Important Business News Extracts – October 05, 2017
Suspend suspicious agents: BB
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked 17 banks providing mobile financial services to suspend agents who are suspected of being involved in dubious transactions. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), the central bank’s anti-money laundering wing, gave the order on September 26. A BB official told The Daily Star yesterday that the central bank on September 14 ordered bKash, Brac Bank’s mobile financial service provider, to suspend 2,887 of its agents on finding them engaged in money laundering and suspicious transactions. The 17 banks, including Dutch-Bangla Bank, United Commercial Bank, Southeast Bank, NCC Bank and Rupali Bank, have been asked to monitor activities of every agent, including the 2,887 who might be their agents too.
Central bankers begin brainstorming on sustainable finance
A three-day meet on sustainable finance with delegates from central banks of Ghana, Nepal and Nigeria began in Dhaka Wednesday to promote sound environmental and social practices by banks. Bangladesh Bank (BB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, have jointly organised the event to share experiences in environmental and climate financing among the participates. “We’re delighted to share our experience in environmental and climate finance, policy development and implementation with other member- countries to help them develop and improve their own policies and create a greener future,” SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of the BB, told a press conference at the central bank headquarters in Dhaka.
BD can learn from India’s move to be cashless society, demonetisation
India’s recent demonetisation drive and its move to become a cashless society can offer valuable lessons for economies like Bangladesh, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Wednesday. “Cash leads to tax evasion, cash leads to shadow economy, cash leads to corruption,” Mr Jaitley, who is now on a three-day official visit to Dhaka, said in a programme at a city hotel. “Excessive cash can also lead to suppression of the poor. Because, a man who is in possession of excessive cash, is able to deprive the state of the revenue, which otherwise could be used for benefit of the poor.” “In India, we have also seen that many terrorist activities were supported by and thriving upon cash fund,” said Mr Jaitley while delivering a public lecture on the macro-economic initiatives of the Indian government.
The country’s farm sector is dominated by smallholders but the small and marginal farmers have the least access to the credit and agricultural extension services provided by the state. A recent nationwide household survey found that the farmers get half the access to state-run Bangladesh Krishi Bank’s loans comparing to the large and medium farm owners. They also get half the attention from the agricultural extension services against the well-off farmers. In spite of the obstacles, the per unit output from the small and marginal farmers is much higher than the per unit yield from the richer farmers, the survey found.
The country’s capital market needs listing of more companies having good fundamentals along with introducing new products to attract investors from different level of income. Dr. Mashiur Rahman, the economic affairs adviser to the Prime Minister, said this on Wednesday at a seminar held at Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to mark the World Investor Week 2017. He said the retired persons prefer making investments in saving certificates and instruments of fixed income as the number of listed companies having good fundamentals is yet to be up to the mark. “Under such a situation, more companies having good fundamentals should be brought to the capital market,” Mashiur said.
City Bank Ltd has recently issued 5.0 per cent of its outstanding number of common equity to the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as per approval of relevant regulatory authorities. This allotment of shares completed in accordance with an agreement signed between City Bank and IFC in February, 2016, according to a statement. From now on, IFC will have its representative in the bank’s Board and it will actively contribute towards the progressive growth of the bank.
MTB signs deal with RIC on payroll banking solutions
Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) has recently signed an agreement with Resource Integration Centre (RIC) at a simple ceremony held at the RIC Central Office, Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Under this agreement, the employees of Resource Integration Centre (RIC) can avail Payroll Banking solutions through MTB Payroll Banking. Abul Haseeb Khan, Director, Resource Integration Centre (RIC) and Tarek Reaz Khan, Head of SME & Retail Banking Division, Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. (MTB) signed the agreement on behalf of their respective entities.
IFC launches second phase of multi-stakeholder partnership
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, launched the second phase of its multi-stakeholder partnership to drive sustainability in Bangladesh’s textile sector at a city hotel recently. According to a press release issued on Wednesday, the event also marked the completion of the first phase of the Bangladesh Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) programme. IFC with support from the government of The Netherlands had launched the PaCT programme in 2013. PaCT, the release said, worked in partnership with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), NGO Solidaridad, 13 global apparel brands, and two technology suppliers. The programme, towards its closing stage, was advising more than 200 factories in the country to adopt state-of-the-art efficiency and cleaner production practices to reduce water, energy, and chemical use in the textile industry.
Apparel makers want smooth supply of energy at predictable rates
Apparel manufacturers and stakeholders concerned have urged the government to ensure smooth supply of energy at rates with long-term predictability for further growth of the country’s textile and clothing sector. They also stressed the need for taking measures to ensure efficient functioning of the country’s seaports and Dhaka airport, simplify banking and tax regulations and continue providing cash incentive for exploration of new markets, among others. They put forward the demands at a roundtable on ‘Current Situation of the Garment Industry and Way Out’ at a city hotel, organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
Faster move on Bangladesh-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA)
A joint feasibility study on a bilateral free-trade area (FTA) between Bangladesh and China may begin shortly under a move to enhance the two-way trade. Officials said the first meeting on the feasibility study is proposed to be held in Beijing early November. In the meeting modalities will be framed for the launch of the joint feasibility study on the proposed free-trade area, they added. The Chinese side has drawn up terms of reference and outline and China’s delegates for the working group. Bangladesh has already sent its terms of reference, a senior official of the commerce ministry said.
Dhaka and New Delhi have signed a $4.5 billion credit agreement with a provision for spending nearly one fourth of the amount on Bangladesh’s first nuclear power plant at Rooppur. Through this deal, India becomes a party to the civil nuclear programme to be implemented by Russia. At the signing ceremony of the third Line of Credit (LoC) at the finance ministry yesterday, visiting Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said this is the biggest-ever credit New Delhi has given to any country. Seventeen projects have already been identified for implementation under the third LoC.
India extended a fresh US$4.5 billion-worth credit line for bankrolling Bangladesh’s select development projects, with 17 hitting the preliminary priority list in the deal. The two countries signed a deal Wednesday on the third line of credit (LoC) coming from India, as the big neighbour eyes greater trade and transit cooperation with Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s Economic Relations Division Secretary, Kazi Shofiqul Azam, and Indian Exim Bank Managing Director David Rasquinah inked the deal on behalf of their respective governments and authorities. Bangladesh Finance Minister AMA Muhith and his visiting Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley witnessed the agreement-signing ceremony held at Bangladesh Secretariat.
Indian two wheelers producing company Piaggio Vehicles Private Ltd (PVPL) is planning to export its products Bangladesh shortly, a top company executive said. “We are already exporting to Nepal and South America. We are now gearing up to export scooters and CVs to Nepal and Bangladesh,” Diego Graffi, MD & CEO, PVPL, said. About 10 per cent of its production is exported, he said. “We have doubled the sales volumes in 2017 as compared to the previous year. We have expanded the distribution and are planning to introduce more products.” Last month, the company sold 9,000 two wheelers and sales are expected to grow further, he said.
BTRC department for curbing foreign dominance in VAS entity
The engineering and operations department of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has proposed that the commission should not allow foreign entities to hold controlling stake in a telecommunication value added service providing entity. The E&O department of the commission came up with the proposal in its observation on the draft guidelines titled ‘Regulatory Guidelines for Issuance of Registration Certificate for Providing Telecommunication Value Added Services in Bangladesh’, a senior official of the commission told New Age. Value-added services are provided by a third-party company through the mobile phone networks. The mobile phone companies offer the basic telecom services like voice and data plans, but the other services like missed call alert, welcome tune, and various application-based services are provided by VAS providers.
The number of active mobile internet connections in Bangladesh surpassed seven crore in July, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) stated in a report published yesterday. The number of internet connections through mobile operators was 7.02 crore at the end of July and 7.19 crore at the end of August, said the telecom regulator. BTRC did not mention anything about 3G connections and specify the numbers for each operator. However, a top official informed that Grameenphone is clearly ahead with 2.95 crore connections and Robi coming second with 2.42 crore, followed by Banglalink with 1.67 crore and Teletalk with 16 lakh.
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