Govt launches three Online Platforms
Three digital one-stop platforms — Eksheba, Ekpay and Ekshop — to enable people to get different government services and pay utility bills and fees were launched yesterday. Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy launched the platforms in a ceremony organized by the Information and Communication Technology [ICT] division at the ICT Tower in Dhaka. The platforms were developed by the Access to Information [a2i] programme under the ICT division. By 2021, the government plans to deliver majority of the citizen services through the mobile phone or union digital centres, said Joy at the launch, report BSS. Using the Ekpay platform citizens will be able to pay all kinds of utility bills, tuition fees for education and other government payments like holding taxes easily. Currently, EkPay is offering bill payment solutions to over 50 assisted agents and more than 50,000 syndicated agents. Some 15 Banks have already been integrated with the platform and more than 30 service providers are currently allowing their customers to pay bills with their cards, Bank accounts including Internet Banking, mobile financial services, among other options.
PM calls for boosting Trade, Commerce with Vietnam
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday put emphasis on boosting trade and commerce between Bangladesh and Vietnam for mutual benefits of the two countries, reports BSS. The Southeast Asia has a huge population and we can enhance our trade and commerce by utilizing this advantage. The Prime Minister expressed this view when outgoing Vietnamese Ambassador in Dhaka Tran Van Khoa paid a call on her at her office in the city on Sunday morning. The Vietnamese ambassador laid emphasis on bolstering cooperation in the fields of trade, tourism and people-to-people contact between the two countries. Tran Van Khoa mentioned that the existing annual trade volume between the two countries is US Dollar 800 to 900 million. Referring to the existing bilateral ties between the two countries, Tran Van Khoa said Vietnam attaches highest priority to its relations with Bangladesh.
BEZA launches One-Stop Service Centre
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority [BEZA] is set to launch its ‘One Stop Service [OSS] Centre’ formally today [Monday] for providing all necessary services to the investors of the economic zones at a single window. BEZA has already started to provide most of the services through the centre. Investors in the economic zones will get all sorts of services at a single window to start their business within a short time. BEZA had selected a total of 107 services under OSS centre. Out of the services, BEZA is providing 52 services directly while the other 55 are being provided through the assistance of different ministries or departments. BEZA is providing most of the services manually, but the services will become online once. Now, the authority is providing 11 services online and more four services will be added soon.
NBR to cut Shipment Clearance Times
The government aims to bring down the clearance time for imported consignments to two days from the existing eight days by 2022. For exports, it targets 24 hours from the existing five days by bringing all 39 agencies involved in processing overseas shipments under a single electronic platform. This was disclosed at a workshop jointly organized by the National Board of Revenue [NBR] and the International Finance Corporation [IFC] at The Palace Luxury Resort in Habiganj yesterday. With support from World Bank-financed Bangladesh Regional Connectivity Project 1, the NBR is implementing a $74 million National Single Window [NSW] project to establish an electronic gateway to speed up the clearance process and reduce business costs. Once the project is implemented, some 208 types of services would be provided and it is likely to benefit 319,000 importers and exporters, according to the NBR, which signed an agreement with the 39 agencies in August last year.
Stocks end two-day losing streak
Stocks ended marginally higher on Sunday, snapping a two-day losing streak, as bargain hunters showed their buying appetite on sector-specific shares. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange [DSE], went up by 11.09 points or 0.23 per cent to settle at 4,782, after losing 50 points in the last two consecutive sessions. Most of the investors remained worried amid recent volatility in the market, according to Market Analysts. The enthusiastic investors were active on large-cap United Power, BATBC, Square Pharma, Grameenphone and LafargeHolcim stocks, contributing 22 points gain of DSEX jointly. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, gained 6.93 points to finish at 1,685 and the DSE Shariah Index advanced 5.17 points to close at 1,099.
National Tubes generates Highest Turnover
Ten most traded companies accounted for more than 26 per cent of transactions on the prime bourse on Sunday, with the National Tubes generating the highest turnover. According to Market analysts, a section of investors continued to show their appetite on National Tubes shares amid dividend expectation as its share price soared 19 per cent within a month without having any undisclosed price sensitive information. According to the Dhaka Stock Exchange [DSE] data, some 751,895 shares of National Tubes were traded, generating a turnover of nearly 144 million, which was 4.61 per cent of the day’s total turnover of Tk 3.12 million. The company’s paid-up capital is Tk 316.56 million and authorized capital is Tk 1.0 billion while total number of securities is 31.65 million. The sponsor-directors own 0.05 per cent stake in the company, while the government owns 51 per cent, institutional investors own 20.14 per cent and the general public 28.81 per cent as of August 31, 2019, the DSE data showed.
Accolade for UCB
United Commercial Bank Limited [UCB] has received an award named ‘Excellence in Product Innovation 2018-2019’ from VISA International Limited. Executive Vice President & Head of Retail Business of UCB Taufiq Hassan and First Vice President & Head of Cards Nehal A Huda received the award. The accolade is a testament of UCB’s feat in launching contactless payments.
Parboiled Rice Export plan hits snag
The initiative to export parboiled rice from Bangladesh is yet to make any headway due to lack of proper incentives, according to traders. Export of this daily-consumed white rice was banned in the country in 2009, and export of only fragrant rice was allowed on a limited scale. The government in this financial year, FY ’20, has withdrawn the ban amid a drastic fall in paddy prices following a record production of the staple that has come as a severe blow to farmers. However, export of fragrant rice has marked a good progress, and it can be further raised, if provided with incentives. Bangladesh exported above 22,400 tonnes of rice worth US $ 17.7 million in last fiscal year [FY ’19], of which 100 per cent was fragrant rice. The export was 11,000 tonnes worth $ 7.13 million in FY ’18, according to the Bangladesh Rice Exporters Association [BREA] and the Export Promotion Bureau [EPB].
No Brazil Beef sans Scrutiny: Tipu
Bangladesh will not approve without scrutiny Brazil’s offer to sell beef to the South Asian country in exchange for Readymade Garment [RMG]. According to the Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, this amid opposition from local livestock industry leaders to plan to allow meat import. There’s no scope for taking a decision without review. The country’s interests come first. Local industries must be protected while signing Free Trade Agreements [FTA] with other countries. Bangladesh currently imports frozen meat from India, Australia and Indonesia, though the livestock farmers and traders say it is unnecessary. Bangladesh will become one of the top meat producers in the world soon as in fish and vegetables. Import is unnecessary because Bangladesh is sel-sufficient in meat, livestock farmers and traders say. Annual meat import costs rose three fold in five years to about $2.5 million in fiscal year 2017-18.
Defaulters rush to State Banks to Reschedule Loans
Five State-owned Commercial Banks have received nearly 80 percent of loan rescheduling applications as defaulters rush to regularize their credits on easy terms under a special facility extended by the Central Bank. Around 4,000 loan rescheduling proposals have been submitted as of yesterday, the last day for sending in the applications as per the latest deadline, according to the officials of the Banks. Of the lenders, five state-run commercial Banks Sonali, Janata, BASIC, Agrani and Rupali received more than 3,000 proposals. While the state-run Banks were flooded with the rescheduling applications, the picture was opposite for private Banks as they were not much interested about offering the wholesale facility to the defaulters. The Bank received more than 700 proposals involving around Tk 10,000 crore, including Tk 3,000 crore for AnonTex Group. The BB also capped the maximum interest rate at 9 percent, down from the existing rate of 10-14 percent.
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||22,555.34 || ↑ 62.66 ||↑ 0.28%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)|| $ 53.67 ||↓ 0.11 ||↓ 0.20%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)|| $ 59.25 ||↓ 0.17 ||↓ 0.29%|
|Gold Spot|| $1,490.21 ||↑ 0.16 ||↑ 0.01%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.1121|
|GBP 1||BDT 107.741|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.7861|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17010|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<