Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked two state-owned specialised banks (SBs) for taking effective measures immediately to reduce the volume of classified loans and improve their respective financial health, officials said. Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB) and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB) have also been instructed to improve their financial health through expediting loan recovery drives across the country. The overall non-performing loans (NPLs) in the two banks increased by more than 10 per cent or Tk 5.29 billion to Tk 58.17 billion in the fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 from Tk 52.87 billion at the end of previous fiscal year. The instructions were given at a meeting at the central bank headquarters in the capital Monday, with BB Deputy Governor Abu Hena Mohd. Razee Hassan in the chair. The chief executive officers (CEOs)-cum-managing directors (MDs) of the public sector banks were present. The meeting reviewed the progress of implementing the memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and key financial indicators of the two banks dedicated to promote the agriculture sector.
World Bank’s costly lending scheme set to begin soon in Bangladesh
The government has agreed to take USD 300.0 million loan from the World Bank at four% annual interest rate that would mark the beginning of costly lending programs by the bank in the country. Officials told New Age that the WB had offered USD 450.0 million loan to the government from its newly introduced lending option called the Scale-Up Facility. But the government agreed to take USD 300.0 million for implementation of three proposed infrastructure projects including establishment of a power plant, they said. Proposed credit from SUF would be in addition to the WB-sponsored International Development Association credits at less than 1.0% interest rate that the country has been receiving for long. Economist Mirza Azizul Islam said the proposed new WB loan would be costly. It was unnecessary for the government to take loan from SUF when it failed to utilize loans at low interest from the multilateral donors, said the former finance adviser of caretaker government. He said the government should examine the risk factors of the proposed loan although the amount was not a big one. Economic Relations Division additional secretary Kazi Shafiqul Alam said negotiations between the government and the WB were going on to select the projects to be implemented by the Scale-Up Facility credits.
India’s NIA to train Bangladesh police to detect fake currency
India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) will train nearly 200 Bangladesh police officials in detecting Fake Indian Currency Notes (FICN), officials have said. NIA officials said on Monday that 80 per cent of the counterfeit Indian currency pumped into India was routed through Bangladesh. In the last few years, Bangladesh agencies have cracked down on these rackets and made large seizures including seizing shipping containers loaded with fake currency at Chittagong port.
National Board of Revenue (NBR) has completed preparation to hold its annual weeklong income tax fair in the capital and other divisional cities from November 1 at its own building in the city’s Agargaon. The fair will also be held at all districts and 86 Upazilas. The fair at the district level will be of four days and at the Upazila level the duration will be of one or two days, said the NBR. The NBR will also observe the National Income Tax Day on November 30.
Individual taxpayers who will fail to file income tax returns by the November deadline would face problems in drawing their salary income from December, officials of the National Board of Revenue said. They said that the tax authorities would ask the government agencies and private firms to stop disbursement of salaries to the tax defaulting employees. The NBR will take step to recover the due taxes from the errant taxpayers, they added. The Income Tax Ordinance-1984 has set the November 30 as the Tax Day and as the deadline for tax payment and submission of income tax returns and there is no scope for extension of the deadline in the law. Taxmen will impose a delay interest at the rate of 2 per cent per month on the applicable income tax for failure in filing returns before expiry of the deadline. According to the income tax ordinance, deputy commissioner of taxes has the power to ask employers to withhold disbursement of salaries to defaulting assessees for the purpose of recovery of due tax.
Development spending improved slightly in the first quarter of the fiscal year but it is still lagging far behind the historical trend. Between the months of July to September, the ministries and divisions put to use 8.8% of their total outlay for fiscal 2016-17, up from 7.0% they managed a year earlier. The slight increase would come as a setback to the government, which has taken a host of initiatives over the last two to three years to bump up development spending. Since fiscal 2012-13, Annual Development Program spending in percentage of the total outlay had been on the downslide. In the first quarter of fiscal 2012-13, the total ADP implementation was 13.0% of their total outlay. The rate of implementation progressively decreased and last fiscal year the percentage stood at only 7.0%. However, in terms of amount, spending had a big jump — by about 59.0% — in the first quarter of the fiscal year. Some BDT 107.9 billion was spent in the first three months of the fiscal year, in contrast to BDT 68.1 billion, according to statistics from the Implementation, Monitoring & Evaluation Division.
The telecom regulator is likely to reduce the annual licence fees for the 882 VSP operators to Tk 25,000 from existing Tk 1 lakh in a bid to facilitate the business. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission officials said that a proposal was prepared in this regard after majority of the VSP operators failed to pay their dues because of the dull business situation. According to BTRC data, the total dues of the VSPs, who operate voice over internet protocol (VoIP) business, were around Tk 12 crore last year when only 88 of total 882 VSPs paid their annual fees and late fees.
Beximco Pharma receives second product approval from US FDA
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for Sotalol Hydrochloride, a generic version of the cardiovascular drug Betapace, following submission of an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) in June 2014, said a statement. This is the second product from Beximco Pharma to be approved by the US FDA after Carvedilol, a prescription drug for treating hypertension, which was approved in July 2015. This approval will allow Beximco Pharma to produce Sotalol tablets in different strengths, i.e. 80 mg, 120 mg and 160 mg. The Company expects to launch this product during the first quarter of 2017.
Grameenphone Ltd has re-launched its wallet service with a new brand name ‘GPAY’ – a digitised and smart way to avail GP’s existing range of payment services. To make the lives of its customers easier, Grameenphone (GP) formally launched the service at a programme held at Westin Hotel in the capital yesterday. Erwan Gelebart, head of mobile financial services (MFS), and Mahmud Hossain, chief corporate affairs officer, along with other senior officials of the leading cellphone operator were present at the launching ceremony. “With the advent of GPAY, customers will not have to stand in long queues for paying their utility bills or buying train tickets. Instead, they will be able to do it 24/7 from anywhere just with a tap of their finger,” said Erwan Gelebart. He said GPAY has the largest biller portfolio with 14 utility companies and it is quickly expanding across the country. Bangladesh strongly needs a cashless ecosystem in the context of Digital Bangladesh vision. As a digital service provider, Grameenphone’s rebranded GPAY Wallet/app will take Bangladesh one step forward towards digitised citizen-centric services for the mass population especially of the deep rural inhabitants.
Poor energy base, lack of export diversification bar to economic growth in Bangladesh: ADB
Lack of energy infrastructure, uncertainties in property ownership and lack of export diversification are signiﬁcant barriers to productive economic growth in Bangladesh, says a new ADB study. In its study report on Bangladesh Consolidating Export-led Growth: Country Diagnostics Study released recently, ADB said Bangladesh has transformed its economy over the last two decades, graduating to middle-income status, as the average annual growth remained strong at 5.0%–6.0%. But the country’s goal to become an upper middle-income country by 2021 will require even stronger annual growth of 7.5%–8.0%. The study argues that some of the policies that allowed Bangladesh to prosper in the last few years will become less effective, and the economy will need to “switch gears” to consolidate the growth momentum over the medium term. It finds that the most critical constraints to growth are insufficient reliable energy supply, policies that indirectly stunt development of economic activities unrelated to ready-made garment exports, and insufficient security about property and land rights due in part to inadequate registry systems. If policies are designed to urgently tackle these constraints, Bangladesh will be free to harness its potential for inclusive and sustainable growth.
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.
ABOUT DHAKA BANK
Dhaka Bank has truly cherished and brought into focus the heritage and history of Dhaka and Bangladesh from Mughal outpost to modern metropolis. Most of its presentation, publications, brand initiatives, delivery channels, calendars and financial manifestations bear Bank’s commitment to this attachment.