Social Islami Bank faces ‘hostile’ takeover
After the top-level management of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL) was removed, forcibly according to critics, on January 5 this year, Social Islami Bank Ltd (SIBL) on Monday faced a similar series of drastic changes to its upper echelon. SIBL Chairman Major (Retd) Dr Md Rezaul Haque and Executive Committee Chairman Md Anisul Hoque were replaced by former Chittagong University vice-chancellor Prof Anwarul Azim Arif and Belal Ahmed, vice chairman of NRB Global Bank, respectively, inside sources told the Dhaka Tribune. The Managing Director of SIBL, Shahid Hossain, has also stepped down and been replaced by Quazi Osman Ali, additional managing director of First Security Islami Bank Ltd, sources confirmed. The names of the replacements will be sent to the Bangladesh Security Exchange Commission (BSEC) and Bangladesh Bank (BB) for approval.
Three banks, one NBFI to issue BDT 22.0 billion bond
Three listed banks and a financial institution will issue bond of BDT 22.0 billion to strengthen their capital base subject to approval of the regulatory authorities, according to separate disclosures on Monday. Three banks and a non-bank financial institution (NBFI) which will issue bonds are: Southeast Bank, Trust Bank, Prime Bank and Uttara Finance. Southeast Bank: The board of directors of Southeast Bank has adopted the resolution for the issuance of Southeast Bank 7 years Non-Convertible Subordinated Bond of BDT 5.0 billion to raise Tier-II Capital of the Bank. Trust Bank: The board of directors of Trust Bank has approved issuance of fully redeemable non-convertible unsecured subordinated bond IV worth BDT 5.0 billion to strengthen its capital base subject to approval of the regulatory authorities. Prime Bank: The board of directors of Prime Bank has decided to issue “Prime Bank Subordinated Bond-3” up to BDT 7.0 billion for raising Tier-II capital subject to approval of the regulatory authorities. Uttara Finance: The board of directors of Uttara Finance has accorded approval to issue non-convertible zero coupon bonds through private placement at a discounted issue price of BDT 5.0 billion, subject to the approval of the regulatory bodies.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) urges banks to act cagily, lower borrowing from DBUs
The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has advised the commercial banks to act cautiously, particularly in operating their offshore banking units (OBUs), to avert possible exchange rate risk in future. The banks, which are running OBUs, have also been directed to bring down borrowing from onshore sources, officially known as domestic banking units (DBUs), at a reasonable level from the existing one. Currently, total exposure of the OBUs stands at USD 6.40 billion, of which USD 2.25 billion has been financed from the DBUs, according to the BB’s latest statistics. The instructions were given at a meeting of 29 banks, held at the central bank headquarters in the capital on Monday, with BB Deputy Governor S K Sur Chowdhury in the chair. Higher financing from the DBUs has already created a liquidity pressure on the country’s foreign exchange market, they added. Operations of the OBUs are normally maintained by the banks concerned through collection of funds from their own sources, overseas sources and taking clean deposit from other banks.
Govt warns FIs of cyber espionage
The country’s all financial institutions (FIs) have been asked to take preventive measures in a bid to secure their online activities including financial transaction. The government instruction came as infamous cyber espionage groups called Lazarus and Cobaltgoblin have successfully breached the FIs of Bangladesh, Malaysia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, China (Hong Kong) and Vietnam. In a letter issued by Director of the Data Center and Cyber Security of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) Tarique M Barkatullah dated October 24 requested all the FIs to install new generation firewall with anti-Advanced Persistent Threat (APT), Threat Intelligence Service and genuine software to secure online activities. The United States Computer Incidence Response Team (US CISCO) report says it has been able to monitor active APT actors in the region namely the infamous Lazarus group and Cobaltgoblin group that use Carbanak-style attacks.
Accelerating digital inclusion
At the start of the twenty-first century, technology began levelling the playing field for entrepreneurs worldwide. Over the next decade, this flattening of the world’s economy continued with further advancements in technology. Today, there are more than 150 discrete technologies that are changing the world around us faster than ever. As technology rapidly eliminates geographic barriers, it has begun enabling a group of entrepreneurs in Bangladesh to compete globally. At the same time, the challenge of the widening digital divide in the local population remains. The successful adoption of modern technologies can help address this challenge in an effective manner.
Graft deters foreign investment
Corruption, cumbersome customs procedures and poor sanitary and phytosanitary standards are major barriers to attracting foreign direct investment to the country, said the US ambassador to Bangladesh yesterday. “Fewer problems, no corruption and quicker electricity and gas connections are Bangladesh’s selling points to foreign investors,” said Marcia Bernicat. She said other factors acting as hurdles to bring FDI include inefficient bureaucracy, unfair trade, unnecessary or arbitrary regulations, biased tendering process and poor performance of ports.
Exports to UK beat Brexit fears
Buoyed by higher shipments of apparel items, Bangladesh’s exports to the UK are on the rise although British consumers have been hit hard by rising inflation amid Brexit pressure. The UK’s key inflation rate hit its highest for more than five years in September, driven up by increases in transport and food prices. The Consumer Prices Index climbed to 3%, a level it last reached in April 2012, and up from 2.9% in August, according to BBC. But exports from Bangladesh increased 22.29% year-on-year to USD 1.03 billion in the July-September period of the fiscal year. During the quarter, garment shipment to the UK grew 10.47% to USD 862.28 million.
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) floats tender to build 150MW plant at Syedpur
Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has floated tender, inviting bids by November 29, to build a 150-megawatt (MW) power plant at Syedpur in northern region of the country. The plant will run on diesel to be imported from India, said officials. It would annually consume around 150,000 tonnes of diesel to be imported through the proposed 130km cross-country pipeline. It would be the first tender in last seven years to set up a diesel-fired power plant, said a senior official. The BPDB sought the bid winner to be responsible for engineering, design, manufacturing, inspection, supply, installation, erection, testing and commissioning of the Syedpur plant. The BPDB in August last selected five private firms without tender for implementing five diesel-fired power plants having a total generation capacity of 800 MW electricity.Officials said the plants were awarded to the firms through unsolicited offers under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special Provision) Act – 2010, having a provision of immunity to the people involved in implementing the projects.
Government sits with traders today as onion prices keep spiraling
The ministry of commerce (MoC) sits with onion importers and traders today (Tuesday) aiming to contain its soaring prices, officials said. Officials from Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC), Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), food and agriculture ministries, Bangladesh Bank and National Board of Revenue (NBR) are expected to attend the meeting, among other agencies. The prices of onion surged by 73.33% in the last one month while by 170.83% in the last one year, according to Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). Depending on its quality, onion was selling between BDT 75 and BDT 85 per kilogram on Monday at the retail level in the city’s kitchen markets. Onion was sold between BDT 35 and BDT 40 per kg one month ago, compared with BDT 20-Tk 28 a kg a year ago.
PHP’s recycling yard gets international certification
The recycling yard of Chittagong-based PHP Family has received a Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention, for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. This is the first Bangladeshi yard to gain the certification given by international classification society RINA, according to a press release. PHP Family yard has worked hard to improve their safety and environmental standards,” said Anil Sharma, president and CEO of GMS, a cash buyer of ships for recycling.
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