Important Business News Extracts – September 06, 2017
Govt resumes borrowing from banks to meet budget deficit
The government restarted borrowing from the banking system, ending over a month’s suspension, through auctioning its securities for part financing of budget deficit. Exigencies of food import following crop losses and repairs of flood-damaged infrastructures, especially roads, are also seen as expedients for resuming the government bank borrowing. As part of the latest moves, the government borrowed Monday Tk 15 billion from banks by issuing 91-Day and 364-Day treasury bills (T-bills) at auctions held at the central bank headquarters in Dhaka. It borrowed at cut rates of yield, generally known as interest. The rate on 91-Day T-bills came down to 3.97 per cent on the day from 4.01 per cent of the previous auction held on July 17. On the other hand, the pared-down yield on 364-Day T-bills stood at 4.43 per cent in a fall from 4.47 per cent of the previous auction held on July 10, according to the auction results. The interest rate on T-bills fell slightly on the day as the commercial banks rushed to offer their bids in auctions, according to a senior treasury official of a leading private commercial bank (PCB).
The cost of funds that Bangladesh gets from the World Bank is likely to double the next fiscal year, thanks to a rise in the country’s per capita income. Bangladesh is set to graduate from its current “IDA-only” status to the “gap” status since its gross national income per capita crossed the USD 1,165-mark last fiscal year and is on course to repeating it this year too. To continue to get loans at concessionary terms from the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group which hands out loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries, Bangladesh’s GNI per capita has to be less than USD 1,165.
Bangladesh performance in financial inclusion not impressive
Bangladesh lags behind neighboring India and Pakistan in attaining financial inclusion of people from various social strata, according to a survey. The country ranked 19th, scoring 66 in the ratings, out of 26 countries in the global financial inclusion report. The US-based Brookings Institution, which has been releasing the Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Reports (FDIPs) since 2015, said Bangladesh’s rank remained same as that of last year. Bangladesh received its highest score (89%) in the country-commitment category which underscores countries having enhanced their national-level commitments to advancing financial inclusion. It scored 83% in mobile-capacity category in the year under review. In regulatory-environment category Bangladesh scored 78% while in the adoption category 39%, according to the report.
The government is going to rebase and revise the GDP year to 2015-16 from the existing 2005-2006, incorporating many more emerging areas of economic activities into the calculation of economic output. Once measured according to the new base, the country’s GDP size and per capita income will go up, officials at the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) said, reports UNB. The changes in size of the real GDP will be mainly due to the inclusion of some new sectors in the calculation and price changes between the two periods. In Bangladesh, the usual practice was to revise GDP base year in every 10 years. In 2013, the base year was changed from 1995-96 to 2005-06.
World Bank (WB) suggests NBR carry on tax admin automation for smooth roll-out
The World Bank has suggested that the National Board of Revenue should go forward with its efforts to automate the tax administration focusing on broadening the tax base, boosting compliance rates and expanding tax withholding mechanisms to ensure a smooth roll-out of the new VAT system in 2019. The multilateral lending agency has also suggested that the NBR should develop an action plan to ensure that all key elements are in place by the time. The suggestions came following a deferral of implementation of the new Value-Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act-2012 for two more years. The new law was supposed to come into force from July this year. The NBR can utilize the time it has got due to the postponement of implementation of the law to be better prepared for the new VAT system.
Multinationals to pass decision on offloading shares to parent companies
The Ministry of Industries (MOI) has asked multinational companies, including Unilever Bangladesh Ltd, to place proposals to their parent firms to offload their shares, an inside source has confirmed. In addition to Unilever Bangladesh, Sanofi Bangladesh Ltd and Novartis Pharma Ltd were also present. The source said the ministry will inform all the stakeholders and arrange a high-level meeting for offloading the shares, if the Financial Institutions Division takes an initiative regarding the move. In the meeting, the representative of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd said the ministry’s proposal cannot be fulfilled unless Unilever’s parent company in the United Kingdom allows it. The representative said Unilever Bangladesh does not need extra funds from the stock market due to its nature operation in Bangladesh, and that it is also not possible to offload its shares in the stock market because there is a shortage of existing paid-up capital. The Novartis Pharma Limited representative expressed his company’s interest in offloading their shares but also said they do not have enough paid-up capital. After issuing two right shares, Novartis’ paid-up capital stands at BDT 117.5 million.
Ashuganj Power Station Company Limited (APSCL) seeks to build power plant at Pyra
The Ashuganj Power Station Company Limited (APSCL) will build a 1320-megawatt (MW) capacity coal-fired power plant at Pyra port area as it will start developing land this year for the project, officials said. The APSCL MD Mr Rahman said they would form a joint-venture (JU) with a Chinese company “Energy China” for constructing the 1320MW power station at Pyra. Meanwhile, some other state-owned companies have also taken steps to set up coal-fired power stations at Pyra to supply electricity to the national grid in a bid to fulfil country’s growing demands for power. The North West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) has also planned to set up a 1,320MW plant at Pyra.
The prices of fine-grade rice increased on both wholesale and retail markets in capital Dhaka after Eid-ul-Azha that was celebrated on Saturday. Retailers said that the prices of Miniket rice and BR-28 rice increased by Tk 2 a kilogram on the retail markets as the wholesale prices of the items soared by Tk 100 a bag (50 kg) after Eid. They, however, said that the prices of coarse varieties of rice remained unchanged on the market. The prices of BR-28 rice increased by Tk 2 a kg and its coarse variety was retailing at Tk 50-52 a kg in the city markets, while its fine variety was selling at Tk 52-54 a kg on Tuesday. The coarse variety of Miniket rice was retailing at Tk 56-57 a kg, while its fine variety was selling at Tk 58-60 a kg. Mizanur Rahman, proprietor of Hazi Mizan Store at Karwan Bazar in Dhaka, told New Age that the wholesale prices of BR-28 and Miniket rice increased by Tk 100 a bag and the items were selling at Tk 2,400-2,450 a bag and Tk 2,700-2,750 a bag respectively on Tuesday. ‘After Eid-ul-Azha, wholesalers raised the prices of rice on the pretext of a supply shortage during the Eid vacation,’ he said. Mizanur said that it was a common phenomenon that the prices of rice increased in the city markets after every Eid as wholesalers used transport crisis and vacation at the rice mills as an excuse for raising the prices.
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