BB approves changes in SIBL top brass hurriedly
Bangladesh Bank has hurriedly approved the newly elected board members and managing director of Social Islami Bank following Chittagong-based S Alam Group’s move to tighten its grip on the private commercial bank. The BB on Monday evening approved the appointment of new chairman Anwarul Azim Arif, executive committee chairman Belal Ahmed and managing director Quazi Osman Ali after they were elected and appointed to the posts on Monday afternoon at a meeting of SIBL, officials of the central bank said. They all have links with S Alam Group which recently bought around 40 per cent share of the bank through various companies owned by the Group or family-associated companies. With the SIBL ‘takeover’ and the recent tightening its grip on Islami Bank Bangladesh, S Alam Group or people having links with it now hold control over at least seven banks including First Security Islami Bank, Al-Arafah Islami Bank, Union Bank, Bangladesh Commerce Bank and NRB Global Bank. Economists said that taking control of so many banks by a single business group would result in family-controlled loan disbursement and hider corporate governance in the banks. Senior officials at different branches of SIBL, however, expressed their deep concern about the dramatic changes in the bank’s board and management.
Does Bangladesh need more banks?
The government is planning to increase the number of banks in Bangladesh at a time when the nine most recently-launched institutions are already unsettling the market over their poor performances. Finance Minister AMA Muhith has personally written to Bangladesh Bank for the approval of two new institutions. Other government agencies and senior officials have also put forward their proposals for new banks to the central bank. “There is nothing to be worried about with launching new banks,” the finance minister said at a recent event. “Many people in the country are still unbanked. We have also taken steps to update the merger laws so that the banks which will not be able to compete in the market can be merged.” Although there are 57 active commercial banks in the country, the government believes more banks can help the economy. However, former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Salehuddin Ahmed was among the economists and bankers to oppose the finance minister’s views in no uncertain terms.
NBR requests BB to freeze Premier Bank’s account
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) Tuesday requested the Bangladesh Bank (BB) to freeze the current account of Premier Bank Limited as a strategy to realize taxes worth BDT 201.0 million that the private commercial bank allegedly evaded, officials said. The Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) of the Value Added Tax (VAT) wing wrote a letter to the central bank governor, Fazle Kabir, requesting him to freeze the account for three working days. According to officials, the account is set to be frozen from today for next three working days. A senior official of the VAT wing said the unit detected the unpaid tax revenue that was realized at source from clients and against other banking services. It identified unpaid VAT worth BDT 216.2 million deducted at source and BDT 13.2 million deducted from banking services.
Bangladesh Bank appoints new executive director
The Bangladesh Bank has appointed a new executive director in its Barisal office, according to a circular issued on Tuesday. SM Rabiul Hassan, the new executive editor, was previously working as general manager in the central bank’s Department Off-Site Supervision. The circular, issued by the central bank’s Human Resources Department 1, said Rabiul had been promoted to the position of executive director and transferred to the bank’s Barisal office. The incumbent executive director in Barisal office, Md Sohrawardy, has been transferred to the headquarters in Dhaka, it further added. Rabiul joined the central bank in 1988. In his career in the Bangladesh Bank, he has worked in the Governor’s Secretariat, Department of Banking Inspection, Department of Banking Regulation and Policy, Human Resources Department and the central bank’s Bogra and Sylhet offices.
BSEC approves rights offer of LankaBangla, prospectus of a new unit fund
The securities regulator has approved the rights offer of LankaBangla Finance and the draft prospectus of HFAML Unit Fund. As per another BSEC approval, Paramount Textile will raise capital worth BDT 500.0 million through non-convertible zero coupon bond. The LankaBangla Finance will issue one rights share against two existing shares at a price of BDT 10. The company will raise a capital worth above BDT 1.59 billion through the rights offer to comply with the condition of BASEL-III. As per the rights share offer document, the company’s earnings per share (EPS) and net asset value (NAV) per share are BDT 2.87 and BDT 24.16 respectively for the year ended on December 31, 2016. AFC Capital is working as manager to the rights issue of LankaBangla Finance. The BSEC Tuesday also approved the draft prospectus of HFAML Unit Fund with an initial size of BDT 500 million. The sponsors of the fund will contribute BDT 50.0 million, while remaining BDT 450 million will be collected from public. The face value of the units of the fund will be BDT 10.0 each. The units of the fund will be sold to investors under a systematic investment plan.
Bhola gas real
The new gas in Bhola turns out to be real. Country’s energy explorer Bapex has completed two pending geological tests to confirm existence of high-pressured extractable natural gas, only 3km away from Shahbazpur field. “The gas is burning,” an excited Meherul Hasan, the project director and a DGM of Bapex, told The Daily Star. Early in the morning today, the Bapex conducted the perforation test, a method to determine the flow pressure of the gas field, which is believed to be an extension of Shahbazpur field. The high gas pressure also confirmed a rich reserve, which was disclosed prematurely by the government last week. Bapex finished another crucial test direct steam method to determine the extractable reserve two days back.
Exports of non-RMG items buoyant
Shipments of non-apparel items rose 7.5% year-on-year to USD 1.5 billion in the first quarter of the fiscal year as the country is diversifying its export basket to cut reliance on garments. Tea, frozen fish, jute and jute goods, leather and leather goods, furniture, ceramics, shrimps, vegetables, bicycles and terry towel performed better in the export markets during the quarter from a year earlier. The garment sector accounts for more than 80.0% of national exports and its dominance continued in the first quarter as well, with apparel shipment fetching USD 7.1 billion with 7.17% year-on-year growth. The target for leather and leather goods for fiscal 2017-18 has been fixed at USD 1.38 billion. In the July-September period, leather and leather goods fetched USD 324.6 million, up 1.74% from a year earlier, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. Jute and jute goods export increased 15.5% year-on-year to USD 236.12 million.
Bangladesh export earnings may slow down
Growth of earnings from the merchandise export in Bangladesh may slow down in the next year, according to the latest forecast of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). ESCAP released its latest version of The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) on Monday which reveals the forecast. It showed that value of export may post 4.6 per cent growth in next year which is also estimated to grow by 5.2 per cent in the current year (2017). The report, however, mentioned that volume of export growth would increase to 3.5 per cent in the next year from 1.3 per cent estimated in 2017. ESCAP projected that the price of the country’s export would drop significantly in the next year. It projected only 1.1 per cent growth in price in the next year against the estimated 3.9 per cent growth in 2017. The report mentioned that in 2017, exports by the Asia-Pacific region are expected to grow by 4.5 per cent in volume, and imports may reach nearly 8.0 per cent. ESCAP also anticipated that export volume of the Asia-Pacific region in 2018 would grow modestly at 3.5 per cent while the import volume will increase by less than 3.0 per cent.
Maiden railway carriage plant in the making
Bangladesh’s maiden railway carriage-production plant is going to be established at Syedpur hub to meet a growing demand of the popular mass transport, now up for expansion. Officials said Monday the state-owned Bangladesh Railway (BR) will first conduct a feasibility study on the carriage-manufacturing workshop before starting construction of the import-substitution unit, which holds the potential of saving the country billions of dollars that go for import financing. “We have taken a Tk 7.54 billion project to set up the plant at Syedpur. We have sought approval for the project from the Planning Commission (PC). After getting endorsement, we will begin the building work,” said a senior BR official. He said Bangladesh will have to import hundreds of railway-carriage units over the next one decade to meet local demand due to the shortage of those passenger coaches, as the government has undertaken and plans mega-projects for expansion and uplift of the railway services. Besides, the BR has invested billions of US dollars over the last few years to upgrade the railway tracks, supporting facilities and its overall services.
The popularity of ride-hailing apps Uber and Pathao that brought in convenience in commuting within Dhaka is tempting other local and international players into the field and compelling the existing ones to expand their services. For instance, a new player Ezzyr is set to hit the Dhaka roads this month, said Kamrul Hassan Imon, a director of Innovadeus Pvt Ltd, the app’s parent company. On average, Uber, Pathao and Bahon altogether log in 10,000 rides a day, according to market sources. But a top official of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority thinks the actual number is higher. Every ride costs about Tk 150 to Tk 200 on average and if there are about 2,000 rides a day, the market size is quite huge, Imon said. No doubt Uber and Pathao have changed the city dwellers’ riding habit and we are targeting to grab a fair share of this segment. There is enormous potential for growth,” he added. By way of the Ezzyr app, which is now in the testing phase, one can hail a car, bike or ambulance. It is now available on the Google Play Store and will soon be on Apple’s App Store. Meanwhile, following the huge response it got for the bike-hailing service it has been running in Dhaka since July last year, Pathao is set to introduce the option of cars from today.
US-Bangla adds more flights on int’l, local routes
US-Bangla Airlines has increased the number of flights on its three international and two domestic routes, said the private airline in a statement. The airline will operate seven flights weekly on Dhaka-Singapore route, 10 flights on Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route and six flights on Chittagong-Kolkata route. Currently, US-Bangla Airlines operates four flights weekly on Dhaka-Singapore route, seven flights on Dhaka-Kuala Lumpur route and two flights on Chittagong-Kolkata route. At home, it will operate four flights daily on Dhaka-Jessore route from three now and six flights on Dhaka-Rajshahi route from four now. US-Bangla has increased the number of flights in response to stronger customer demand, according to the statement.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||6,019.59||↑ 23.34||↑ 0.39%|
|DJIA||23,377.24||↑ 28.5||↑ 0.12%|
|FTSE100||7,493.08||↑ 5.27||↑ 0.07%|
|Nikkei 225||22,324.64||↑ 313.03||↑ 1.42%|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$54.62||↑ 0.24||↑ 0.44%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$61.20||↑ 0.26||↑ 0.43%|
|Gold Spot*||1,270.10||↓ 1.35||↓ 0.11%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 82.99|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.17|
|EUR 1||BDT 96.53|
|INR 1||BDT 1.28|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.