Banks’ NPLs rise 15.0% in Q1
Country’s banking system gasps under an over 15.0% rise in their non-performing loans (NPLs) in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, belying the central bank surveillance. The volume of the dud loans rose to BDT 594.11 billion during the January-March period of this calendar year from BDT 513.7 billion in the preceding quarter, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. The share of NPLs in the lending operations of the banks rose to 9.9% during the period under review from 8.79% three months back. “The volume of NPLs normally rises slightly during Q1 and Q3 of each year,” Shubhankar Saha, a spokesperson for the Bangladesh Bank (BB), told the FE Tuesday. Mr. Saha, also executive director of the BB, expects the amount of classified loans to go down in the second quarter (Q2) of the year. The classified loans cover substandard, doubtful and bad/loss of total outstanding credits. These altogether stood at BDT 5986.48 billion as on March 31 last, the BB data showed. The amount of classified loans found a high rise because of less rescheduling of unpaid loans and a relaxed trend in recovery, according to the bankers.
Refinance scheme: BSEC to propose 1yr extension
The supervision committee on government’s BDT 900-crore refinance scheme for small-scale stock market investors affected by the 2010-2011 market crash has decided to propose the finance ministry that it should extend the scheme by one more year to December 31, 2017. The existing tenure of the refinance scheme, under which affected investors take loan with an interest rate of 9% to recover their losses, will expire on December 31 this year. The committee led by Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission executive director Md Saifur Rahman took the decision at a meeting held on Tuesday. Apart from the deadline extension, the committee will also propose reduction of interest rate on the loan to 8%. Saifur, also the spokesperson of the BSEC, told New Age, ‘The commission will forward a proposal to the finance ministry based on the committee’s decisions. The ministry will take the final decision.’ The government has already disbursed BDT 9.0 billion for the scheme, but almost BDT 2.6 billion still remains idle due to investors’ reluctance in taking the loan because of drop in interest rate in bank loans.
Officials of 6 insurance companies fined for violating law
The Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority on Tuesday fined senior officials of six insurance companies BDT 6 lakh and warned two other companies for violating Insurance Act, 2010. The companies did not submit audited financial statement for the year 2014 in due time breaching section 32 (1) of Insurance Act, 2010, said an IDRA press release issued on the day. As per the insurance act, submitting audited financial statement within June 30, 2015 was mandatory for the companies. The regulatory authority took the decision after conducting hearing on the issue in presence of representatives of the entities. IDRA chairman M. Shefaque Ahmed presided over the hearings where IDRA members Md Quddus Khan, Zuber Ahmed Khan, Sultan-Ul-Abedine Molla and Md Murshid Alam were also present. Senior officials of Janata Insurance, Sadharan Bima Corporation, Paramount Insurance, Sikder Insurance Company, Meghna Insurance and South Asia Insurance were fined. The penalties were imposed under section 130 and 134 of Insurance Act, 2010. Apart from the six companies, Asia Insurance and Islami Commercial Insurance were warned on the same ground.
FDI inflow from tax havens ticks up
Foreign direct investment (FDI) from global tax havens to Bangladesh has been increasing over the years. Statistics of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the central bank, reveal that the FDI flow from six tax havens increased four times in the last six years. The six tax havens are Bermuda, British Virgin Island, Cayman Island, Mauritius, Panama and Seychelles. The total FDI flow from these islands and territories rose to USD 76 million in 2015 from USD 17 million in 2010. More than a half of the FDI, however, came from the British Virgin Island last year. The ratio of the FDI from the tax havens stood at 3.4% of the net inflow that stood at USD 2,232 million (USD 2.2 billion) last year. Mostly small islands and few developed and developing countries serve as the tax havens, where people and corporate entities can safely park their tax-evaded incomes and assets.
Trade deficit shrinks in first nine months
Overall trade deficit in the first nine months (July-March) of the current fiscal has declined by 0.7% from figures for the same period of the previous FY. The current trade deficit is at USD4.68 billion. Economist Zaid Bakht attributes this decline to a fall in global food and oil prices. He toldbdnews24.com that despite a hike in exports, the fall in international food and oil prices have led to cheaper import costs on these items that have enabled the fall in trade deficit. The analysis of Bangladesh Bank data on Balance of Payment reveals a trade deficit of USD 4.7 billion for the period between July-March of the current financial year – 0.7% less than the figures during the same time last fiscal. Net FDI during July-March of the current fiscal has registered a 21.54% rise, but foreign investment in the stock market has registered a six-fold decline.
Budget for FY ’17: Substantial hike in tax revenue target likely
Finance Minister AMA Muhith is likely to propose a tax-revenue target of BDT 2.3 trillion in the national budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17. The budget is set to be placed before parliament on June 02 next. The target set for next fiscal is 33.5% higher than that of the current fiscal. The next tax-revenue target is substantially higher than the original estimate of BDT 1.8 trillion in the current budget. The raise is envisaged by giving the domestic Value Added Tax (VAT) collection highest priority, taxmen and analysts said. However, economists have found the tax revenue target for FY 2016-17 ambitious. As already decided, the tax revenue is targeted at BDT 2.3 trillion in the aggregate budget size of BDT 3.4 trillion for the financial year 2016-17. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) recently gave its three wings their respective share of collection of the total tax revenue for the next fiscal. The VAT wing is expected to contribute 37.0% or BDT 741.0 billion of the aggregate revenue for financing the upraised budget.
Government move to review minimum wage for pharmaceutical sector
The government has initiated a move to review the minimum wage for the pharmaceutical sector, six years after it was revised in 2009, sources said. In this connection, the labor ministry issued a circular on May 09 last announcing the names of the representatives both from workers and owners for recommending minimum wage for the sector, they added. Md Halimuzzaman, chief executive officer of Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Ltd and Md Ziaul Hoque president of Novartis Bangladesh Ltd Sramik Karmachari Union will be representing owners and workers’ ‘side respectively, according to the circular. BDT 3625 and BDT 4500 were fixed as minimum wage for the workers and employees respectively of the pharmaceuticals sector, a minimum wage board official said. The labour ministry this year also took a move to review minimum wages for hosiery, hotel and restaurant and land port sectors. The minimum wages of BDT 2020 and BDT 1750 were fixed for hosiery and hotel and restaurant in 2009 while that of land ports was reviewed in 2010. Some 60% of the handling charge was fixed as minimum wage for workers of the land ports while BDT 7050 for employees, according to the board.
World Bank for transforming agriculture into high-value productive sector
The World Bank suggests transforming Bangladesh’s agriculture into a high-value productive sector as its growth holds the potential to prop up the country’s economy. A 10.0% rise in farm income in rural Bangladesh generates a 6.0% rise in non-farm income, says the global development financier to underpin its view of the country’s economic prospects. The WB report says Bangladesh’s 87.0% rural households are dependent on the income from agriculture while 65% households both on farm and non-farm incomes. The study, however, revealed that although rural non-farm employment is almost two times higher than all urban employments put together in Bangladesh, non-farm activities are not progressing sufficiently in scope or sophistication. The Bank report says agriculture is a leading contributor to poverty reduction in Bangladesh since 2000. The country now needs to shift towards high-value agriculture, including horticulture, livestock, and fisheries, as well as greater value addition to improve farmers’ income and household nutrition, the WB suggests.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$48.46||+0.15||0.31%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$49.39||+0.11||0.22%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,529.98||(180.73)||(1.02%)|
|USD 1||BDT 78.38*|
|GBP 1||BDT 113.13*|
|EUR 1||BDT 88.45*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.