Economists moot new poverty benchmark
Bangladesh should measure poverty by redefining the poverty-line income taking into account the changes occurred over time and improvement in living standards. The General Economic Division (GED) of the Planning Commission organised the event at its office to launch two books on poverty. The books were titled ‘Aiding Resilience among the Extreme Poor in Bangladesh’ and ‘Extreme Poverty, Growth and Inequality in Bangladesh’. Bangladesh’s poverty rate came down to 21.8 per cent and the extreme poverty rate to 11.3 per cent in 2018. The rates were 23.1 per cent and 12.1 per cent a year ago, the data showed. We need to think how to address the higher trend of income inequality as the Gini coefficient could go beyond 5.2 level within a short period. The Gini coefficient is a scale of measuring income inequality where 0 to 1.0 is considered as the lower to higher levels of inequality. The Gini coefficient in Bangladesh has now stood at 0.458, according to the BBS data. Extreme poor families cannot easily be reached through generic policy and operational packages. They require much more precise support, calibrated to their particular combination of circumstances.
Govt signs deal to set up biggest fertiliser factory
The government on Wednesday signed an agreement with Chinese and Japanese companies to build the country’s biggest-ever urea fertiliser factory in Narsingdi. The annual production capacity of the factory will be 0.92 million tonnes. The project titled ‘Ghorasal Polash Urea Fertiliser Project (GPUFP)’ will be implemented at the place of the existing two very old fertiliser factories — Urea Fertiliser Factory Ltd (UFFL) and Polash Urea Fertiliser Factory Ltd (PUFFL). Once implemented, the factory will produce 2,800 tonnes of Granular Urea a day, which is about three times higher than that of the existing two fertiliser factories. This project will be implemented through ‘Bidder Financing’ process, spending Tk 104.6 billion. Of the amount, the government will provide Tk 18.44 billion while the rest Tk 86.16 billion will come as commercial loan. he Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved a proposal for setting up Ghorashal Palash Urea Fertiliser Factory which will be completed by 2022. Currently, Shahjalal Fertiliser Factory in Fenchuganj of Sylhet is the country’s biggest fertiliser factory with an annual production capacity of 0.58 million tonnes.
ADB for updating mobile payment ecosystem
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) suggested upgrading the system infrastructure for enhanced mobile payment usage in Bangladesh. This will help the country move towards a cashless society. In Bangladesh, it said, mobile payment accounts for 18 per cent of the total payments. India makes such payments 41 per cent, China 69 per cent and Kenya 93 per cent. The usage of mobile payment in Bangladesh is still predominately person to person transfer. There are some 64.69 million registered clients in mobile financial services (MFS) as of August this year, according to the BB data. Of them, around 30 million accounts are active. In August, some 190 million transactions involving Tk 343 billion were made, with 6.30 million daily transactions on average. In the same month, some Tk 317 million came as remittance which was transferred using mobile financial services.
aamra for infrastructure development
aamra networks will utilise the unutilised IPO (initial public offering) fund for infrastructure development subject to approval from shareholders. It will take the shareholders’ approval on utilisation of unutilised IPO fund at the AGM (annual general meeting) to be held on December 24, 2018. As per the board’s decision, the untilised IPO fund worth above Tk 3.95 million will be utilised for BMRE for infrastructure development. aara networks also said above Tk 1.51 million has been saved in the head of BMRE for infrastructure development, data center set up and wi-fi hotspot setup due to lower purchase price and above Tk 2.44 million did not deposit to DESCO due to arrangement of different power source for data center setup.
Millennium Info wins gold award at IFFSA
Millennium Information Solution Limited, a subsidiary of Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd has received ‘Technology Provider of the Year’ GOLD(1st Prize) award at the Islamic Finance Forum for South Asia (IFFSA) Conference & Awards Night 2018, held in Colombo recently.
Steps underway to boost cotton yield
The government targets to raise cotton yield, as the local spinners and yarn producers have to spend billions of dollars to import the white fibre to produce garment items. The Cotton Development Board (CDB) has already started providing funds to cotton farmers—Tk 15,000 per head from a fund of Tk 5 crore—to encourage more people to produce the fibre. We have a target to expand the cotton cultivation area to 55,000 hectares from 43,500 hectares now in the next five years. Currently, yield per hectare stands at 1.5 tonnes and it would go up to 3-3.5 tonnes if hybrid seeds are used. The CDB hopes to produce 2.5 lakh bales of cotton by 2021, which would meet nearly 5-7 percent of the annual demand for the fibre in Bangladesh, the largest cotton importer in the world. Currently, Bangladesh imports $3 billion worth of cotton a year. Last fiscal year, the country produced 1.65 lakh bales of cotton, which can meet less than 3 percent of the annual demand of 10 million bales. One bale equals to 282 kilograms. Last fiscal year, the country imported 7.1 million bales of cotton, meeting 97 percent of the demand of the country’s more than 440 spinning mills. President of the Bangladesh Cotton Association, is hopeful that one day the local cotton will meet at least 15 percent of the demand. Of the imports, nearly 50 percent comes from India, down from about 60 percent two or three years ago, as importers have found some alternative markets, particularly in Africa.
Microcredit empowers women
Around 90 percent clients of 732 microcredit organisations operating currently in Bangladesh are womeny. Still women have limited access to finance. Microcredit empowers women and develops entrepreneurship in women and a majority of them clear loan payments regularly. Citibank NA Bangladesh announced the 14th edition of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards to honour the most innovative microentrepreneurs of the country. This year, the programme is being jointly organised by Shakti Foundation and Citibank NA Bangladesh with the Credit and Development Forum (CDF) as the strategic partner. The awards will be given in six categories: Best Microentrepreneur, Best Women Microentrepreneur, Best Youth Microentrepreneur, Best Microentrepreneur in Agriculture, Microfinance Institution and Innovative Microfinance Institution. Since the launch of the award in 2005 in Bangladesh, 68 microentrepreneurs and 21 microfinance institutions were awarded.
Red spinach farming expands in Rangpur on impressive profit
The farmers at different areas in the district are showing their interest in farming red spinach (Lal Shak) due to good profit. In recent times farming of leafy vegetables has increased across the district and its adjacent areas because of huge demand. Its farming has become lucrative as well. A good number of farmers are growing different varieties of leafy vegetables including red spinach on both their homesteads and other lands and they are getting financially benefited by selling their produces in markets. One farmer has earned Tk 25,000 so far by growing red spinach on 35 decimals of land. Another one earned Tk 20,000 by cultivating Lal Shak on 25 decimals of land. Harvesting of leafy vegetables including red spinach can be started within 25 to 30 days after sowing seeds. Traders from across the country are purchasing the vegetables and transporting those to their respective areas. According to DAE sources due to early farming of different leafy vegetables including red spinach peasants can earn good profit from the sale of their produces. DAE also assists the cultivators by providing them with required advices as well as agri-inputs.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 66.33||↓0.49||↓0.73%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 75.61||↓0.56||↓0.74%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,237.35||↑3.56||↑0.29%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 85.2290|
|GBP 1||BDT 109.8620|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.2463|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1622|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.