BKB mulls Tk 100b Special Credit Scheme from next year
Bangladesh Krishi Bank [BKB] is planning to undertake next year a Tk 100 billion credit programme for the small and marginal farmers as well as small rural entrepreneurs. If everything goes well, the long-term credit scheme is expected to start on March 17, 2020 marking the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, according to Officials. The four-year programme, to be concluded on March 17 in 2024, aims to help the small and marginal farmers and small entrepreneurs to get access to credit at a much lower rate of interest and affordable terms and conditions. The programme would contribute to alleviate poverty and reduce income inequality especially in the rural areas. Besides, the balance sheet of the Bank will get bigger while reducing the operating cost of the largest state-run Bank. The BKB has planned to mobilise necessary fund from the development partners like the World Bank, IFAD, ADB, DFID, JICA, KfW, NORAD and DANIDA, according to relevant documents. The proposed program will help make BKB a financially viable institution as well as increase its capacity to meet the growing credit demand of the rural economy, he argued. At present, BKB serves only 17 per cent of the farmers under its command area.
BTRC proposes Terms and Charges for VAS
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission [BTRC] has proposed terms and charges for various telecom Value-Added Services [VAS]. The VAS providers can charge up to Tk 2.0 for a one-day push and pull SMS based video and audio streaming service. The providers can charge up to Tk 8.0 per day for video on-demand services. Fees for one week will be Tk 30, for 15 days Tk 45, monthly Tk 80 and for three months up to Tk 200 for video on-demand service like dramas, movies, telefilms etc. Charges will not exceed Tk 350 in case of service for six months. The proposed terms and charges will be effective once post and telecom ministry approves it. The telecom regulator has recently sent the proposal to the ministry. According to proposed charges, the term for ring back tone will be fixed for one month and the charge will be Tk 30. If any provider offers online gaming service using VAS, the term will be for one month and price is proposed at Tk 90, the proposal said. Audio or video streaming service for one week was proposed up to at Tk 12, for 15 days at Tk 24 and for one month Tk 50. Any push-pull based SMS service for one week was proposed up to at Tk 12, for 15 days at Tk 24 and for one month Tk 40, according to the proposal.
Good governance needed for a disciplined Financial Sector
Policy reforms, good governance, and proper monitoring are required to help the country’s financial sector ride out the current crisis and put in place a sound system, according to analysts yesterday. They spoke at a seminar on “Restructuring & Liquidation of Financial Institutions and Impact on Stakeholders” at the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry [DCCI] on Thursday, according to a press release. Mashiur Rahman, the Prime Minister’s Adviser on economic affairs, called for policy reforms, modernization and policy simplification for a strong financial market. He recommended financial institutions conduct internal as well as external audits in a transparent manner on a regular basis. Rahman also advised investors and depositors to invest and deposit their hard-earned money carefully. The Adviser requested large companies to go public and called for more investment in the manufacturing sector. Some institutional and policy reforms are needed to address the state of fragile financial institutions. The financial sector was growing rapidly accompanied by a growing number of financial institutions, reforms for financial inclusion, product diversification and burgeoning volume of assets. Despite remarkable improvement in the financial sector, some Banks and financial institutions are facing crises and navigating through difficult times, according to Osama Taseer, president of the DCCI.
Gridlock takes its toll on Trade through Benapole
Poor infrastructures and traffic congestions are among the problems that are severely affecting trade through Benapole Land Port, a major gate on Bangladesh-India border, reports UNB. Officials and businessmen said productions in garment and other factories in Bangladesh are seriously hampered as goods released from the port cannot be transported to their destinations in time. Besides, those who travel to India and return home face troubles as they get stuck on the road for hours together due to traffic jam. Talking to the news agency, according to port officials 500-600 truckloads of goods are exported and imported through the country’s most important land port, situated in Jashore district. Trucks loaded with imported goods released from the port as well as buses of ‘Souhardya Paribahan’ carrying passengers travelling between India and Bangladesh remain stuck for hours. Although the port authority has made arrangements in their own area for the maintenance of truck and bus chassis imported from India, there is no improvement in sight in the chaotic situation. The government earns Tk 55 billion [Tk 5,500 crore] of revenue from this port. The trade between Bangladesh and India is being hampered for of lack of infrastructural facilities and gridlock at the port.
Diversifying Microcredit Programme
Bangladesh is acclaimed globally for its success in microcredit operations. The world is appreciative of the country for its microcredit success as the poor have benefited through their access to credit from Non-Banking Financial Institutions. Microcredit has, in fact, revolutionized the country’s socio-economic sector. It has empowered the impoverished people to come forward and participate in economic activities. It has brought Bangladesh a Nobel Peace Prize for being a microcredit model. However, there is the flip side as well. While the Non-Governmental Organizations [NGOs] involved in microcredit programmes flourished, the borrowers were perhaps not benefited in that proportion. The lending institutions started taking 30-40 per cent interest on loans. There were no fixed rules either. The government has decided to slash down interest rates on microcredit provided by the NGOs by 3.0 per cent in order to attain the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs]. The finance ministry approved the interest rates at 24 per cent after an MRA board meeting introduced the recommendation. The country’s poverty reduction programmes have made a good progress as a total of 330 million out of 400 million poor people are getting microcredit facilities over the last couple of years.
Foreign Companies control Tk 200cr Maize Seed Market
An expansion in the cultivation of maize has created a vibrant market worth more than Tk 200 crore for its seed that is captured almost exclusively by foreign firms in the absence of adequate good quality seeds developed locally. Monsanto, a subsidiary of German Bayer CropScience, is the market leader in Bangladesh’s hybrid maize seed market, where other multinationals Advanta, Pioneer, Syngenta and Indian firms such as Kaveri are formidable players. Farmers’ needs are changing with time and multinational companies are trying to fulfil that requirement, according to Mostafa Kamal, country manager of Monsanto. Introduced in the 1980s in the cropping pattern, cultivation of the cereal gradually gained momentum from the beginning of the 21st century, driven by demand from poultry industry for feed. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics [BBS] estimated that 10,000 tonnes of maize was grown on 12,000 acres in fiscal 2000-01. In 2017-18 acreage soared to 9.90 lakh acres and output 32.88 lakh tonnes, making maize the second biggest cereal crop replacing wheat. The increased plantation also buoyed sales and imports of maize seed, which sell at Tk 400-Tk 580 a kilogramme, to 6,654 tonnes in fiscal 2018-19 from 3,115 tonnes in 2009-10. And industry insiders expect the market would grow as much as 10 percent this year as more farmers will shift to maize cultivation thanks to the unusually low prices of the staple crop paddy. In fiscal 2018-19, Bangladesh’s maize import was 12.44 lakh tonnes, according to the PQW data.
Sour Loans unleash Banking crisis
Banks and financial institutions are facing a major crisis, triggered by rising troubled loans, high concentration on large borrowers and the lack of due diligence in credit disbursement, according to speakers. The warning came at a seminar on “Restructuring and liquidation of financial institutions and impact on stakeholders” in the city on Thursday last. According to President of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Osama Taseer high level of non-performing loans is weakening the Banking sector’s ability to lend. The high NPL impacts the financial sector as well the economy significantly as it squeezes the credit recycling largely. This is high time the authorities set a benchmark of sour loans across the financial sector and imposed restrictions on the poorly-performing institutions in collecting deposits. High deposit interest rate in turn increases the lending rates, impacts the private sector credit flow–from smaller firms to large businesses.
Over 0.1m dwellers of Ctg to Benefit from Projects
More than 0.1 million [one lakh] city-dwellers will benefit from the basic infrastructure development projects under ‘Remote Community Livelihood Quality Development’, according to Mayor AJM Nasiruddin. The city corporation, UNDP, UK Aid and the GOB are funding the ‘Remote Community Livelihood Quality Development’ project. Under this project, six kilometer connecting road, 31 tube-wells in 31 wards, 570 twin latrines, 14 community latrines, 19 bath rooms would be constructed aimed at improvement of lifestyle in remote communities. Besides, 10 thousand pregnant women will be provided with quality food items next year. Moreover, more than 0.1 million [one lakh five thousand] dwellers will get multiple health facilities during the period. The Chattogram City Corporation [CCC] has provided donations to 9,300 families for education, trading and skill development purpose in 19 city wards.
NASA Space Apps Challenge kicks off
NASA Space Apps Challenge 2019 kicked off in the city on Saturday aiming to open data to address real-world problems on Earth and in space. BASIS along with BASIS Student’s Forum has organized consecutively for the 5th time NASA Space Apps Challenge 2019. The partner of NASA Space Apps Challenge 2019-Bangladesh is Skill Development for Mobile Game & Application Project under ICT Division and Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh [IDEB]. The gold sponsor of this event is Evaly and internet partner is Aamra Networks Limited. This year more than 4,000 participants have submitted their projects. Out of them, top 45 teams have been selected for the Hack-a-Thon. Top 40 teams will fight in 36 hours long Hack-a-Thon on Saturday and Sunday. NASA has organized this event in 273 cities this year globally. From Bangladesh, nine cities -Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Barisal, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Khulna, Barisal and Comilla- have participated in the global Hack-a-Thon. This year’s campaign involved approximately 10 million students virtually and approximately 2,00,000 students took part physically in this event.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|↓ 255.68 ||↓ 0.95% |
|FTSE100||7,150.57 ||↓ 31.75 ||↓ 0.44%|
|Nikkei 225||22,492.68 || ↑ 40.82 ||↑ 0.18%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 53.78 ||↓ 0.15 ||↓ 0.28%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)|| $ 59.42 ||↓ 0.49 ||↓ 0.82%|
|Gold Spot|| $ 1,490.05 ||↓ 1.82 ||↓ 0.12% |
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.1121|
|GBP 1||BDT 107.809|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.7971|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17015|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<