BB Heist: Bangladesh to seek $50m compensation from RCBC
Encouraged by the recovery of a fraction of the $81 million lost in a daring cyber heist earlier this year, a delegation of high-ranking Bangladeshi officials will meet with President Duterte today to press for the return of more missing funds that were laundered in the Philippines. “Definitely, we would seek for RCBC to release some money,” Bangladesh’s ambassador to the Philippines John Gomes said in an interview with the Inquirer. “In the Senate hearing, they had informed [the public] that if RCBC was made liable, they would take it to their board to compensate [Bangladesh] with $50 million. This amount was very clearly mentioned.” Led by the South Asian nation’s minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, the officials are also banking on a commitment made by then Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. president and CEO Lorenzo Tan that, if found liable, the bank at the center of the biggest money-laundering scandal to hit the country would voluntarily compensate Bangladesh for its losses.
Banks’ digital risk management ‘quite fragile’: BIBM
IT Risk Management (ITRM) is “quite fragile” in the country’s banks as only 12.0% banks have IT strategy committee, a study shows. A quarter of banks have IT steering committee, 35.0% have IT project steering committee, and 20.0% have Information Security Committee. The study, however, said that banks have started implementing different standards or guidelines gradually. Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) organized the workshop to disseminate the results of research at BIBM. BIBM conducted the research on 25 banks–two state-owned commercial banks, two specialized commercial banks, 18 private commercial banks and three foreign commercial banks.
Expatriates have recently increased the use of informal channels, for sending money back home for higher exchange gains, causing a notable fall in official remittance inflow. The government has identified this switch as a key reason for the decline in remittance inflow in recent times. Analysts view that the spread between the formal and informal channels widened recently following high demand for the dollar on “different grounds”. They said the demand for the greenback is surging due to informal trade with a neighboring country and possible rise in capital flight. The Ministry of Finance in its quarterly review states that the remittance inflow dropped by 15.4% to USD 4.3 billion in July-September period. It was USD 5.1 billion during the corresponding period of last fiscal year. It noticed a paradox: overseas employment soared during six months ending June 2016 but remittances stood low.
Bangladesh has made a significant stride towards a digital economy as around 69.0% of government payments, or about USD 45.0 billion, are now being transacted through digital channels, according to a study by a United Nations organization Better Than Cash Alliances (BTCA). 39.0% of these transactions are for government staff salary payments, showed the report that was launched yesterday at a ceremony at the Prime Minister’s Office. In association with the Access to Information Programme (a2i), a session was organised on ‘Building Digital Bangladesh: The Way Forward for Digitizing Payments’. The study also found that only 2.5%of individual payments and 3% of business transactions are made digitally.
Country’s insurance-sector owners Sunday demanded changes in some sections of the Insurance Act and incorporation of some new provisions to give the sector a much-needed shot in the arm. In a written memo the Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA) president in the meeting said until now some 19 rules and regulations had been framed under the Insurance Act 2010. Some more rules need to be framed alongside making changes to some sections of the Act. He placed an eight-point charter of demands which include amendment to some sections of the act and inclusion of some sections by forming a special committee. Mr Hossain noted that there are some contradictory provisions in the Insurance Act, the Bank Companies Act, and orders of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission regarding appointment of directors. He demanded resolving the contradictions. He suggested raising the upper limit of the management expenditure of insurance companies, taking into consideration future socioeconomic scenarios.
The telecom regulator is set to issue a pricing guideline for operators, especially mobile carriers, for providing internet services. The move comes as the price of internet is not declining at the user level despite significant cuts in bandwidth prices. At the inaugural public hearing held last week, mobile users complained about the higher price of mobile data services. A team of the International Telecommunication Union is due to start the cost modelling next month, he said. Earlier in 2009, the BTRC had done a similar cost modelling in association with the ITU for voice calls and set a tariff for the service. At present, the data service prices are set by the operators, with the regulator having no benchmark to check the rationality of the pricing. The government reduced the internet bandwidth price to as low as BDT 625.0 a megabyte last year, which was BDT 72,000 eight years back. In its cost modelling for the voice segment, the BTRC has fixed BDT 2.0 per minute as the upper limit and BDT 0.25 as the lower limit. For SMS, the BTRC has set the ceiling of BDT 0.5. Operators can play between the prices.
Slow progress in fiber optical services a bar to launching 4G
The criticism came at the Bangladesh LTE Summit held at Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in the capital yesterday. BTRC and Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh have jointly organized the day-long summit. Emphasizing the need for launching Long- Term Evaluation (LTE) services known as 4G services in the country immediately, the speakers said the government should make it fast and simple, considering cost efficiency. The countries major mobile phone operators also urged the authorities concerned to review taxation policy for mobile industries. They said the existing policy makes them non-profitable. In his address, Johan Frisell, Swedish ambassador, to Bangladesh said the rapid growth of telecommunication in Bangladesh is praiseworthy. Now, it is time to roll out LTE services. He said the way you build fiber optics is very much slow. Let them (mobile operators) scope to invest in the optical fiber laid-down works for the interest of better services. Ahsan Habib Khan, acting vice-chairman of BTRC, said many challenges are ahead. Spectrum and tech-neutrality needed to be addressed for the betterment of telecom services. A total of 60.0% of the world population will come under LTE network by 2018.
No decision to block Imo, Viber, WhatsApp: State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications
No decision has been taken by the government to block messaging and calling services Viber, Imo and WhatsApp, said State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim on Sunday, reports UNB. She said the government will show zero tolerance to illegal VOIP (voice over internet protocol) business but there is no question of blocking the calling and messaging services, said a press release of the Posts and Telecommunications Division. “However, the government must stop illegal VOIP business in the country”, the state minister was quoted as saying in the press release.
Taxi-hailing app Uber witnessed massive growth since its inception six years ago, thanks to the rise of technology. Improved technology has also helped Uber ensure safe rides for its millions of users across 450 cities worldwide. Amit Jain, president of Uber India and South Asia, was sharing his views on the recently-launched Uber services in Dhaka, the abode of nearly 20 million people. “The app detects your location, tells you about your driver and the registration plate of the car,” Jain told The Daily Star in an email interview. “You can track the exact location of the driver and even share details of your trip with anyone who is waiting for you at your destination or just wants to know that you are getting home safe.” GPS or the global positioning system is used in all Uber rides, from the beginning to the end.
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