Bangladesh Bank asks Al-Arafah not to sell stake to foreign investors
Bangladesh Bank did not allow Al-Arafah Islami Bank to sell 10.0% of its shares to Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector or ICD, the private sector financing arm of IDB, signed a deal in March to invest about BDT 1.6 billion to acquire a 10.0% stake in Al-Arafah. Al-Arafah was supposed to issue around 110.0 million fresh shares worth BDT 10 each with a premium of BDT 4.0 to the ICD, in a bid to raise its capital. Accordingly, Al-Arafah applied to the central bank for regulatory approval. After analysing the situation, the central bank suggested that if Al-Arafah needs capital, it should raise it from the local market, not from any foreign organisation. Habibur Rahman, managing director of Al-Arafah Islami Bank, also confirmed the central bank’s stance. According to the deal signed between IDB and Al-Arafah, the Saudi-based development bank was allowed to nominate two directors in the bank’s board with veto power, which no other directors had.
Unused foreign funds hit new high of USD 23.0 billion
The amount of unused foreign aid in the pipeline reached a new high of USD 22.95 billion in March as the government is slow in utilizing the low-cost fund, which accounts for about 40.0% of the development budget. A finance ministry official said foreign aid commitments rose in recent years but the absorption capacity of ministries and divisions did not improve, leaving a huge stockpile. The current fiscal year started with USD 21.71 billion of foreign aid in the pipeline. Till March, development partners promised USD 3.81 billion, but USD 2.57 billion was disbursed during the period, leaving another USD 1.24 billion in the pipeline. It would be satisfactory if the government can utilize USD 4.0 billion in the current fiscal year, as spending 20.0% of the opening fund in a fiscal year is reasonable, an official of the Economic Relations Division (ERD) said. The government’s target was to disburse USD 4.36 billion in the current fiscal year, but the amount was slashed to USD 3.66 billion because of the failure of the ministries to use the funds. At a recent meeting of the National Economic Council, ministries demanded more local funds for annual development program and refunded foreign money, a planning ministry official said. In the current fiscal year’s revised ADP, the government’s allocation from own funds has remained the same, but for foreign funds the amount has been cut by about 16%, which will decrease further at the end of the fiscal year due to low implementation. Until fiscal 2009-10, the country received commitments worth USD 2.0 billion a year on average, but since fiscal 2011-12, it rose to USD 5.0 billion, according to the ERD.
BSEC fines directors of nine OTC companies
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday fined directors of nine companies BDT 100,000 each for violating various securities laws. The BSEC decision came at a regular meeting presided over by its chairman M Khairul Hossain. The nine companies failed to submit their financial reports within stipulated time which is a violation of Section 12 of the Securities and Exchange Commission Rules 1987, said a BSEC press release issued on the day. The companies are listed in over the counter market. The nine companies are Meghna Shrimp Culture Ltd, Tulip Dairy and Food Products Ltd, ChicTex Limited, Bangladesh Electricity Meter Company Limited, Raspit Data Management and Telecommunication Ltd, Rose Haven Ball Pen Industries, Raspit Inc, Mita Textiles and Metalex Corporation Limited. The BSEC press release said that all directors of the nine companies, except nominated and independent directors, have to pay BDT one lakh in fine each for their failure to submit the financial reports in time. In the same meeting, the BSEC allowed 6th ICB Mutual Fund to turn into open-ended mutual firm from existing close-end status. The regulator also approved the draft prospectus of UFS Padma Life Islamic Unit Fund. The total size of the fund will be BDT 500.0 million where BDT 50.0 million is sponsor amount and rest of the money will be collected by selling units to the investors.
Draft ETF norms get BSEC nod
Market regulator Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) yesterday came out with draft guidelines on ETFs (exchange traded funds) to attract more investment in the capital market. According to officials, the ETFs would provide investors with more strategic options to hedge risk and enrich their investment portfolio. ETF is an open-ended investment funds listed and traded on a stock exchange. It may track an index, a commodity or a sector. The index or unit may be composed of ordinary stocks, bonds, commodities, derivatives or a combination of real assets. An ETF can be a domestic or offshore product. Under the draft norms, the regulator proposed that the initial fund size under the ETF will be at least BDT 500.0 million. However, the fund size will be allowed to change through creation and redemption by the authorized participants like stock dealer or broker. The fund will be formed through private placement from eligible investors. If the fund formation remains incomplete even after the private placement, general investors will be allowed to participate for completing fund formation but subject to the regulatory approval. The regulator will seek public comments on draft ETF Regulations before giving it final shape. Officials said the introduction of an ETF market would offer investors an alternative option to invest in a pool of securities in a formal securities exchange environment and in addition, ETFs offer a mechanism for reducing exposure risk to significant price fluctuations. Earlier in 2014, Dhaka Stock Exchange proposed to allow the bourse to launch ETFs. Following the proposal, the regulator formed a three-member committee to prepare the draft ETF norms. In other decisions, the BSEC has formed a body to streamline guidelines on corporate governance and another body was formed to monitor the CDBL (Central Depository of Bangladesh Limited) activities.
ETFs can issue only stock dividend
Exchange traded funds will be allowed to issue only stock dividend in the form of reinvestment to their unit holders, according to the draft ETF rules. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday finalised the draft rules. The draft rules stipulate that no ETF managing asset management companies would be allowed to issue any cash dividend to their unit holders. An ETF is a marketable security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund. Unlike mutual funds, it trades like a stock on an exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold. As per the draft rules, the amount of retained earnings equivalent to the dividend declaration by an ETF have to be reinvested in the fund’s basket of securities. Units of an ETF will be traded around its net asset value per unit as authorized participants, who will turn into market makers for the fund, always remain active on the trading floor to keep prices of the units at a certain level, a BSEC official said. For formation of an ETF, sponsor-directors and asset management company concerned will have to make at least 10.0% and 3.0% respectably of the initial investment of the targeted size in the form of stocks not in cash before applying to the commission, the draft rules said. The fund size will be minimum BDT 500.0 million. Before going for an initial public offering, 50.0% of the targeted fund size has to be collected from institutional investors though private placement method, but not in cash form. On the other hand, general investors will apply for the IPO of the fund through authorized participants by giving their stocks based on the nature of the ETF. In the case of IPO subscription by general investors with cash, authorized participants will convert the cash into scrips based on the nature of the fund. Investment of the sponsor-directors in the fund will remain locked-in for a period of three years from the date of its enlistment with the stock exchanges, while sponsors will have to maintain at least 3.0% holdings constantly even after three years of its enlistment. For being the AMC of an ETF, the entity will have to complete successful management of at least one fund for five year. The ETF management fee for an AMC has been set at 0.75% of the fund size, halving the rate from 1.40%. The draft on the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (Exchange Traded Fund) Rules, 2016 will be published for stakeholders’ opinion and will be published as gazette notification within June this year.
Government set to backtrack on new VAT, SD Act implementation
The government is likely to backtrack on its move to implement the new VAT and Supplementary Duty (SD) Act in the upcoming fiscal year following agitation of businesses and less preparedness of both taxmen and taxpayers. The National Board of Revenue (NBR) is set to continue the existing VAT law framed in 1991 for the FY 2016-17 by amending and updating a few provisions of the law. Sources said the decision to stay the existing VAT law has been taken in line with instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Finance Minister AMA Muhith is likely to announce the decision on continuation of the existing VAT law in parliament in his budget speech on June 2. However, the government is likely to incorporate some of the provisions of the new VAT and SD Act, 2012 in the existing law to upgrade it and remove its faulty clauses, official sources said. They said the new law may create stiff competitive market for local industries as protection in the form of Supplementary Duty (SD) will be withdrawn from domestic industries. As per conditions of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), the government agreed to enforce the new VAT law from FY2017. The government is facing agitation from businesses regarding implementation of the new VAT law as it will introduce a uniform rate of VAT at 15.0% for all businesses, expect small ones. The committee’s recommendations include raising of VAT-free turnover ceiling to BDT 3.6 million, fixing of VAT rate at 3.0% for turnover up to BDT 15.0 million, setting of VAT at 4.0% for traders who are unable to obtain rebate and at 2.0% for those who sell products at fixed rates.
Bangladesh could lose USD 7.18 billion in GDP if global food prices double: United Nation
Bangladesh could lose USD 7.18 billion in gross domestic product if global food prices double in future, according to a United Nations Environment Programme-Global Footprint Network report. The report titled ‘ERISC Phase II : How food prices link environmental constraints to sovereign credit risk’ models the impact of a global food price shock on 110 countries to assess which countries face the greatest economic risk from higher and more volatile food prices. According to the report, if global food prices double, China could lose USD 161.0 billion in GDP and India could lose USD 49.0 billion while Bangladesh could lose 3.5% of its annual GDP. In terms of the highest age loss to GDP, the five countries that will be worst hit if food commodity prices double are all in Africa — Benin, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Ghana. But China will see the most amount of money wiped from its GDP — USD 161.0 billion, equivalent to the total GDP of New Zealand, the report said. According to the report, In 23 countries, a doubling in food commodity prices leads to an absolute increase in the consumer price index of more than 10.0 % points. It said that many of the countries including Morocco, Bangladesh, Egypt and Indonesia experienced social unrest during the food price crisis of 2007-08. Countries such as Egypt, Morocco, and the Philippines that combine high food commodity imports and high household spending on these commodities see the worst effects in terms of reduction in absolute GDP, worsening of current account balances, and higher inflation. A number of large emerging market countries, including China, Indonesia and Turkey, are also strongly impacted as they have high household spending levels on food commodities and moderate net imports of these commodities. Countries expected to experience an increase in GDP include South American cash crop exporters such as Paraguay and Uruguay and agricultural powerhouses such as Brazil, Australia, Canada and the United States.
Government plans to generate 600 MW wind power by 2021
The government has planned to generate 600 MW of power from wind energy by 2021 through six state-owned companies in the power sector, reports UNB. The six entities are Power Development Board (PDB), Ashuganj Power Company Ltd (APCL), Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh (ECGB), Rural Power Company Ltd (RPCL) and Coal Power Generation Ltd (CPGC). Each of the companies will have to take initiatives to generate 100 MW wind power as part of their total power generation strategy, said Siddique Zobair, additional secretary at the Power Division and member of newly created Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda). According to official sources, most of these companies are yet to take preparations to implement their projects for wind power generation. So far, the government signed a deal with a US-Danish joint venture company to generate 60 MW of electricity from wind, which is going to be the first wind turbine power plant to be set up in Cox’s Bazar by 2017.
Foreign aid disbursement rises in April
The foreign aid disbursement to Bangladesh has picked up in April last after maintaining a lower trend over three quarters as key donors have increased their aid release, officials said Thursday. Official data has showed that the aid commitment has also swelled by 57.0% during the July-April period of the current fiscal year (FY) 2015-16. Economic Relations Division (ERD) data showed that Bangladesh received USD 2.68 billion worth of concessional assistance during the July-April period this fiscal, 12.45% higher than that of the last FY 2015. In the same period of last FY, development partners provided USD 2.38 billion worth of assistance. Meanwhile, development partners’ aid commitment has increased to USD 4.31 billion in the July-April period of the current FY 2016 compared to USD 2.75 billion in the corresponding period last fiscal. According to the ERD statistics, out of the USD 2.68 billion worth of concessional aid, the government received USD 2.25 billion in loans and USD 422.28 million in grants during the July-April period of FY2016. Besides, out of the total USD 4.31 billion aid commitment, development partners confirmed USD 3.85 billion worth of loans and USD 459.59 million grants during the same period.
Power Division seeks BDT 50.0 billion more in next ADP
The Power Division has sought to pump up the budgetary target in the next fiscal year by BDT 50.0 billion for implementation of its different development projects successfully, officials said. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid has recently sent a letter to the finance minister in this regard. The government has fixed an allocation of over BDT 125.4 billion to the ADP of the power division for the next FY. Of the amount, over BDT 62.44 billion has been allocated from the government’s own fund and the rest BDT 62.96 billion from external development aid money, according to the letter. Some BDT 50.0 billion will be required for implementation of new and approved projects in the ADP of the next fiscal year. The Power Division official said it will be very difficult to carry out the planned power sector works in the FY 2017 if the division is not provided with the funds for the ADP. Earlier, the PC has hinted that the Power Division is likely to get lesser development funds in the next FY. In the current FY 2015-16, the Power Division received BDT 154.8 billion in the revised ADP for implementing its projects including generation, transmission and distribution lines.
USD 50.0 billion RMG export by 2021 to face challenges: BGMEA
Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) export worth USD 50.0 billion by 2021 is likely to face challenges due to gas and electricity crises, high rate of interest on bank loans, devaluation of US Dollar against Bangladesh Taka and fall of RMG prices in the world market. Under such circumstances it is imperative for the government to reduce bank interest rate, keep the export-oriented services sectors VAT (value added tax) -free and reduce the tax-at-source for the sector to 0.30% from 0.60%, BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) leaders said. They said the corporate tax should also be fixed at 10.0% for the next five years from the fiscal budget of 2016-17. First vice president of the BGMEA Moin Uddin Ahmed Mintu said the Prime Minister’s vision is to turn the country into a middle-income one by 2021 and one of the major imperatives of that is to achieve the target of export earning from the RMG sector at USD 50.0 billion by that time. With an eye on the upcoming fiscal budget he told the FE that the BGMEA has already submitted its budget proposal to the authorities concerned as the government is going to place the national fiscal budget in Parliament on June 2 next. In the budget proposal the BGMEA has also demanded exemption of 5.0% duty on import of fire-resistant door, sprinkler system and equipment and emergency light with exit sign and double heads – the three items important for safety of the workers. The proposal stated that those items were imported duty-free according to the SRO (statutory regulatory order) no 145 dated 12 January 2014. But the government issued the SRO no 148 on June 4, 2015 imposing a 5.0% import duty on those items.
Government sugar mills in deep financial crisis
The state-run sugar mills are still in the midst of severe financial crisis as there are virtually no buyers of sugar produced by them, sources said. Even a hike in duty and tariff value of imported sugar, levied at the insistence of the Ministry of Industries, according to sources, could not make the produce of the public sugar mills competitive. In August last year, the government raised the duty on per tonne of crude sugar from BDT 2,000 to BDT 7,000 when there was a slump in international sugar prices. In December same year, the government hiked tariff value of imported sugar by USD 100 per tonne and levied 15 per cent VAT on both refined and crude sugar. The 15 mills under BSFIC incurred an aggregate loss of about BDT 5.22 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2014-15, BDT 5.64 billion in FY 2013-14, BDT 3.10 billion in FY 2012-13 and BDT 2.90 billion in FY 2011-12. The mills under the BSFIC produce sugar from sugarcane supplied by its contract growers. About 67 per cent out of the total operational expenditures of the state-owned sugar mills goes to the production of sugar. Some 20-24 per cent is spent on paying bank interest and charges. The corporation is yet to implement the National Pay Scale-2015 for the employees of the public sector sugar mills due to financial crisis.
MNCs witness sharp fall in profit growth
The growth of net profits of foreign multinational and joint venture companies listed with the country’s capital market slowed down to 1.46% in 2015 from 22.63% in the year 2014 due to political turmoil. According to Dhaka Stock Exchange data, consolidated net profit growth of 16 foreign multinational and joint venture companies was 1.46% or BDT 557.7 million in 2015, whereas their consolidated net profit growth was 22.63% or BDT 7.0 billion in 2014. Consolidated net profit of the entities was BDT 38.7 billion, BDT 38.1 billion and BDT 31.1 billion respectively during the years 2015, 2014 and 2013. Despite having huge amount of idle money in the banking sector, a prolonged stagnancy in the industrial growth impacted negatively over the employment generation and consumption as well, said Rupali, also the managing director of Berger Paints Bangladesh, a multinational company. Foreign ventures as well as local businesses are yet straggling to reach to their desired target on the same ground, she said. Grameenphone, British American Tobacco Bangladesh, Dutch-Bangla Bank, Lafarge Surma Cement, Berger Paints Bangladesh, Heidelberg Cement Bd, Marico Bangladesh, Bata Shoe, Glaxo SmithKline, Linde Bangladesh, LankaBangla Finance, Singer Bangladesh, Reckitt Benckiser (Bd.), Fu Wang Food, Fu-Wang Ceramic and Sinobangla Industries are the multinational and joint venture companies listed with the Dhaka Stock Exchange, the country’s premier bourse. Of the MNCs, six companies made less profit in 2015 compared with that in the same period of the previous year. Lafarge Surma Cement’s profit fell by 18.8% to BDT 2.3 billion against that of BDT 2.8 billion in the previous year.
DSE, CSE launch software on book building
Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) formally launched Thursday a software on book building which was jointly developed by both the bourses to conduct the bidding of share prices under book building method, officials said. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) provided necessary instructions and support in developing the software in accordance with the revised Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (Public Issue) Rules, 2015, sources said. BSEC Commissioner Dr Swapan Kumar Bala attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest, while Chairman of the CSE Muhammad Abdul Mazid was the special guest. He said the newly-developed software will help the entrepreneurs in getting ‘accurate’ price of shares and the investors and the stock market will be benefitted from this. In his address, CSE Chairman Mr Mazid said the successful development of the software has proved that the country has manpower to develop innovative software.
Cyber security data leak: BSEC forms body to monitor CDBL function
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a move to tighten its grip over the function of Central Depository Bangladesh Limited against the backdrop of rising tension over the country’s cyber security issue and to prevent data leakage. The BSEC on Thursday at a meeting formed a five-member body headed by its director Rajib Ahmed to monitor CDBL’s functions. BSEC directors Abul Kalam and Sheikh Mahbub Ur Rahman, deputy director Mohammad Golam Kibria and assistant director Kazi Md Al –Islam were other members of the committee. A brokerage house senior official recently verbally alleged to the capital market regulator that they noticed leakage of share transaction data to outsiders. Following the BSEC instruction, CDBL on March 28 asked depository participants brokerage houses and issuer companies which have access to the CDBL systems to avoid internet connections at any time for preventing any sort of virus attack in the system. According to CDBL data, 475 depository participants and CDBL enlisted companies have access to its system through CDBL terminals installed with VeDAS application on their computers. CDBL for the last instance on March 12, 2015, faced technical glitch as it failed to settle share transactions held at Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges in time. Earlier on July 31, 2012, Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges were forced to suspend trading because of a CDBL glitch. Following the technical glitch, the market regulator asked CDBL to take proper measures to avoid such glitch. A BSEC official said that the commission issued a letter on Tuesday asking the CDBL to take all possible measures for ensuring cyber security of the organization.
Cabinet purchase body to approve nine projects involving BDT 47.25 billion
The cabinet committee on public purchase is set to approve next month a total of nine projects involving over BDT 47.25 billion that include construction of dual gauge double rail and conversion of the existing rail line into dual gauge between Akhaura and Laksam at a cost of over BDT 39.36 billion, officials said. It will also give its nod to the Kazal-Tetulia river route dredging for aiding the ongoing infrastructure development work at Payra Port at a cost of over BDT 2.33 billion, a variation proposal for feasibility study and detailed design for regional cooperation and integration project (RCIP) sinvolving over BDT 1.82 billion and appointment of Foley Hoag, LLP of the USA for consultancy on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) of Jute Genome Project at a cost of over BDT 643.0 million. A group of scientists, led by late Bangladeshi scientist Dr Maksudul Alam, invented the genome of Tosha jute in 2010 and of the local variety of jute in 2013 and ‘Macrophomina Phaseoline,’ a harmful bacterium of jute and over 500 crops.
GPH Ispat secures USD 154.0 million in biggest syndicated loan
Chittagong-based steelmaker GPH Ispat secured USD 154.0 million or about BDT 12.0 billion from a dozen financial institutions, which will be the largest syndicated loan in Bangladesh led by United Commercial Bank. In 2012, Grameenphone borrowed BDT 8.5 billion from 15 banks and financial institutions, which was the biggest such syndicated loan at the time. GPH Ispat will use the funds to expand its production: its annual production capacity of MS billets will rise to 1.0 million tonnes from 168,000 tonnes now, which will put the company on par with top market players — BSRM and AKS. GPH Ispat’s production of MS rods and steel beams, angles, channels and flat bars will increase by 640,000 tonnes to 760,000 tonnes a year. “We expect to start commercial production from the extended project by mid-2018,” said Mohammed Jahangir Alam, managing director of GPH Ispat, a listed steelmaker with a market value of BDT 8.7 billion. The net profit of GPH Ispat, which was listed on the stock exchanges in 2012, rose 4.91% year-on-year to BDT 292.5 million in 2015, according to Dhaka Stock Exchange data. Each share of the company traded between BDT 28.0 and BDT 28.9, before closing at BDT 28.0 on the premier bourse yesterday. Sponsors hold a 56.03% stake in GPH Ispat, institutions 14.79% and general investors the remaining 29.18%.
RMG manufacturing begins to turn sustainable
Bangladesh’s apparel manufacturers have entered into sustainable manufacturing practices by establishing eco-friendly factories and introducing energy-efficient latest technologies to give a cushion against carbon emission. The issue of sustainable manufacturing came under the spotlight as global consumers are becoming more and more cautious on environment while the global retailers are looking for suppliers of apparel produced in eco-friendly factories. Sustainable manufacturing refers to the creation of manufactured products through economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources. Since 2011, a total of 28 Bangladeshi RMG factories have got certification from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) as green building. Of them, six got certification on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum, 13 in Gold, 5 in silver and 4 certified as green. Besides, there are 118 RMG units, which applied for the green certification in different categories. “Using laser technology instead of traditional ones in making a pair of jeans, you can reduce the use of water by 30%-40% while chemicals by 20%-30%,” Mustafiz Uddin, managing director of Denim Expert Limited, told the Dhaka Tribune. Mustafiz labelled the laser technology as very precise and more productive when the same number of workers are working at the same time. It also poses a little health hazard since a less amount of chemicals are used in the process, he added. Bangladesh RMG manufacturers introduced Clutch Motor replacing Servo Motor and LED lights instead of T-8 lights only to give a cushion to the earth.
Aavishkaar Frontier Fund invests USD 2.0 million in Bangladesh
Aavishkaar, one of the world’s leading impact investors, makes its inroads in Bangladesh with an investment in CloudWell Limited. Aavishkaar Frontier Fund, which focuses on South & Southeast Asia is investing USD 2.0 million in CloudWell, a payment systems company that provides agent-based last mile payment solutions to a host of service providers such as telecom operators, mobile financial services players and other billersunder the brand name ‘PayWell’. This investment will enable acceleration of CloudWell’s growth and scale up of its nationwide network. Founded in November 2012, PayWell is an organised retail approach by CloudWell, which leverages technology and aims to provide convenient payment solutions to major business-to-consumer (B2C) organizations in the utility, telecom, financial services, transport,retail and e-commerce sectors in Bangladesh.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$49.33||(0.15)||(0.30%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$49.32||(0.27)||(0.54%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,873.22||+44.93||+0.25%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.33*|
|GBP 1||BDT 114.53*|
|EUR 1||BDT 87.06*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.