Classified loans in the country’s banking system jumped by over 18.0% or BDT 112.4 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of the current calendar year, despite close monitoring by the central bank. According to the central bank’s latest statistics, the amount of non-performing loans (NPLs) bloated into BDT 734.1 billion during the January-March period from BDT 621.7 billion in the preceding quarter. The share of NPLs also rose to 10.53% during the period under review from 9.2% three months back. On the other hand, the amount of classified loans swelled up by 23.6% or BDT 140.0 billion in the Q1 of 2017 compared to the same period of the previous year. The amount of NPLs was BDT 594.1 billion as on March 31, 2016.
A large number of banks in Bangladesh have experienced cyber intrusions or attempted cyber intrusions in their information technology (IT) systems over the past three years, a recent industry-wide survey on IT system in banks has revealed. Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) conducted the study on 21 banks across the country. Some of the most common methods of such cyber intrusions include malware (27.0%), phishing (21.0%), pharming (7.0%) and botnets or zombies, according to the survey. The most common type of wicked activities resulting from a cyber-intrusion were account takeovers (7.0%), identity theft (18.0%), telecommunication network disruptions (15.0%) and data integrity breaches (9.0%), the study found.
State banks likely to get BDT 200.0 billion recap funds in next fiscal year too
The government intends to provide the state-owned banks with another recapitalization fund of BDT 200.0 billion in the next fiscal year to meet the capital shortage created by the loan defaults, said a source in the Finance Division recently. The same amount of money was allocated for the state banks to meet their capital shortage in the current fiscal year. BASIC Bank gets BDT 100.0 billion from the allocation in the revised budget. Earlier, the government decided to provide BDT 100.0 billion to BASIC Bank this fiscal year to improve clients’ trust which was damaged by massive loan irregularities. According to official sources, Finance Division wanted to merge BASIC Bank and Sonali Bank, but the government high-ups declined the proposal. Moreover, the two state-owned financial institutions and private IFIC Bank are going to get recapitalization funds in the revised budget of fiscal year 2016-17.
The country’s 37 commercial banks on Monday donated over Tk 136 crore to three benevolent organisations — the Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust, Shuchona Foundation and Jatir Janak Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the funds from the Bangladesh Association of Banks, a forum for banks’ directors, at a programme at Gono Bhaban in the capital. Islami Bank has donated highest Tk 15 crore followed by National Bank Tk 6 crore. At the event, IFIC Bank, Standard Bank, Prime Bank, Exim Bank, First Security Islami Bank donated Tk 5 crore each. Bank Asia, AB Bank, Dhaka Bank, Uttara Bank, United Commercial Bank, Shahjalal Islami Bank, Pubali Bank, NCC Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, Social Islami Bank, City Bank, Jamuna Bank, Al-Arafah Islami Bank and Eastern Bank donated Tk 4 crore each.
Most of the non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) listed with the stock market have reported better earnings in the January-March period (Q1) of 2017 compared to the same quarter in the previous year. Out of the 23 listed NBFIs, 21 have so far declared their Q1 financial reports (un-audited) until Tuesday. Of them, consolidated earnings per share (EPS) of 15 NBFIs rose while EPS of six declined in January-March period of 2017 compared to the same period of the previous year. Two NBFIs – BIFC and Peoples Leasing & Financial Services – are yet to publish their Q1 financial reports.
Mati ul Hasan has recently been promoted as the additional managing director of Mercantile Bank, the bank said in a press release. Prior to the promotion, he had been serving the bank as deputy managing director. Hasan started his career as a probationary officer in IFIC Bank in 1984, according to the statement. He had also served IFIC Bank in its branches in Pakistan and Nepal. He completed his diploma in banking from The Institute of Bankers, Bangladesh, the bank said.
Point-to-point inflation in March climbed highest in five months to 5.4% on the back of rising prices of some necessaries, according to official statistics. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) data unveiled Tuesday showed the rate of inflation had been on a downturn since November 2016, but picked up last March again with the consumer price index (CPI) on both food and non-food items rising significantly. According to the BBS, the rate of point-to-point inflation was recorded higher in October 2016 at 5.57 per cent, which dropped to 5.38% in the following month of November, 5.03% in December 2016, 5.15% in January 2017 and 5.31% in February 2017. In January last year, the point-to-point inflation was recorded highest at 6.05% in 15 months, the national statistical body data showed.
Economists puzzled as govt stops releasing monthly inflation data
The government has stopped releasing monthly inflation data since March, at a time when the prices of essential commodities started to rise, leaving economists puzzled. Instead, Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics has decided to release the data on a quarterly basis, said the government’s statistical body in a press release issued on Tuesday. Officials said that the BBS under the planning ministry took the decision being instructed by planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal though the bureau is completely capable to produce the data in the first week of every month. Economists, however, described the decision as ‘outrageous’ and completely ‘unacceptable’. They also said that the decision would push back the country in generating and utilising quality data. The government should shun such culture of not releasing data whenever the data is not favorable, they said, adding that data should not be administered according to ‘likes and dislikes’ of a person. The BBS also released the quarterly consumer price index (CPI) for the first time in the country though earlier it would be published every month. According to the BBS data, point-to-point inflation in the third quarter (January 17-March 17) of the current fiscal year 2016-2017 declined to 5.28 per cent from that of 5.32 per cent in second quarter (October 16-December 16) though general inflation was rising in the country since January. BBS data showed that point-to-point inflation stood at 5.39 per cent in March which was 5.31 per cent and 5.15 per cent in February and January respectively.
Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approves BDT 27.2 billion projects
The government approved Tuesday eight development projects at a total cost of BDT 27.2 billion, officials said. The approval was given at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) held in Dhaka with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The projects include the “Information sister: Empowerment of women through ICT to build digital Bangladesh project-II” at a cost of BDT 5.5 billion. Emerging from the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the ECNEC approved the “Information sister: Empowerment of women through ICT to build Digital Bangladesh project-II at a cost of BDT 5.5 billion.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) starts duty-free import of furnace oil
The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), for the first time, has stopped paying duties and taxes on import of furnace oil from the international market following assurance from the revenue board, officials said. The state-run corporation recently imported a cargo carrying 20,000 tons of furnace oil from an overseas supplier and subsequently wrote to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) for issuing a formal letter over import duty waiver, BPC’s director for operations and planning Sayed Mohammad Mozammel Haque told the FE Tuesday.
Purnava Ltd, a subsidiary of Renata Ltd, brings natural sugar substitute
Purnava Limited, a subsidiary of Renata Ltd, manufacturer of non-medicated preventive healthcare products, has brought natural substitute of sugar – CHINI GO – in the market for health conscious consumers of the country. The sugar substitute is safe for all types of consumers including vegetarians, pregnant women and diabetics. This will minimise regular consumption of synthetic and artificial sweeteners – saccharin, aspartame and sucralose, said a press release issued recently. Synthetic sugar can be carcinogenic to humans and unsafe for human consumption in various ways like gastric, migraine, weight gain, blurred vision, allergic reaction, etc. The consumption of sugar substitute – CHINI GO – will considerably reduce the impact of diseases in the years to come, added the release. Purnava has brought the natural sweetener with zero calories, zero carb, zero GI produced in South America which is widely used by consumers in Japan and North America.
Telenor, the parent company of Grameenphone, is winding down ekhanei.com today as it could not transform the online classifieds site into a sustainable and profitable business. “The decision to close down ekhanei.com was not an easy one,” Atle Lessum, a vice-president of Telenor Group, told The Daily Star yesterday. Bangladesh’s online classifieds market is yet to develop in line with the Norwegian company’s expectation, according to the group. Telenor’s partners in ekhanei.com namely Schibsted and Naspers have agreed with the decision.
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