Important Business News Extracts – October 12, 2017
Finance ministry reviews legality of disclosing names of loan defaulters in media
The Financial Institutions Division of the Ministry of Finance is currently reviewing the legal aspects of disclosing the names of top loan defaulters in the country. The names would be published as advertisements in daily newspapers, as a recommendation to meet the challenges of state-owned banks, a ministry official confided to the Dhaka Tribune. This recommendation, along with 63 others was discussed and finalised to revive the state-run banks, were recently proposed in a workshop last month attended by Finance Minister AMA Muhith and presided over by Financial Institutions Division (FID) Secretary Md Eunusur Rahman. Following the meeting on Tuesday, the FID secretary told the Dhaka Tribune: “Publishing the names of the loan defaulters in newspapers will damage their image.” He said that legal rules and regulations must be examined as they may contradict with other laws, when it comes to such provision of disclosing the names of loan defaulters. However, the FID may implement new regulations under a new Bank Company Act.
Bangladesh’s institutional strength to event risk very low: Moody’s
Global credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service said that the institutional strength and susceptibility to event risk of Bangladesh is very low (VL+). The agency came up with the finding in its report on ‘Sovereigns – Frontier Markets: Divergent credit paths’ published on Wednesday. Speaking about the role of weak institutions in the frontier markets, it said that amid deteriorating fiscal positions, FMs’ response to the shock was constrained by weak institutions. ‘In countries with weak institutions, policy effectiveness and capacity to implement reforms are limited,’ it said. Moody’s said that the strength of institutions determines a sovereign’s ability to counter negative shocks, such as a rise in global capital costs. Moody’s, however, said that Bangladesh along with two other frontier markets— Nigeria and Vietnam— has performed better to withstand higher interest rates in context of rising global interest rates.
Cheque frauds remain one of the major challenges facing banks right now despite a decline in its usage in recent times due to the option of technology-driven alternative payment channels. To combat the fraud, the Bangladesh Bank has recently asked all banks to install fraud cheque detection machines in all their branches as the employees fail to identify fraudulent cheques with their naked eye. The central bank’s instruction came last month after a meeting with the chief executives of all banks. “Rising cheque frauds erode the clients’ confidence in the banking system,” said a BB official. Clients filed 10 allegations of cheque frauds with the BB during the July-September period, according to data from the central bank. Previously, the BB did not segregate cheque fraud complaints from the rest. The BB officials said the number of frauds would be much higher as the banks often resolve the complaints before customers go the central bank. A rise in complaints relating to cheque frauds has forced the central bank to separate the complaints from other frauds from July this year, they said.
Faruq Mainuddin Ahmed has recently joined Trust Bank as additional managing director, the bank yesterday said in a press release. Prior to the appointment, Ahmed was the additional managing director of City Bank. He also served as chief risk officer and chief anti-money laundering compliance officer at City Bank. He started his banking career with AB Bank as a probationary officer in1984. Ahmed also worked as deputy managing director of Mercantile Bank.
Banks do business with the depositors’ money, but some banks, especially state-owned commercial banks (SoCBs), do not do so in Bangladesh. The state owned commercial banks love to give credit, but shy away from recovering the same. For them, it seems as though credit business is a one way traffic, they only give, but do not bring back. As a result, these banks are now sunk in bad loans up to their necks; they lost a substantial portion of their capitals to the classified loans. When they lose capital while doing business with other people’s money that also means that they are living on other peoples’ money, not on the profit they are supposed to earn through credit business. It need not be reiterated that these banks are sitting on mountains of bad loans.
Bangladeshis to enjoy partial PayPal facilities, for now
Bangladeshi users will only be able to receive their earnings through PayPal once it is inaugurated, which means its services will be limited in the country. The most popular online money transfer service in the world will be launched here next week. “PayPal has lots of features such as money transaction, e-wallet etc. But, we have considered what we need. We found that inbound cash transfer is required more than outbound. That’s why Bangladesh Bank has allowed receiving money through PayPal account via nine local banks,” State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak told a programme in Dhaka on Wednesday. By using PayPal platform, parties from Bangladesh and any other country will be able to transfer funds through these nine banks, he said. Sources said that PayPal will particularly be useful to around 550,000 freelancers and about 700 e-commerce websites in the country.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that Bangladesh’s economy would grow by 7.0 per cent in the current fiscal year (FY18)-yet a bit below the government-set rate. The Fund unveiled the projection in its latest World Economic Outlook, released in Washington Tuesday on the eve of Bank-Fund Annual Meetings. It also predicted that annual inflation rate would reach 5.8 per cent at the end of the year. The IMF made the projections on calendar-year basis which showed that Bangladesh growth rate would be 7.1 per cent in 2017 and 7.0 per cent in 2018.
he Indian government’s massive stimulus package of Rs 60 billion, or $894 million, for boosting its garment sector is bearing fruit as the neighbouring country is progressively eating into Bangladesh’s share in global apparel trade. For instance, India last year was the third biggest exporter of garment items to the US, which happens to be Bangladesh’s single largest export destination. In the first eight months of this year, India climbed up to the second spot, while Bangladesh slipped from the fourth position to the sixth, according to the US Department of Commerce. “The rise of the Indian garment industry’s competitiveness means we are losing our work orders to some extent,” said Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. Thanks to the stimulus package, Indian manufacturers can offer lower prices and are fast catching up with their Bangladesh counterparts.
Govt plans creating Tk 10b fund to boost jute output
The government is considering creation of a Tk 10 billion special fund to boost the production of jute for earning more foreign exchange after meeting the local demand, incorporating the golden fibre into the list of agro-products. According to a UNB report, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 6 last officially declared that jute and jute goods will be considered as agro-based products so that this foreign exchange-earning sector could get all the benefits the country’s other agro-based items get. A process is underway to accept a proposal for increasing the cash incentive for this sector from 7.5 per cent, according to an official document. It also mentioned that the government is actively considering creation of a special fund amounting to Tk 10 billion, like the Export Development Fund (EDF) of Bangladesh Bank, at a 2 per cent interest rate. “The formation of the fund is underway,” the document said, adding, jute and jute goods exporters can get low-interest loans from the fund.
Bangladesh to import 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice from Myanmar
The government will import 1 lakh tonnes of white rice from Myanmar at a price which is $15 more per tonne than the price it is paying to buy parboiled rice. The government is also buying 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice, which is more in demand, at $427 per tonne. The cabinet committee yesterday approved the state-to-state arrangement with Myanmar and awarded the work to the lowest bidder M/s Md Rabiul Islam of Pabna. It also agreed to import about 51 lakh tonnes of fuel oil in 15 years at a premium of $5.92 per barrel. The oil will be brought from Shiliguri’s Numaligarh Refinery to Parbatipur using the Indo-Bangla Friendship Pipeline.
Heidelberg Cement to build new plant for Tk 92.52cr
Heidelberg Cement is set to invest Tk 92.52 crore of its own funds on a new grinding mill, but the disclosure yesterday failed to stem the sliding share price as investors view the plan as a drag on the cash flow. The cement manufacturer’s shares closed yesterday at Tk 409, down 2.71 percent from the previous day. The company had a dismal third quarter: its profit slumped 61.59 percent year-on-year to Tk 9.7 crore. Heidelberg’s share price has been on a descent since September 11, when each share traded at Tk 440.20. The new grinding mill, which will be Heidelberg’s third, will increase the production capacity by 4.72 lakh tonnes a year. Its existing capacity is 10.75 lakh tonnes, according to its posting on the Dhaka Stock Exchange website.
Factories reliant on ammonia have been hit hard since August 21 when the biggest supplier of the gas Jamuna Fertiliser Company stopped its delivery after a team of the Anti-Corruption Commission found anomalies in the gas distribution system. Jamuna meets 95 percent of the countrywide demand of ammonia, which is used to make fertiliser, household cleaning solutions, plastics, textiles and pesticides and dyes, industry insiders said.
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