BRAC Bank to buy more shares of BRAC EPL Investments
The board of directors of BRAC Bank has decided to acquire 14,040,000 more shares of BRAC EPL Investments at BDT 10 each amounting to BDT 140.4 million, stated an official disclosure on Tuesday. It also added that BRAC Bank will acquire the BRAC EPL’s said number of shares following approval of the regulatory bodies concerned – Bangladesh Bank and Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission. Each share of the bank closed at BDT 45.10 on Tuesday, advancing 0.45% over the previous day. BRAC Bank, listed on Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) in 2007, also disclosed its first quarter (Q1) earning report on Tuesday. As per the Q1 financial report (un-audited), consolidated earnings per share (EPS) of the bank was BDT 0.98 for January-March 2016 as against BDT 0.58 for January-March 2015. The sponsor-directors own 49.92% stake in the bank, while institutional investors own 7.08%, foreign investors 35.85% and general public 7.15% as on March 31, 2016.
Bangladesh Bank heist bodes ill for market confidence, investment: Moody’s
Global credit-rating agency Moody’s says the Bangladesh Bank cyber-heist bodes ill for market confidence, investment or financial stability in the country if there is an escalation of its implications. Though the direct credit implications of the cyber-heist are minimal, but, if there is a potential escalation, it may hurt market confidence, said Moody’s Investors Service in an analysis of what is being dubbed as world’s worst digital bank theft. Besides, the country’s investment or financial stability could be negatively affected, according to the US-based financial watchdog’s latest analysis, which was submitted to the authorities concerned recently for consideration. The Moody’s mentioned that the trans-national cyber-heist in March 2016 resulted in a loss of USD 81 million (0.3% of total foreign exchange reserves) from Bangladesh Bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve. “There was a change in management at the central bank after the incident and closer regulation over the banking system and a focus on strengthening security systems could follow,” the rating agency said in its 25-page report. The report also says state-owned banks (SoBs) exhibit weak asset quality and poor profitability. Because such banks account for 30% of total banking-system assets, their weak credit metrics expose the government to contingent liabilities.
Dhaka, Delhi set modalities of building two Indian SEZs
Dhaka and New Delhi in a joint meeting Tuesday set modalities of building two special economic zones in coastal Mongla belt and in Kushtia that would be dedicated to Indian investors. Officials said the Indian Economic Zones (IEZs) – formally deemed as Bangladesh-India government-to-government economic zones – will be developed at Mongla in Bagerhat and Bheramara in Kushtia under the new USD 88 million second Indian line of credit (LoC). Joint Working Group (JWC) of the two countries sat for its first meeting at a hotel in Dhaka for the bilateral talks on the economic front. Sources who attended the meeting said the JWC discussed framework for setting up IEZs, feasibility study, sectors of focus, market focus, model of developing IEZs, preferences of Bangladesh government, fit address to security concerns of developers, incentives, exemption, concession, legal protection to IEZs, development of infrastructure by Bangladesh government, human resource supply etc. It also discussed utilization of USD88 million from the second LoC for the two IEZs. Earlier, the government of India had constituted the Indian side of the joint working group to work out the modalities for implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for establishing Indian economic zones in Bangladesh.
Development projects to keep allocation for tax payment
The government’s development projects will have to keep an allocation, by calculating the amount, for payment of tax from the next fiscal year (FY) as per the instruction of Finance Minister A M A Muhith. The instruction came at a meeting held at Planning Commission in the city on Tuesday with the secretaries of all the ministries and divisions to devise strategies on narrowing down scopes of tax exemption in the government’s development projects. The meeting, headed by the finance minister, scrutinized proposals of the secretaries on curtailing tax exemption facilities in the development projects. Responding to the queries to newsmen, Internal Resources Division (IRD) Senior Secretary and National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Nojibur Rahman said the finance minister asked the secretaries concerned to prepare projects with calculation of tax amount from the upcoming FY. The minister also instructed the relevant ministries to come out from the culture of tax exemption. The meeting sources said the finance minister vowed to improve the country’s tax-GDP ratio by encouraging tax payment culture of both private and public sector entities. He expressed his firm stand on not providing new tax exemption to these public development projects in the upcoming FY. As per his instruction, NBR is preparing a policy on tax exemption.
Bangladesh seeks duty-free access of 56 items to Nepal
Bangladesh yesterday demanded duty-free access of 56 items to Nepal to boost bilateral trade, at the third commerce-secretary level meeting that began in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh has sought the benefit for the products that have export potential, said Monoj Kumar Roy, additional secretary to the commerce ministry, who was also a member of the Bangladesh delegation at the meeting. The products include fish, potato chips, wafers, construction materials, refrigerators, lead acid battery, garments, plastic goods, cement, tobacco, tomato sauce and biscuits. Roy, speaking to The Daily Star after the meeting at the secretariat in Dhaka, also said Nepal demanded duty-free import of machine-processed writing papers, but Bangladesh agreed to export handmade papers to Nepal. On the other hand, Bangladesh offered duty-free benefits to 108 products of Nepal, Roy said. The commerce ministry of Bangladesh has been preparing the modalities on how to allow the duty-benefit to Nepal and on how many products, said Roy. Nepal’s demands were placed at the second commerce-secretary level meeting in Nepal in 2012, he added.
BSEC clears ways for ‘uniform’ income year of listed firms
The securities regulator has exempted the listed companies, other than the banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, from some provisions of the securities rules to introduce ‘uniform’ income year, officials said. The regulatory exemption came following a circular issued earlier by the revenue board to introduce uniform income year by the tax-paying companies. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) issued a directive giving waiver from the provision of submitting quarterly financial statements, audited financial statements, category adjustment and holding annual general meetings (AGMs). According to the circular-2015 (Income Tax) issued by the National Board of Revenue (NBR), the year-end of companies, other than banks, insurance companies and financial institutions (FIs), will be June 30. BSEC in its directive said in order to close the financial year as on June 30, 2016 the listed companies, other than the banks, insurance companies and financial institutions, shall have to close their financial statements earlier or later than the existing closing date which may be extended up to 18 months.
Panama Papers leak more BD plutocrats’ names
Names of some 56 Bangladeshi citizens and companies have appeared in the latest leaks on financial underworld, raising questions about how the funds could be transferred outside or kept in safe havens evading the laws. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released the text of findings Monday (May 9). The latest release includes the names in Panama Papers, leaked last month, and also Offshore Leaks, released in 2014 by the ICIJ. Names of 23 individuals are included in Panama Papers while 33 in Offshore Leaks. The list includes names of political leaders, businessmen, professionals and their spouses and relatives. The Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney-client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities.
Australia, UK allow air cargo shipment from Bangladesh partially
Australia has allowed air cargo shipment via third country re-scanning while the European Union (EU) has permitted three airlines for handling cargoes through the extended security zone from Bangladesh. The EU allowed the three airlines – Bangladesh Biman, Etihad Airways and Lufthansa, after the cargo village of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) secured the RA3 (EU Aviation Security Validated Regulated Agent) status on May 05. Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon made the disclosure at a press conference at the Secretariat Monday afternoon. Redline Aviation Security Ltd proposed to establish a separate safety zone at the airport in the shortest possible time and selected three airlines primarily for cargo handling through that zone. Redline has been working at HSIA since March 24 as per an agreement signed on March 21 to provide three types of service – consultancy, supervision of airport security, as well as running and training the airport personnel.
Steel millers threaten action against hiking VAT on rod
Steel millers and ship-breakers at a press conference Tuesday threatened to launch tougher movement if the government sticks to its decision on imposing a 15% VAT on rods. Strongly opposing the government’s move, they demanded keeping the existing rate of VAT (value added tax) unchanged in the next budget for the financial year 2016-17 (FY’17). “If such a rate of VAT is imposed, the price of rods will go up to as high as BDT 64,000-BDT 65,000 per ton from the existing BDT 50, 000,” Bangladesh Auto Re-rolling and Steel Mills Association chairman Sheikh Masadul Alam Masud said. He said the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to impose 15 per VAT from the next budget under the new VAT law. Now steel mills pay a fixed VAT of BDT 825 per ton at production level, which will be increased to BDT 7,500 if new VAT is imposed, he said. He said the government rate in construction work for rod is BDT 84,000 per ton when the market price is BDT 45,000-BDT 50,000. The cost will go up further by BDT 20,000-BDT 25,000 per ton if prices of rods increase after the new VAT burden.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$44.50||(0.16)||(0.36%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$45.37||(0.15)||(0.33%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,928.35||+222.44||1.26%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.38*|
|GBP 1||BDT 113.21*|
|EUR 1||BDT 89.23*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.