Eleven banks served show-cause notices by Bangladesh Bank for selling USD at higher rates
Bangladesh Bank yesterday issued show-cause notices to 11 banks for trading USD at prices higher than the inter-bank declared rates. The banks have been asked to reply to the notices within three days. The USD appreciated heavily against the BDT over the last seven-eight days despite injection of USD102 million into the market by the BB during the period. The inter-bank exchange rate of the dollar shot up to BDT 81.90 on Monday from BDT 81.20 seven days back and from BDT 78.63 a year ago, according to data from the central bank.
Govt tightening EEF terms to ensure fund recovery
The government is set to toughen agreed commitments from borrowers of the Equity and Entrepreneurship Fund (EEF) to help recovery of funds in case of project failure. The government move came in the backdrop of poor recovery of equity funds from a section of errant borrowers. Presently, nearly a dozen criminal cases are underway against entrepreneurs who fled after obtaining equity from the EEF or have become defaulter. New expression of interest (EoI) from prospective entrepreneurs will be sought after the policy amendments, he said. But he could not confirm when it will be completed. Inviting EoI has been stalled for months as some major weaknesses in the EEF policy got exposed.
Budget deficit likely to go up by 14%
The projected deficit in the national budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year is likely to widen by 14% but is expected to remain within 5% of the country’s GDP in line with the recommendation of the country’s development partners. The budget outline for 2018-19 fiscal year was approved in the fiscal coordination council meeting on Sunday presided over by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. According to the budget outline, the current deficit of Tk1,12,275 crore is estimated to rise by Tk15,149 crore to Tk1,27,425 crore in the budget for the next fiscal year. A Finance Division official told the Dhaka Tribune that around 13.51% of this deficit is estimated to be caused by an increase in the development programme outlay.
Middle class feels the squeeze at rising cost of living
In 2016, the national household income was at Tk15,945, a 45% increase from Tk7,203 in 2005. On the other hand, the national household expenditure was at Tk15,715 in 2016, a 39% rise from Tk6,134 in 2005. Shahed Mehbub, 35, currently employed as a mid-ranking executive in a private IT firm, is looking to rent a small 800 square feet apartment. He plans to move from his existing 1,100 sq ft two-bed apartment in Mohammadpur before January next year, as the landlord is getting ready to increase the rent yet again. Mehbub, who has been living in that apartment for the last eight years, initially paid a rent of Tk8,000 per month. However, the rent has nearly doubled since then, currently standing at Tk15,000. “The landlord is planning to raise the rent again by 15%. If only the commodity prices had remained stable, I could have afforded to stay here,” said Mehbub, head of a three-member family.
Prime Minister approves 4G mobile service guidelines, addresses all the concerns previously raised
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, also in charge of telecom ministry, has approved the revised guidelines for the fourth generation (4G) mobile phone service, addressing all the concerns raised by the mobile phone operators. Senior officials of the telecom division confirmed that all 23 concerns of the mobile phone operators were addressed in the newly approved guidelines. Earlier in September this year, the telecom division approved a set of guidelines on launching the service that caused dissatisfaction among the mobile network operators. Following the expression of concern from the top officials of mobile operators, prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser took initiative to incorporate the operators’ concern. Based on the demand of the operators, technological neutrality price has been reduced to USD4 million per Megahertz spectrum from the earlier fixed price of USD7.5 million.
New unit of Confidence Cement opens in December
The new unit of Confidence Cement will go into commercial production at the end of next month, doubling the company’s total production capacity to 4,500 metric tonnes. The company has informed the Dhaka Stock Exchange that the erection and commissioning work of the unit-3 will be completed in November. After completion of the unit-3, the production capacity of the company will increase by 2,500 metric tonnes to 4,500 metric tonnes a day, which is more than double its current capacity. The share of the company, listed on the Dhaka bourse in 1995, closed 3.74% higher at BDT 155.40 on Monday. The company has reported earnings per share (EPS) of BDT 11.07, net asset value (NAV) per share of BDT 84.01 and net operating cash flow per share (NOCFPS) of BDT 9.35 for the year ending on June 30, 2017 as against BDT 10.22, BDT 73.71 and BDT 7.85 respectively for the same period of the previous year. The company disbursed 37.50% cash dividend for the 18-month period that ended on June 30, 2016.
Aman Feed launches floating plant
The floating fish feed plant of Aman Feed started its commercial production on Tuesday, which will enhance the production capacity as well as the profitability of the company. On January 1, the board of directors of Aman Feed had taken a decision to procure and install machineries to raise the production capacity by about 43,200 metric tonnes a year. Following the enhancement of production capacity, it is expected that the sales will increase by about BDT 1.83 billion a year and net profit after tax will surge by about BDT 145 million a year. Share of the company, listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) in 2015, closed at BDT 67.50 on Tuesday, losing 0.73% over the previous day.
Chittagong port facing ‘unprecedented’ crisis of lightering vessels
Unloading of cargoes is facing serious disruptions in the seaport here due to ‘unprecedented’ crisis of lightering vessels, resulting in congestion of containers and vessels in the port that reached its peak, port sources said. The affected parties are mainly importers of industrial and infrastructure raw materials and consumer items. At present, over 100 mother vessels with huge quantity of imported cargoes are waiting in the deep sea of the port’s outer anchorage for unloading cargoes on the lightering vessels, which take them to importers’ destinations. Most of these vessels have bulk cargoes on board. The larger vessels cannot enter the port jetties because of the low draft and unload a large volume of the cargoes through lightering vessels. Apparently, there has so far been no move from the authorities concerned in this regard. Rather, the government’s decision of banning manufacture of new lighter vessels in the country has aggravated the situation, importers said. Not that the importers will only pay the demurrage charges as per contract, but that the shipping lines might claim higher tariff for shipping cargoes to the seaport because the ships face unusual delay in the port.
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