July-Sept overall imports up 8.0pc
The country’s overall imports grew by more than 8.0 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year (FY), 2018-19, following a 78.62 per cent increase in fuel oil import. The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to US$ 12.83 billion during the July-September period of FY 19. It was $11.83 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s statistics. But opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, increased by only 0.35 per cent to $14.75 billion in Q1 of FY 19 from $14.70 billion in the corresponding period of FY 18. Import of petroleum products rose to $1.07 billion in the first three months of FY 19 from $597.77 million in the same period of the previous fiscal. Currently, around 50 power plants out of the total 122 across the country are running with fuel oil. On the other hand, import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production, dropped by 3.39 per cent to $1.24 billion from $1.29 billion, the BB data showed. Import of intermediate goods, like – coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels etc, increased by 21.31 per cent to $1.09 billion in Q1 from $899.16 million. Industrial raw material import also rose by 11.44 per cent to $4.70 billion during the period under review from $4.21 billion in the same period of FY 18. Import of food grains, particularly of rice and wheat, dropped by 45.65 per cent to $303.56 million from $558.57 million. Import of consumer goods decreased by 28.16 per cent to $1.24 billion during the period under review from $1.72 billion, the BB data showed.
$200m WB financing for Rohingya, forest projects
The World Bank (WB) will provide a total of US$200 million for two projects including improvement of forest cover in Bangladesh’s coastal, hill and central districts, including Cox’s Bazar. Of them, under the $175 million Sustainable Forests & Livelihoods Project trees will be planted on about 79,000 hectares of forest as part of a collaborative forest management system. The proportion of land under forests is only 11 per cent in Bangladesh which is significantly lower than the Asian average of 26 per cent. Through increasing the forest cover, the project will help the country become more climate-resilient. It will also help about 40,000 poor, local households earn more money through alternative income generation activities, according to the WB release. The sudden influx of over 725,000 Rohingya to Cox’s Bazar caused the loss of nearly 13,000 hectares of forest. The project would restore trees on 19,925 hectares of land in Cox’s Bazar. The project extension will provide training to more than 17,000 local adolescents and help them with job placement. Since January 2018, the project has provided training, employment and enterprise development support to about 8,000 local adolescents who have dropped out from school. Of the $25 million financing to the ROSC II project, the World Bank will provide $21 million as a grant through the IDA18 Regional Sub-window for Refugees and Host Communities and the government of Canada will provide a $4.0 million grant.
New body to set tax incidence in gold trade
The government on Monday formed a five-member committee to determine tax incidences in the domestic gold trade. The development came a month after devising the country’s first-ever gold policy. A tax incidence is related to the price elasticity of supply and demand, making a division of a tax burden between buyers and sellers. It has been asked to submit a report in the next 15 days with possible rates of customs duty, tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) in gold import and export. The committee will recommend the rates of VAT, income tax and customs duty to be realised at ports. On October 03, the cabinet committee approved the gold policy to ease import and export of gold and ornaments. The country’s annual demand for gold, according to commerce ministry officials, is between 20 and 40 tonnes. Nearly 80 per cent of the demand is met by smuggled gold while the rest by recycled one.
Break the glass ceiling for women in business: Gowher Rizvi
Dr Gowher Rizvi, the international affairs advisor to the Prime Minister, has called for breaking the glass ceiling that prevents women from reaching high positions in society. There are two ways to break the glass ceiling. One way is through ensuring greater participation of women in business activities and the other is through allowing them to enter mainstream politics. The Chittagong Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CWCCI) in association with the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), SME Foundation and Jute Diversification Promotion Centre has organised the month-long expo. It is really a matter of pride for us. But we don’t want to stop here. You must move forward higher and higher, because women in Bangladesh account for 51 per cent of the total population. The percentage of women entrepreneurs in the country is only 10. Advisor Gowher Rizvi also distributed prizes among the award winners of the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC).
WASA to implement Tk 40.62b project in Rajshahi city
The Rajshahi Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (RWASA) is going to implement a mega project for providing treated water to people of the city and its outskirts. The project titled ‘Rajshahi WASA Surface Water Treatment Plant’ will be implemented with an estimated cost of Tk 40.62 billion. Upon its successful implementation by July 2022, people of the city and Nowhata and Katakhali municipalities will be brought under the coverage network of safe drinking water supply.
Two-third gen insurance cos post rise in quarter-3 EPS
The earnings of most of the listed general insurance companies rose in the nine months to September last compared to that of the corresponding period last year. According to the un-audited financial statements for the January-September period, 2018, the earnings per share (EPS) of 23 general insurance out of 35 increased, according to statistics from the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE). Among the general insurance companies, EPS of Pragati Insurance rose 63 per cent in January-September period of 2018. The company’s EPS stood at Tk 2.10 for January-September, 2018 as against Tk 1.29 in the same period a year ago. The EPS of Green Delta Insurance also rose 39 per cent to Tk 2.17 for January-September period of 2018 as against Tk 1.56 for the same period of the previous year. Bangladesh National Insurance’s EPS also increased 29 per cent to Tk 1.66 for January-September, 2018 which was Tk 1.29 in the same period of the previous year. The EPS of Pioneer Insurance rose 28 per cent to Tk 2.83 for January-September period of 2018 against Tk 2.21 in the January-September period of 2017. Reliance Insurance’s EPS also rose 27 per cent to Tk 3.49 for January-September, 2018 which was Tk 2.75 in the same period of the previous year.
Jhenidah Savings Bureau, Postal Dept sell Tk 15.38b savings tools in three months
Jhenidah Savings Bureau and Postal Department sold savings certificates worth Tk 15.38 billion in three months-July August, September, against their target of Tk 26.95 billion in FY 2018-19. Jhenidah Savings Bureau sold savings certificates of Tk 307.10 million while they had a yearly target of Tk 850 million. In the last fical year 2017-18, the total sales of savings certificate of the bureau stood at Tk 1.07 billion against their total target of Tk 650 million. Meanwhile, the postal department of the district was assigned to sell savings certificate worth Tk 26.10 billion in the ongoing FY 2018-19 whereas they already sold certificate worth Tk 12.30 billion in three months (July-September). In case of the Bureau, the investment in family savings stood at the top position amounting to Tk 132.20 million. Quarterly profit based savings certificate was sold worth Tk 98.40 million. The office sold pensioner savings certificates worth Tk 45.60 million and Tk 0.31 million five-year term Bangladesh savings certificates. Pensioner savings certificate was sold worth Tk 54.05 million in place of the yearly target of Tk 200 million. And finally, Bangladesh savings certificate sale amounted to Tk. 0.2 million against its target of Tk 10 million.
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