BB ups export loan ceiling for textiles, apparel makers
The central bank has raised the loan limit of garment and textiles producers under its Export Development Fund (EDF) to help boost income from outbound shipment, officials said. “It has now been decided to enhance the limit of US$ 20 million to $25 million for member mills of the BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) and the BTMA (Bangladesh Textile Mills Association),” said a notification issued by Bangladesh Bank (BB) Monday.
Huge loans written off to flatter balance sheets
Banks made wholesale loan write-offs in the final quarter of 2017 in a bid to flatter their balance sheets and overall performance. As much as Tk 1,875 crore was written-off between October and December of last year, in contrast to Tk 322 crore three months earlier. Of the 25 banks that took the facility to clean up their balance sheets, AB Bank topped the chart writing off Tk 328 crore, followed by Prime Bank (Tk 206 crore) and IFIC Bank (Tk 152 crore), according to data from the Bangladesh Bank.
Bangladesh Bank issues guideline for illiterate customers
Bangladesh Bank has issued a guideline for illiterate customers as they can easily withdraw cash from banks using cheques. The central bank in a circular on Monday said all the scheduled banks would have to fill up the Know Your Customer (KYC) of illiterate customer properly. Apart from this, it said, banks could initiate biometrics, iris and facial recognition processes to make cash transactions easy for illiterate customers. “To implement the process, the branches of all banks will have to build up their capacity for biometric information receiving and examine,” the circular added.
School banking elicits massive response
School banking is steadily eliciting a huge response from among students all over the country. As of December 2017, the total value of the deposits with the banking accounts stood at Tk. 1,362.96 crore. The central bank’s latest quarterly report on financial inclusion shows that a total of Tk. 1,362.96 crore was deposited with 1,453,936 school banking accounts at 56 scheduled banks, as of December 31, 2017. “In November 2010, Bangladesh Bank launched this programme to introduce banking services and advanced banking technology to those school students of the country who are below 18 years,” Abul Bashar, general manager of the financial inclusion department of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), told The Independent. The objective of this programme is to make students aware in respect of financial literacy at an early age and grow up saving for their future, he added.
Rupali, Mercantile banks allowed to float bonds worth Tk 900cr
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday allowed Mercantile Bank and Rupali Bank to float unsecured subordinated rate bonds worth Tk 900 crore in total. The capital market regulator gave the approval in a commission meeting presided over by its chairman M Khairul Hossain. As per the BSEC approval, Mercantile Bank will float unsecured subordinated floating rate bond worth Tk 300 crore and Rupali Bank will also issue bond worth Tk 600 crore.
Japan’s exports accelerate in April
Japan’s exports accelerated in April on increased shipments of cars and machines used to make semiconductors, with rising volumes suggesting healthy overseas demand could help the economy recover quickly from a dip in the first quarter. Exports grew 7.8 percent in April from the same period a year ago, below the median estimate for an 8.1 percent annual increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll. In March, exports grew an annual 2.1 percent. In terms of volume, which strips away the impact of exchange rates, Japan’s exports rose an annual 4.6 percent in April, faster than the 1.8 percent annual increase seen in March. Exports are likely to continue to grow thanks to increased demand for manufacturing equipment, cars and car parts, but Japan’s trade surplus with the United States makes it a potential target for US President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies.
New device set to replace ECR: EFD to be mandatory from next fiscal year
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is set to make use of Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) mandatory for businesses from the upcoming fiscal year, officials said. This will scrap the existing order for ECR installation. Such device will be interconnected with the server of the Value Added Tax (VAT) so that the VAT authorities can track each of the transaction of the EFD-installed businesses. The VAT wing has already drafted a statutory regulatory order (SRO) in this regard.
Special efforts to keep Benapole port open during Ramadan
The authorities of Benapole Customs House have decided to keep the port open all the day during Ramadan with the help of non-Muslim officials and workers with effect from yesterday. During Ramadan, Muslim employees take intervals twice a day for Sehri and Iftar to eat something before dawn and after dusk respectively. Non-Muslim employees should come forward in these two intervals to keep the port up and running round the clock, Benapole Customs Commissioner Mohammad Belal Hossain Chowdhury said in a directive sent to the custom house.
Project cost rises manifold
The quest to transform the Ashuganj container terminal port into a world-class one has become more expensive for the government, with the shipping ministry now placing a fresh Tk 1,293 crore proposal — exponentially more than the original project. The proposal will be placed in today’s meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council. The original project was taken up in 2011 with an estimated cost of Tk 245 crore, with India footing a portion of the amount committed from its first line of credit. But due to complexities in land acquisition and a lack of detailed feasibility study the neighbouring backed out from the project. Later, WAPCOS, an Indian water and power consultancy firm, made a detailed feasibility study and came up with a design, based on which the shipping ministry sent a proposal of Tk 831 crore for the project. India would provide Tk 431 crore from its second line of credit. But in October last year, the shipping ministry sought an additional Tk 431 crore after land acquisition costs increased. The additional Tk 431 crore will have to be borne by Bangladesh, meaning the country will now have to bear two-thirds of the project cost. The project is expected to be complete by December 2021.
Salt output misses target, reliance on imports grows
Salt production in the country fell short of the target this year also in continuation of the trend of last few years leading to the country’s growing dependence on imports. The current season fetched a salt output of 1.49 million (14.93 lakh) tonnes, said the Cox’s Bazar office of the BSCIC, the prime mover of the country’s industrialisation process. The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) set a target to produce 1.8 million (18 lakh) tonnes this season against the demand for 1.62 million tonnes.
Shrimp sector launches e-traceability system
A proto-type of planned e-traceability system for shrimps was launched recently in Khulna. Md Raisul Alam Mondal, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MOFL), officially launched the system. Industry insiders said if Bangladesh succeeds in introducing and scaling up of the e-traceability system, the consumers’ acceptance of Bangladesh shrimp export will improve and the country will be able to brand its products more effectively in international market and fetch higher per unit value for the shrimp shipment.
Internet slows for undersea cable repair
People in some parts of Bangladesh are experiencing slow internet, because of the ongoing maintenance work in the Chennai portion of a primary submarine cable of the country. Bangladesh established its connection with the SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable through the Cox’s Bazar-Bangkok-Singapore route by changing its regular Cox’s Bazar-Chennai-Singapore route due to the maintenance work.
7 app-based transport services apply for BRTA registration
Although over two dozen app-based transport services are available in Dhaka, only seven companies have applied for registration with Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) within the one-month deadline which expired on May 18. “We are now verifying the documents they [companies] submitted to us and will complete the registration process as soon as possible,” Mahbub-E-Rabbani, spokesperson for BRTA, told The Daily Star yesterday. The seven companies that sought registration are: Pathao Limited, Shohoz Limited, Chaldal Limited, Akash Technology Limited, Golden Ring Limited, Obhai Limited and Uber Limited, said Faruque Ahmed, assistant director (engineering) of BRTA. The cabinet on January 15 approved “Ride-sharing Service Guidelines 2017” validating the operations of app-based transport services, which is becoming popular in Dhaka. As per the guideline, which came into action on March 8, any company which seeks the BRTA permission must have at least 100 vehicles in its fleet for operating in Dhaka, 50 for Chittagong, and 20 for other cities. A company will have to pay Tk 1 lakh and submit other relevant documents, including trade licence, to the BRTA to get “enlistment certificate”.
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)||$ 72.47||↑0.23||↑0.32%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 79.37||↑0.15||↑0.19%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,290.21||↓2.39||↓0.18%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 84.20|
|GBP 1||BDT 112.99|
|EUR 1||BDT 99.21|
|INR 1||BDT 1.24|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.