Dollar continues to get dearer
The US dollar appreciated heavily against the taka over the last seven days despite the injection of $102 million into the market by the Bangladesh Bank during the period. The inter-bank exchange rate of the dollar shot up to Tk 81.70 yesterday from Tk 81.20 seven days back and from Tk 78.63 a year ago, according to data from the central bank. The BB has sold $239 million to banks in the first 26 days of November — the biggest selling spree yet in 2017. From July 1 to November 26, the central bank has sold a total of $553 million to banks. In contrast, it sold $175 million and purchased $1.93 billion during the course of fiscal 2016 17. “The central bank has repeatedly intervened in the market by injecting greenback to halt the depreciating trend of the taka, but its initiative has become fruitless as the demand for the US dollar continues to rise,” said a BB official yesterday. The taka has been depreciating against the dollar since the middle of October mainly due to a mismatch between the demand and supply of the greenback.
Surge in default loans ‘alarming’
The rise in default loans is “alarming”, says a study that favours effective use of audit committees by the private commercial banks and enlargement of their boards with experienced members as a remedy. Doing this, it says, could guarantee sound risk management and help administer the managers in a better way. On the other hand, in a the keynote paper of the annual banking conference 2017, Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) director-general Toufic Ahmad Chowdhury said NPL rate is a problem not only with large loans but also small-and medium-enterprise loans. He held financing large corporate business by multiple banks mostly responsible for the poor credit quality along with other reasons like poor internal governance, inefficiencies in fund management, directed lending and the like. Experts at the meet, however, said the banks are showing less NPL than the actual. At present it is shown as 12 per cent of the GDP, which is actually 20 per cent.
Amendment mistimed: analysts
The proposed amendment to the banking company act will shrink the size of the board at a time when banks need bigger boards with experienced members for sound risk management, speakers said yesterday. Earlier in May, the cabinet approved a proposal to amend the Banking Companies Act such that four directors from a single family are allowed in a bank’s board instead of existing two. The amendment will strengthen the grip of a family in a bank’s board — a highly undesirable trait. “A large board is need to establish good governance but the proposed new amendment will squeeze the scope,” said Faruq M Ahmed, additional managing director of Trust Bank, while addressing a conference. Ahmed’s comments came at the Annual Banking Conference, organised yesterday by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management at its auditorium in the capital. The two-day conference was inaugurated by Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir. BIBM has been organising the event every year since 2012 with the view to bringing together experts, academicians and researchers from all over the world to exchange and share knowledge, experience and research outputs on banking and related issues.
How independent is Bangladesh Bank?
The central bank of a country has the most significant role in governing its banking sector. It is the principal issuer of notes, banker to the government, banker to banks, deciding the monetary policy and controller of credit. It also maintains a stable exchange rate. In order for it to perform said tasks effectively, it has to be able to run autonomously. Critics say that is not the case for the Bangladesh Bank. The Banking Company Act, 1991 empowered the Bangladesh Bank to regulate the country’s banking sector as an autonomous body. However, the central bank has lost its independence after the Ministry of Finance established its own banking division, said senior officials of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM). “A few days ago, the central bank turned down proposals for setting up two new private commercial banks. In response, the ministry instructed them to prepare primary courses that would allow parties to get licences to set up private banks. How does such an action leave any room for the bank to operate independently?” said a supernumerary professor of BIBM, requesting not to be named.
The Finance Minister hints at BDT 4.68 trillion next budget outlay
The Finance Minister said that the size of the annual national budget for the next fiscal year (FY) (2018-2019) could be around BDT 4.68 trillion. The Finance Minister expects this number at the backdrop of the BDT 4.002 trillion budget of the fiscal year 2017-2018 which has been revised down to only BDT 3.71 trillion. •. The Finance Minister said that the budget will be a simple and would have no new initiative. The Finance Minister further said both the budget implementation and revenue earnings until first quarter were good because of good performance in Annual Development Programme (ADP). But last year, the ADP implementation was bad causing budget implementation to be poor.
Government’s tax receipts fall BDT 33.55b short of Q1 target
Tax-revenue collection fell short of the target by BDT 33.55 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (FY). All of the three wings of the revenue board missed their respective targets in the July-September (Q1) period. Income-tax collection faced the highest shortfall of BDT BDT 13. 33 billion in Q1, followed by customs wing (BDT11.19 billion) and VAT wing (BDT 9.02 billion). Officials said the target for the tax-revenue collection was set at BDT 471 billion in the Q1of the current FY with an expectation of 34% growth which they find “ambitious”. The NBR collected BDT 437.45 billion in the July-September period, with a 20% growth. In the corresponding period last year, the collection was worth BDT 364.36 billion. The income-tax wing collected BDT 129 billion in the July-September period against its target of BDT 143.08 billion. However, the income-tax wing achieved 18.66% growth in Q1 compared to that of the same period last year. According to the Government officials, the income-tax collection would go in high gear in the second quarter as time for tax-return submission for individuals and some of the corporate taxpayers would end on November 30 and December 30 respectively. Despite deferment of the implementation of the new VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 by two years, the VAT wing has continued to contribute the highest amount to the government revenues. In the Q1 under review, the VAT collectors collected Tk 167.46 billion worth of revenue. Customs wing collected Tk 140.25 billion in Q1 against its target of Tk 151.44 billion. The government has set a Tk 2.48-trillion tax-collection target for the NBR in FY 2017-18.
BERC fights shy of fixing prices
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission, despite having legal entitlement, appears reluctant to rationalise fuel oil prices while it has been raising prices of electricity and natural gas time and again. After increasing the power prices by 5.30 per cent on an average, its chairman Monowar Islam has told New Age that the commission is not yet capable of doing all its regulatory duties related to fuel oil market. ‘It is a new organisation and will need more time to be able to fix fuel oil prices and regulate the market,’ he pleaded. The commission has so far raised retail power prices by approximately 82 per cent at consumers’ end since March 2010 mainly citing increased prices of fuel oils and growing dependence on fuel oil-fired power plants. The energy commission once lowered the prices of diesel and kerosene by Tk 2 per litre on January 12, 2009 after the prices fell on international market. Later, the government, using its executive power, unilaterally raised fuel oil prices by seven times between January 24, 2011 and January 4, 2013 saying that the prices on international market had gone up.
BTRC moves to appoint auditors for Banglalink, Airtel
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is set to float tenders for the appointment of audit firms for auditing two mobile phone operators — Banglalink and Airtel. Airtel was merged with Robi in November, 2016. The telecom regulator would take the final decision on floating the tenders in its meeting scheduled to be held today, a senior BTRC official told New Age on Sunday. Documents related to floating the tenders have been prepared by the BTRC department concerned based on a decision that was taken in October this year, he said. The tenders, which will be published in daily newspapers and on the BTRC web site and National e-Government Procurement (e-GP) portal, would mention a set of requirements for the audit firms including having IT partner or consultant. The commission would seek final quotation from seven firms based on initial expression of interest from auditors. Finally, two auditors — one for Banglalink and another for Airtel — would be selected for auditing. The BTRC official, however, said the appointment of auditors would depend on the response from auditors and the scrutiny of the audit firms which would express interest for the job. Audits of two other mobile phone operators — Grameenphone and Robi Axiata — are going on for more than a year.
Govt lacks control over gold market: TIB
The government has in effect no control over the country’s gold sector leaving the market and quality of gold and ornaments under the complete control of traders, said a study report of the Transparency International Bangladesh. The gold market remained undocumented, non-transparent and widely dependent on smuggling in absence of a comprehensive policy on gold trade, including import and export, the report said. The government is deprived of revenue worth up to Tk 974 crore in duties and taxes as the majority portion of the required gold entered into the country through smuggling in the last four fiscal years since FY 2013-2014, it said. According to the research report, gold smuggling continued in the country in connivance with a section of officials of law enforcing agencies responsible for prevention of smuggling, relevant officials of land port, Biman and private airlines, and a group of gold traders. TIB has also framed a draft policy on gold trade based on the findings of the study and submitted the draft to the government recommending for gradual reduction of import duty and full opening of import in phases to stop smuggling and ensure discipline, transparency and accountability in the sector.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||6336.88||↑ 14.37||↑ 0.23%|
|DJIA||23557.99||↑ 31.81||↑ 0.14%|
|FTSE100||7409.64||↓ 7.6||↓ 0.10%|
|Nikkei 225||22,474.98||↓ 75.87||↓ -0.34%|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$58.68||↓ 0.27||↓ 0.46%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$63.78||↓ 0.08||↓ 0.13%|
|Gold Spot*||$1,289.89||↑ 1.52||↑ 0.12%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 82.23|
|GBP 1||BDT 119.52|
|EUR 1||BDT 98.07|
|INR 1||BDT 1.27|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.