Disbursement of farm loans posted a 7.64-per cent growth in the first quarter of the current fiscal year of 2016-17 compared with that in the same period of the FY 2015-16.Banks disbursed Tk 3,443.85 crore in farm loans in the July-September period of FY17 against Tk 3,199.23 crore distributed in the same period of FY16, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data.BB officials said banks grappling with surplus liquidity amid dull business situation in the country showed an increased interest in disbursing agriculture credit in recent months. Five scheduled banks, however, disbursed no farm loan against their annual targets of loan disbursement to farmers in the first three month of this fiscal year. The banks are Bank Al-Falah, Commercial Bank of Ceylon, National Bank of Pakistan, State Bank of India and Farmers Bank. The BB will take punitive action against the banks which will not take required steps to meet their annual farm-loan disbursement targets for FY17, said the officials. The central bank recently blocked undisbursed farm loan amount of Tk 139.81 crore of four banks which failed to achieve their farm loan targets in FY16.
The private sector foreign loan increased by 12.5% during the last fiscal year compared to that of 73.0% in previous fiscal year, according to the Bangladesh Bank data. The total external debt to private sector rose by USD 980.0 million to USD 8.8 billion at the end of June 2016 compared to the rise of USD 3.3 billion to USD 7.8 billion during the same period of last year. A rapid fall in lending rate mostly helped trim down foreign loan borrowing, said Meghna Bank Managing Director Mohammed Nurul Amin. The former president of Association of Bankers Bangladesh said currently, the banking sector has enough liquidity to meet large loan demand. Moreover, banks are lending at between 8.0% and 9.0% which enables businessmen to minimize their business cost. As a result business people are no more interested to take loan from foreign source.
The local currency has depreciated slightly against the US dollar after maintaining stability for more than seven months in the inter-bank foreign exchange (forex) market, treasury officials said. The USD was quoted at BDT 78.41-BDT 78.44 in the forex market on Monday, against BDT 78.41 – BDT 78.4 of the previous working day. It was BDT 78.40-BDT 78.42 on Thursday. Earlier, on March 13, the USD was quoted at BDT 78.4 in the market. In November 30 last year, the greenback was quoted at maximum BDT 78.95 in the inter-bank market, another treasury official informed. A senior treasury official of a private commercial bank (PCB) told the FE that the demand for the greenback normally rises before the end of each calendar year for remitting profits of different mutational companies. On the other hand, an upward trend in imports in October has pushed up the demand for the greenback in the market, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE.
The country’s major macroeconomic indicators like per capita income, foreign currency reserve, import and export, foreign direct investment are showing a higher trend alongside exceeding the revenue collection target this fiscal year (2015-16) compared to the previous fiscal year (2014-15), reports UNB. This was revealed in the annual report of the Cabinet Division relating to the activities of the various Ministries and Divisions for the fiscal year (2015-16) submitted before the Cabinet meeting yesterday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting held at Bangladesh Secretariat. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said the per capita income has risen to $1466 in the FY16, up from $1316 in FY15. The per capital income, however, reached $1465 last fiscal year as per the final estimation of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). The Cabinet Division report showed that the GDP growth rose to 7.05 per cent last fiscal year, but the BBS final estimation showed that the GDP growth hit 7.11 per cent last fiscal year.
World Bank offers USD 100.0 million to fortify insurance, pension sectors
The World Bank has offered Bangladesh USD 100.0 million for strengthening the insurance sector and the private pension market so that the financial sector can give better service to the people. The Washington-based multilateral lender has recently sent a draft proposal to the finance ministry in this regard. There has been notable progress in financial sector development over the years increasing the depth of the financial sector from 12.0% in 1980 to 70.8% in June 2013, the draft proposal said. Progress has been made in many other fronts as well including the strengthening of banking sector regulation and supervision, financial access to households and recent efforts to fortify state-owned banks.
The cabinet has approved the draft of the “National Tax Card Policy 2010 (Amendment)” by increasing the number of the card holders as 125 instead of 20. The national tax card is an honour bestowed upon individuals and organisations who file for the largest amounts of taxable income. The holders are honoured with a crest and card that marks them out as the biggest source of tax revenue in the country. A regular cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the approval at the Secretariat on Monday afternoon. Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam briefed the reporters after the meeting at the secretariat.
The government is set to make it compulsory to package nine more agricultural products in jute bags to limit the use of environmentally harmful plastic bags and reduce dependence on the global market, a senior official said yesterday. Farmers and traders will soon have to pack chilli, turmeric, onion, ginger, garlic, pulse, coriander, potato and rice bran in jute sacks. At present, the use of jute sacks for packaging some of these produces is optional. The move comes as businesses have started packaging rice in jute bags in recent times in the face of heightened enforcement of the law, framed in 2010 to protect the interest of 4.0 million farmers and increase the use of environment-friendly fiber. The government has made the use of jute sacks mandatory for packaging six commodities — rice, wheat, maize, fertilizer and sugar — based on the law of compulsory packaging of goods.
BTRC plans to allow tech neutrality in spectrum use
The telecom regulator has initiated a move to review the 2G service guideline, in a bid to offer technology neutrality to the mobile phone operators in spectrum use in two bands, which will help them roll out 4G services soon. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, in a recent commission meeting, has taken the decision, following the government’s plan to allow technology neutrality for the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands. After getting technology neutrality in the 1800 and 900 bands, the operators can offer services through any technology (2G/3G/4G/LTE), using any of the frequencies they have, which will ensure better services for customers. The mobile phone operators have long been placing this demand, which will help them get technological benefits in both voice and data services. spectrum allocation in the country is service specific as the 900MHz and 1800MHz band spectrum is assigned for only 2G services and the 2100MHz band spectrum is for 3G services. The 2100MHz, however, is also allowed for 4G services, but it will require a separate service guideline, which is yet to be formulated. BTRC officials said if technology neutrality is allowed, the operators can then start 4G services with 1800MHz, which will be cost-effective for them.
UK wants to hear Bangladesh businesses to minimize Brexit concerns: British High commissioner
The UK government wants to hear the concerns of Bangladeshi businesses to minimize the uncertainty in bilateral trade following UK’s decision to quit the European Union, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Alison Blake said on Monday. ‘We recognize the need of smooth transition that will minimize the disruption and uncertainty for out bilateral trade relationship, business and workers,’ she said while speaking at a luncheon meeting organized by Foreign Investors’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry at Hotel Westins on the da. ‘I and my team have role in that, to listen to what our partners and friends in Bangladesh have to say, the concerns and questions you have, so that we understand what Bangladesh would like to see in its future trade relationship with the UK,’ she said. She said there were many questions related to the Brexit, the informal name for UK’s withdrawal from the EU, as Britain is the third largest market for Bangladesh by taking about 10.0% of Bangladesh’s RMG products. Alison said that UK is the second largest investor in Bangladesh by contributing 13.0% of total foreign direct investment last year. She said some USD 322.0 million have been invested this year in sectors like banking, textiles and food. In June, there was public vote in Britain on the United Kingdom’s European Union membership referendum where 51.0% voters voted for leaving the EU
Buyers cut ties with 150 Ready Made Garments units
The global fashion brands and retailers on Monday announced to cut business relations with five more readymade garment factories in Bangladesh taking the total number to 150 as the factories failed to make required progress in remediation for ensuring workplace safety. Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of EU brands and retailers, in its statement on Monday said that the five factories were inspected for fire, electrical and structural safety by the Accord in 2014 and the factory owner continued to fail to implement the remediation process. The factories are: Mithun Knitting and Dyeing, Intercare Ltd and Goldmart Apparels (Pvt) Ltd in Chittagong and Fair Cotton (pvt) Ltd and Authentic Knit Wear Ltd at Naranyanganj. With the five, the total number of RMG factories with which EU buyers cut business relations in different times on workplace safety grounds reached to 46. Another platform Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, formed by North American retailers, has so far cut business relations with 104 supplier factories due to failure to make required progress in remediation.
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