prices of food and non-food items, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Last month, food inflation was down 6 basis points to 7.03 percent from a month ago, while non-food inflation declined 2 basis points to 3.49 percent. Inflation has been on a downward path since October last year except for January when it rose 5 basis points. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal released the data yesterday. He said the continuous fall in inflation is a good sign for the economy. The fall will continue in the next two months and inflation will not increase even in the month of Ramadan, he said, adding that the prices of essentials would not go up in the fasting month.
B’desh economy to overtake Taiwan by 2030
Bangladesh is a “minor” power among the 25 selected nations in the Asia-Pacific region and ranked 18th in an index that measures the overall influence of the countries. The Australian think-tank Lowy Institute’s index measures power across 25 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region. A country’s overall power is its weighted average across eight measures — economic resources, military capability, resilience, future trends, diplomatic influence, economic relationship, defence networks and cultural influence. Bangladesh posts the strongest performance in the future trends measure of the Asia Power Index, notching the 9th place with a score of 5.2 while the lowest ranking occurs in the economic relationship measure — in the 23rd place. The country ranks 16th in economic resources, 20th in military capability, 15th in resilience, 17th in diplomatic influence, 18th in defence network and 16th in cultural influence. The index-report has projected that the country’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by 141 per cent between 2016 and 2030, overtaking Taiwan in economic size. It has also pointed out that the country has the third-largest diaspora in the region after China and India, with an outward migrant population of 3.9 million.
Muhith hints at corporate tax cut, power tariff rise
The price of electricity is likely to increase further in the days ahead due to the increase in the price of relevant raw materials, Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said. “Electricity price would go up in the near future”, the Finance Minister said while speaking at a television programme on the upcoming budget on Tuesday. “The reason is that prices of raw materials that are needed for producing electricity are going up”, Muhith said. “However, we would try to keep the rate of increase at a tolerable level,” he added. The Finance Minister also reiterated that the government was planning to reduce the corporate tax rate in the next budget.
Zone development heats up rural land market
Economic zones have driven up the value of land property in villages, helping the rural people reap windfall gains. In some areas, where such zones are being built, the land value rocketed more than 10 times, locals say. The development activities around the under-construction industrial clusters have also generated economic vibrancy in otherwise backwater villages where such opportunities are not that abundant. Besides, the promise of giving locals priority over others while recruiting workers in the zones by Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has raised new hope among the villagers. During recent visits to several developing zones like Mirsarai and Anwara in Chattagram, Sreehatta in Moulavibazar, Sabrung in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar, some villagers were found building or repairing their tin-shed or concrete houses in the prospect of renting those out as the demand for accommodating people engaged in construction has grown. Locals and officials said the areas selected for building economic zones (EZs) were underdeveloped and low-lying, used only for cultivation or grazing for years.
India for early BIMSTEC meet to boost connectivity
India is likely to urge Nepal to soon hold the fourth summit of the seven-member grouping of BIMSTEC. The summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Econ-omic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) will help fast-track regional connectivity projects and push Indian Act East Policy, according to a report by economictimes.indiatimes.com. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to suggest his Nepalese counterpart, KP Oli, to convene the meet at the earliest, according to people aware of the matter. They said India is eager to put in place the BIMSTEC multi-modal connectivity pact, especially since the proposed connectivity links under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are progressing slowly.
3rd Karnaphuli Bridge: Project cost up by 17pc despite completion of construction
Roads and Highways Department (RHD) has revised the 3rd Karnaphuli bridge project, raising its cost by around 17 per cent though the construction work was completed eight years ago. The department proposed 16.9 per cent increase in the project cost from its earlier revision and 82 per cent increase from the original cost estimated in the fiscal year 2002-03. Sources said RHD has revised up the project cost to Tk 7.97 billion in the 3rd revision from Tk 6.82 billion as per the Planning Commission’s recommendation placed at the project evaluation committee meeting in September 2017. The latest revision was necessary to adjust price escalation and incorporate new components in the design of the approach road, they added. The eight-kilometre road was designed to connect the Karnaphuli bridge with Bahaddarhat of Chattogram city with four lanes. Four small bridges on the corridor will also turn into six lanes.
Consumers exasperated by long queues for prepaid electricity bill payment
Prepaid electricity meters are causing major inconvenience to consumers, who say authorities introduced the system without offering consumers hassle-free means for bill payment. Consumers are forced to spend frustratingly long hours waiting in queue on weekdays to pay their bills. Authorities say consumers will enjoy improved bill payment facilities within three months. Consumers said they previously paid their electricity bills after consumption but now they have to pay the bill in advance and face considerable inconvenience when doing so.
Alibaba snaps up Daraz
Chinese tech giant Alibaba has expanded its footprints in Bangladesh after it snapped up online marketplace Daraz yesterday, in a development that can be viewed as a game changer for Bangladesh’s e-commerce landscape. Financial details of the transaction, which includes Daraz’s entire business in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Nepal, were undisclosed. The country’s e-commerce market is worth about Tk 2,000 crore (about $250 million) and the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh’s projects that it will become a billion-dollar industry by 2021. The entry of Alibaba, the world’s largest online trading platform, means the target might be reached before 2021, said e-CAB leaders.
LafargeHolcim launches new product today
LafargeHolcim launches new ‘specialised’ cement branded as ‘Plastercrete’ today (Wednesday) for plastering works in overall constructions. The company made the announcement of launching the new product at a press briefing at a city hotel on Tuesday. Rajesh Surana, CEO of LafargeHolcim Bangladesh, said the Plastercrete would ensure a smoother surface finish that would ease applications and masonry works. “By using this product, plastered surface will be more durable, less prone to cracks thus requiring less repair and maintenance,” Rajesh said. He said the new cement will help customers to save time and cost sustainability and is expected to create a big impact in overall construction management process. Asif Bhuiyan, marketing and commercial transformation director, and Syed Naimul Abedin, head of market strategy, brands and communications, among others, were present at the press briefing.
Snowtex brings lifestyle brand Sara
Apparel exporter Snowtex is set to launch a new fashion retail brand, Sara Lifestyle Ltd, in the local market to provide quality products at a reasonable price. “Our motto is ‘Fashion for Everybody’ as we are committed to offer quality apparels which everybody can afford,” said SM Khaled, managing director of Snowtex and Sara, at a press conference at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka yesterday.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 70.61||↑1.55||↑2.24%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 76.67||↑1.82||↑2.43%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,311.20||↓3.43||↓0.26%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.11|
|GBP 1||BDT 112.49|
|EUR 1||BDT 98.53|
|INR 1||BDT 1.24|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.