First Securities Services Limited (FSSL), one of the leading merchant banks in Bangladesh, has recently been renamed as NRB Equity Management Limited to rebrand itself. Half a dozen of Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs), some established businessmen and seasoned professionals are now working for the company to take it to a new dimension. On October 5, 2016, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission formally approved the new name of the company. The current paid-up capital of the company is BDT 250.0 million and its shareholder equity is BDT 360.0 million. Since 1994, the company with a dynamic management team has successfully completed about a dozen of IPO deals and become one of the foremost capital market conduits in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is doing better in mobile financial services, but it needs more attention from all stakeholders, Md Ashraful Alam, deputy general manager of the financial inclusion department at the central bank, said yesterday. The government is in the process of finalising a national definition for financial inclusion and digital financial services, which may be completed by June next year, Alam said at a programme on financial inclusion at Hotel Lakeshore in Dhaka. “There’s an opportunity for agent banking in Bangladesh as well.” As part of Financial Inclusion Week, USAID’s Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) project organised the programme on how to drive financial inclusion in Bangladesh through client-centred digital financial services.
The Wage Earners’ Welfare Board (WEWB) under the expatriates’ welfare ministry has taken step to bring Bangladeshi migrant workers under insurance coverage. The board will frame guidelines on the proposed insurance programme in light of the similar programmes in other countries, especially Sri Lanka and the Philippines, said an official of the board. “To gather ideas, an official team will visit Sri Lanka and the Philippines shortly,” said Zahid Anwar, an assistant director at the WEWB.
Farmers have planted aman paddy on more lands this year than the previous year, with expectations of a good harvest of the monsoon crop, officials and farmers said yesterday. Acreage increased 2 percent year-on-year to 56.93 lakh hectares this season, according to preliminary data of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE). The weather has so far been favourable for a bumper crop, given that no natural disasters occur in the days before the harvest, said Chaitanya Kumar Das, director of the field services wing of DAE.
Overall import marked a modest growth by 1.63 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) of the current fiscal year over the corresponding previous period, said officials, who hope for a boost from upcoming China-funded projects. “The overall imports increased marginally during the period under review because of falling trend in commodity prices, including petroleum products’, on the global market,” a senior official of Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE Wednesday. The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to US$9.34 billion during the July-September period of FY 17 from $9.19 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s provisional data. On the other hand, the opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, grew by 3.46 per cent to $10.44 billion in the first three months of this fiscal from $10.09 billion in the same period of FY 16.
Check-posts help collect income tax from departing foreigners
Income tax check posts set up at air and land ports for scrutinising payment of tax by foreign nationals have started paying dividends, according to sources. The income tax wing under the National Board of Revenue (NBR) collected around Tk 60 million income taxes from 150 foreign nationals in July-August period from the check posts established at airports and Benapole land port of the country. Officials are hopeful that the NBR would be able to collect Tk 10 billion in income tax in a year only from those check posts by strengthening its activity and placing those in visible places at the airports.
Grameenphone’s net profit rose 55.7 percent year-on-year to Tk 644.79 crore in July-September, driven mainly by the increased use of data in the third quarter. The leading mobile phone operator recorded Tk 1,714.79 crore in net profits in the first nine months of the year that was Tk 1,461.82 crore at the same time a year ago. “This is the best quarter for us in recent times, where we got solid growth with accelerating momentum of our top-line growth,” said Rajeev Sethi, chief executive of Grameenphone, who will be leaving the company next month.
Mobile operator Grameenphone has appointed Petter-B Furberg as the company’s interim chief executive, effective from November 1, replacing Rajeev Sethi. In his new role, 49-year-old Furberg will also serve as a member of Telenor Group’s executive management team. Sethi’s new assignment is not clear yet, but Grameenphone said he would pursue new opportunities. Sethi has been the CEO of Grameenphone since November 2014. Furberg is the senior vice president for Telenor Digital Businesses, based in Bangkok. Prior to the new appointment, Furberg served Telenor Myanmar as CEO for three years, Grameenphone said in a statement yesterday.
Mobile operator Citycell has deposited a total of Tk 1.44 billion of its outstanding dues to Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on Wednesday, officials of the operator said. “We have deposited Tk 1.44 billion or two-third of our admitted amount of dues to BTRC,” Citycell Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mehboob Chowdhury told the FE. Earlier, the Supreme Court (SC) ordered Citycell to pay two-third of its outstanding dues to the telecom regulator by October 19 to stay in operation.
Robi can make merger payment in three installments
Mobile phone operator Robi has been given the scope of three installments instead of four it sought to make payment to the government of merger fee and merged spectrum price, reports BSS. The telecom regulator, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), took the decision in a regular commission meeting Tuesday while giving its final nod to the much awaited amalgamation of two mobile phone operators Robi and Airtel. Robi sought to pay the merger and merged spectrum fees in four installments in next three years. BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood told the news agency that they had some observations about the payment but they are “minor”.
Solar panel makers battered by cheap Chinese imports
Solar panel manufacturers are struggling to survive in the business in the face of stiff competition from low-priced imported panels and slowing demand for solar home systems, industry operators said. Some of the panel makers have already suspended production, while others have cut production to stay afloat. “All of us are in a very bad shape. Poor quality Chinese panels are imported and sold at prices much lower than what we can offer,” said Moshiur Rahman, chairman of Parasol Energy. Parasol recently restarted operation after a pause of three years to make panels for setting up a 10MW solar-based power plant in Panchagarh.
Three international oil companies (IOC), one each from Norway, South Korea and Singapore, have finally submitted bids for exploring hydrocarbons in as many offshore blocks in the Bay of Bengal, said officials. As the deadline was over Wednesday for bid submission for the much-awaited exploration of oil and gas reserves in the country’s offshore areas, Norwegian Statoil, South Korean Daewoo and Singapore’s KrisEnergy were found in the queue. All the three IOCs have submitted expressions of interests (EOIs) to carry out hydrocarbon exploration in deepwater blocks DS-10 and DS-11 and shallow block SS-10 at the close of bid-submission deadline Wednesday, Petrobangla Chairman Istiaque Ahmad told the FE. The state-run Bangladesh Oil, Gas & Mineral Corporation or Petrobangla had invited EOIs from the interested IOCs on September 28 to contract out the blocks. Instead, the contract terms will be fixed on the basis of the bids received, following negotiations. The size of DS-10 and DS-11 and SS-10 are of 3,381 square kilometres (sq km), 3,693 sq kms and 4,696 sq kms respectively.
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