25.0% cap on banks’ funded facilities
The central bank has issued a clarification stating that every commercial bank will have to bring down funded facilities to any single borrower to the limit of 25% of total capital by December 31, 2016. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued the clarification Wednesday and asked the managing directors and chief executive officers of the scheduled banks to maintain such a limit properly.
‘BDT 120.0 billion Bangladesh Bank audit anomaly’ comes to light
A failure to follow financial norms relating to forex transactions, salary allowances, utility bills and other areas has bred an anomaly of BDT 120.0 billion in the Bangladesh Bank audit, the Committee on Public Undertaking audit objection report has revealed, reports bdnews24.com. The audit objection came to light at a meeting of the committee held at the Parliament on Tuesday. The committee has called for quick resolution of the issue. Committee member Abdur Rouf told journalists, “The committee has stressed the resolution of the audit objection as early as possible” and added that representatives of Bangladesh Bank and those involved in the objection would hold a tripartite meeting at the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in this regard. “The next meeting would seek to know about the progress on this issue as well as on Hall-Mark and BASIC Bank corruption. Bangladesh Bank is not overseeing the issue sufficiently, the committee believes”, he said. The report on the unsettled audit objections for the period of 2010-2015 says that a total of 1,294 audit objections worth over BDT 110.0 billion arising during the period are yet to be settled. Most of these objections relate to salary allowances.
MCCI Q3 economic review: Infrastructure, revenue shortfalls, investment slowdown stymie growth
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) identified inadequate infrastructure, especially power and gas shortages, government revenue earning shortfall and ‘weak’ ADP execution as major impediments to the country’s desired economic growth. The trade body diagnosed the problems in its latest (Q3 of fiscal year 2015-16) economic review, released Wednesday, and offered a package of remedies. It also said boosting investment, continuation of political stability along with an investment-friendly climate, creation of skilled manpower and more job opportunities stood as major challenges in attaining the targeted economic growth, despite having certain improvements on some of its indicators. The MCCI in its review styled ‘Economic Situation in Bangladesh for the January-March period of the current fiscal year (FY’16)’ mentioned that Bangladesh’s economy is progressing well, but below its true potential. Inadequate infrastructure and shortage of power and energy are now major impediments to the growth of the economy.
BDT 1.1 trillion ADP awaits government seal of approval today
The government is going to approve an upraised BDT 1.09 trillion Annual Development Programme (ADP) today for the coming financial year (FY) 2016-17. The development budget is 20% up from the current fiscal’s revised outlay. Officials said Wednesday the Planning Commission (PC) had already drafted the BDT 1.09 trillion ADP to be placed before the National Economic Council (NEC), headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at its meeting in Dhaka today (Thursday). According to the PC, transport sector is getting the highest priority with the highest allocation while education getting the second-highest amount of funds in the upcoming development recipe. The proposed ADP is going to get BDT 692-billion funds from the government exchequer, 63% of the total outlay, and BDT 400 billion from external resources as project aid (PA), 37% of the total outlay. In the current FY2016 RADP, BDT 6218.40 billion is being spent from the internal resources and the rest BDT 291.60 billion from the external resources (as project aid).
First-ever state-run power generation co to float shares: APSCL will raise BDT 10.0 billion from capital market
The government has decided that state-run Ashuganj Power Station Company will raise around BDT 1,000 crore from the capital market by offloading shares to invest in power generation projects. Once the decision is implemented, APSCL will be the first public sector power generation company to be listed with the country’s bourses. A meeting chaired by prime minister’s energy adviser Tawfiq-E-Elahi Chowdhury on Wednesday took the decision to raise around BDT 10.00 crore from the capital market as the company would require around BDT 25.0 billion in next three years for existing and upcoming projects and loan repayment. Investment Corporation of Bangladesh has been assigned to prepare a report on the modalities of share offloading, APSCL managing director AMM Sazzadur Rahman told New Age. He said that they were yet to decide how many shares would be offloaded and what would be the actual share price including premium. ICB managing director Md Iftekhar-uz-zaman told the meeting that his organization would be able to submit the report in three to four days if APSCL provides all necessary information, said officials. Tawfiq asked the officials to finalize the matter within a month, they said.
Nepal looks to use Chittagong port, railways
Nepal has expressed interest in using Chittagong port and railways routes in Bangladesh to carry their transit goods, which will ultimately boost bilateral trade between the two nations, Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, senior secretary to the commerce ministry, said yesterday. Nepal placed its demand at the third commerce-secretary level meeting that came to an end in Dhaka yesterday. Bangladesh is also considering allowing Nepal for using the Chittagong, Payra and Mongla ports under the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) agreement to boost sub-regional connectivity, Mamoon added. The countries also agreed to launch a tourist package — “from the highest peak to the longest sea beach” — between the two countries to tap the potential of tourism, Mamoon said. The visa system for tourists of both countries would also be simplified further, he added. “At the meeting, both Bangladesh and Nepal agreed to remove trade barriers through discussion to increase regional trade,” he said. The South Asian Free Trade Area or SAFTA is at one of the lowest regional trading points in the world, he added.
BTRC asked to explain BDT 7.0 billion fee for Airtel, Robi merger
The telecom ministry on Wednesday asked the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to explain grounds for charging Robi and Airtel BDT 7.0 billion as fee for adjusted spectrum price in the case of the proposed merger of the mobile phone companies. The BTRC on Monday in a proposal to the ministry said that the government should charge BDT 7.0 billion for adjusting the price of Airtel’s 2G spectrum with those of the other operators. The BTRC proposal came following an instruction from the ministry that asked the commission to analyses different aspects of spectrum pricing for the proposed merger of Robi and Airtel. The telecom regulator also suggested an option for a lower price for Airtel’s 2G spectrum, around BDT 5.0 billion if the merged entity does not want to obtain the entire 2G spectrum held by Airtel, they said. In April, the telecom ministry in a proposal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recommended that the government collect additional fees for adjusting Airtel’s 2G spectrum price. The ministry referred an example of merger of telecom companies in India in support of its suggestion. Ministry officials said Airtel got the 2G spectrum at a lower price compared to other operators and to ensure a level playing field after the merger the government needs to collect additional fees for the spectrum.
Finance Minister asks ceramic makers to renounce hope for government bounties
Finance Minister AMA Muhith Wednesday asked ceramic wares manufacturers to find alternative ways to be price-competitive instead of depending only on protection given by the government. “At some point of time, this protection won’t exist. I may not be around to see it. So, you have to find other ways of cutting your costs to be more competitive,” the minister said. His advice came as a delegation of Bangladesh Ceramic Wares Manufacturers’ Association (BCWMA) came to meet the minister to place their demand for consideration in the upcoming budget. Muhith praised the ceramic manufactures for their success, saying that no country can rival Bangladesh as a producer of bone-china porcelain. The association president Sirajul Islam Molla led the delegation, which demanded continuation of 60% duty on import of finished ceramic wares in the next budget. They also demanded full waiver of import duty, value-added tax and advanced income tax on raw materials for the local ceramic industry. Besides, the leaders urged the minister to set the lowest import price of finished ceramic products to help stop under-invoicing. The association adviser Mir Nasir Hossain said due to import of finished goods through under- invoicing, local industry is facing uneven competition.
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