Important Business News Extracts – September 14, 2017
Amendment to banking companies act placed in parliament
The Banking Companies (Amendment) Act-2017, which allows the doubling of the number of directors in a bank’s board from a single family and extends the tenure of directors, was placed in the parliament yesterday. The proposed law has now been forwarded to the parliamentary standing committee on finance for further scrutiny. A report has to be submitted to the parliament within two months. The bill, which was placed by Finance Minister AMA Muhith, was met with strong opposition from Jatiya Party Lawmaker Fakhrul Imam, who termed the government move unethical. Raising the number of directors from two to four from a single family and the extension of the tenure from six years, or two consecutive terms, to nine years would strengthen a family’s grip in private banks, he said. They could become directors again after a three-year hiatus. “It will turn the banking sector into a family venture,” Imam said.
Payment through mobile banking accounts soared to Tk 100 crore in July, prompting the central bank to release monthly data for the financial service. “Transactions increased due to the ease of payment through the platform,” said Subhankar Saha, executive director of Bangladesh Bank. Abul Kashem Md Shirin, managing director of Dutch-Bangla Bank, which has a mobile financial service subsidiary named Rocket, echoed the same as Saha.
bKash Limited, the largest mobile financial service provider in Bangladesh, has been ranked No 23 on Fortune’s third annual ‘Change the World’ list, which recognizes top 50 companies that are changing the world through solving a multitude of societal problems. Fortune’s Change the World list recognises companies that have had a positive social impact through activities that are part of their core business strategy, the company said in a statement. Fortune writers and editors with the help from partners FSG and Shared Value Initiative evaluate and rank the companies by three factors: social impact, business results and degree of innovation. Fortune is one of the most influential and respected business magazines, published from the United States. The magazine says bKash allows people to make payments and transfer money via their phones.
The country’s trade deficit increased by 347.45 per cent to $1.05 billion in July, the first month of this fiscal year (2017-18), compared with that of $236 million in the same month a fiscal year ago, Bangladesh Bank data showed. An economist and Bangladesh Bank officials said that the trade gap widened significantly in July due to a surge in import payments. The trade deficit, the gap between export earnings and import payments, hit an all-time high in last fiscal year (2016-17) standing at $9.47 billion, up 46.62 per cent compared with that of the FY 2015-16. Former interim government adviser Mirza Azizul Islam told New Age on Wednesday that large import payments in July had created the trade gap and the export earnings also did not reach to a satisfactory level. He said that the government should take initiative to increase the country’s export volume to reduce the trade gap.
StanChart rolls out online forex trading platform for corporates
TK Group of Industries will use Standard Chartered’s online foreign exchange trading platform to carry out cross-border transactions, as per a deal signed yesterday. The agreement makes TK Group the first Bangladeshi company to adopt the platform known as Straight2Bank Exchange (S2BX). With this, the bank also opened up the online forex trading platform for corporate clients in Bangladesh. S2BX offers exceptional speed of execution and broad currency coverage as well as transaction history and accessibility to the foreign exchange market, said the bank in a statement. It said S2BX has widely been adopted by authorised dealers in the local interbank foreign exchange market.
Dhaka Bank Limited signed an agreement with Linnex Electronic Bangladesh Limited
Dhaka Bank Limited recently signed an agreement with Linnex Electronic Bangladesh Limited, a concern of Bengal Group, in the city recently. Head of Retail Banking Md Shafquat Hossain, Head of Cards Business of the bank HM Mostafizur Rahaman and Chief Marketing Officer of Bengal Group Aftab Mahmud Khurshid along with other officials were present on the occasion.
Midland Power signs deal with Chinese company to build power plant
Local Midland Power has awarded the Chinese power giant CRRC Corporation to construct its second power plant, the 150-megawatt Midland East, at a cost of $40 million. An engineering, procurement and construction agreement will be signed with CRRC on Saturday in Dhaka, said KM Rezaul Hasanat, chairman of Midland Power, joint venture of Viyellatex Group and Shahjibazar Power. After discussions with four international companies, the Midland management decided to strike the deal with CRRC as the Chinese company offered the most competitive rate, Hasanat said. Under the agreement, CRRC will construct the plant, procure the machinery and set them up. The plant, which would be constructed on nine acres of land at Ashuganj in Brahmanbaria district, would cost $110 million. Of the costs, Hasanat said 80 percent would come from local Eastern Bank and the remaining 20 percent from Viyellatex Group and Shahjibazar Power.
Leather footwear exporters getting prepared for fair
A preparatory meeting for organizing the footwear sourcing fair was held at the Commerce Ministry on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Leather Footwear & Leather Goods International Sourcing Show 2017 (BLISS) is scheduled for November 16-18, 2017, the association said in a statement. The Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) and Commerce Ministry will jointly organize the fair at International Convention City in Dhaka. Commerce Secretary Shubhashish Bose presided over the meeting. Additional Secretary of the Commerce Ministry M Abdur Rauf, the LFMEAB President Mohammad Saiful Islam, Advisor of Syed Nasim Manzur and Executive Director Kazi Roushan Ara were present at the meeting. Representatives from Bangladesh Bank, Finance ministry, Industries ministry, Ministry of Environment and Forest, National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh Tariff Commission, Export Promotion Bureau were also present at the meeting.
The government has undertaken initiatives to set up Hi-Tech Park, Software Technology Park and IT Village in the country aimed at creating employment for over 0.236 million (2,36,500) people. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said this in the Jatiya Sangsad (parliament) on Wednesday. Replying to a starred question from treasury bench member Ali Azam of Bhola-2, she informed the House that the government has undertaken projects and programmes for creating jobs for the 2,36,500 by installing Bangabandhu Hi- Tech City at Gazipur, Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park at Jessore, Hi-Tech Park at Sylhet (Sylhet Electronics City), Barendra Silicon City at Rajshahi, 12 IT parks, Mohakhali IT Village and Janata Tower Software Technology Park in Dhaka.
Trade, investment get priority as BD, Georgia have consultations
Bangladesh and Georgia agreed to enhance mutual cooperation in the areas of education, cultural exchange and agriculture and explore opportunities of exports to Georgia. At the first foreign office consultations (FoC) between the two countries in the city on Tuesday, both sides looked at ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations. They also identified exchange of trade delegations and investment, especially in the tourism sector, as areas of priority. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh side while Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia David Jalagani led his country’s delegation at the meeting, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.
India eyes product pipeline to Bangladesh, Myanmar
Bangladesh and India are in advanced stages of finalizing a project deal on product pipeline. Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) is in talks with the Bangladesh government to set up around a 1.0 million tonne product pipeline to the country, according to a report by www.financialexpress.com of India. BPCL is also mulling with an idea to set another pipeline to Myanmar to cater to the rising demand and counter the geopolitical issues created by the presence of China in the region. It has also planned expansion of the pipeline into Thailand. High official of BPCL is hopeful the 300-km pipeline in Bangladesh will commission in next two-to-three years. R Ramachandran, director (refineries) at BPCL further informed the the company will invest around Rs 4.00 billion for this project. The oil refiner will sell MS-HSD (motor spirit and high speed diesel) from its Numaligarh refinery which is in process of expansion to 9 mtpa. The expansion will further increase the avenues of growth to places like Myanmar and Thailand as well.
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