Expert suggests Ctg port takeover by int’l operators
The management of the country’s main sea port Chittagong should be handed over to an international port management entity to increase its efficiency. Over the next five years, the number of ships arriving at the Chittagong port will increase by 100 per cent. International Business Forum of Bangladesh (IBFB) organised the seminar. At present, there are 16 berths for container ships. Out of those, three have been operating gantry cranes. Three more cranes are being installed. However, if all 16 berths have gantry cranes, then the time for loading and unloading will be reduced to less than two days. At the same time, the number of ships that can be handled will increase to about 2200. In this context, he recommended that 10 more cranes be installed immediately to cover all 16 berths. At the same time, plans should be laid out immediately for a bayside terminal with sufficient capacity to install 16 berths. As part of boosting the shipping and other transport logistics in the country, we have already increased the number of berth at Chittagong port from 6 to 16 while the number of cranes will be increased to 10 this year. A total of 10 new land ports have been established in last nine years while we have plan to establish 12 more land ports.
BD loses $6.5b to urban pollution a year, says WB
Bangladesh loses about US$ 6.5 billion due to pollution and environmental degradation in its urban areas every year, according to a World Bank (WB) report. The amount is equivalent to 3.4 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015. The economic cost of mortality in terms of foregone labour output is estimated at $ 1.40 billion in the urban areas, which is equivalent to 0.7 per cent of Bangladesh’s GDP in that year. Of the foregone labour output, $ 310 million, equivalent to 0.2 per cent of GDP, is estimated to have incurred in Dhaka alone. The WB report said pollution, which has reached an alarming level, caused about 80,000 deaths in the cities in 2015. Twenty eight per cent of all deaths were from diseases caused by pollution across the country, compared to the global average of 16 per cent. Although textile sector plays an important role in driving the national economy forward, the report revealed that the sector produces 2.81 million tonnes of wastes annually as of 2012. Nearly one million people in Bangladesh, mostly poor, are at risk of lead contamination. Besides, in the last 40 years, Dhaka lost about 75 per cent of its wetlands. Some 18,000 deaths from environmental pollution occurred in 2015 in Dhaka, the second least live able city in the world. In addition, 578,000 life years were lost in the capital in that year alone, showing the urgency to immediately fix its environment, noted the report. Regarding the weak enforcement of law, the minister opined that Bangladesh is at a low level due to some compulsions and complications.
Robi set to transfer 20pc stake to edotco at $120m
Mobile operator Robi is set to offload its 20 per cent stake valued at US$120 million to edotco Bangladesh, a Malaysia-based telecommunications infrastructure services company. Bangladesh’s second largest mobile phone operator has taken the latest initiative to facilitate edotco Bangladesh Co. Ltd. (edotco BD) for complying with the rules to be eligible for the license of tower company which will operate mobile towers across the country. Malaysia-based edotco Group holds 80 per cent shares of edotco BD while Robi, which is also a subsidiary of Axiata Group, holds rest of 20 per cent shares. The edotco Bangladesh is now taking preparations to apply to the BRTC with all relevant documents by October for receiving the license, a telecom sector source told the FE. License acquisition fee and annual fee have already been set at Tk 250 million and Tk 50 million respectively. Besides, licensees will have to share 5.5 per cent of their revenue with the government and another 1.0 per cent with the social obligation fund from the second year of getting licenses. Each licensee will also have to provide performance bank guarantee worth Tk 200 million to the BTRC. Established in 2012, edotco is the first regional and integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company in Asia, providing end-to-end solutions in the tower services sector from tower leasing, co-locations, build-to-suit, energy, transmission and operations and maintenance.
DBBL awards scholarships to 3,031 students
Dutch-Bangla Bank Ltd (DBBL) awarded scholarships to 3,031 meritorious and unprivileged students who passed SSC and equivalent examinations this year and are now studying at the higher secondary level. DBBL, under its corporate social responsibility programme, has been distributing the scholarship among meritorious students at HSC and graduation levels since 1997. So far, the private commercial bank has awarded the stipend to 53,710 students. At present, 18,580 students studying at different levels are receiving the scholarship, said the bank in a statement. Of the stipend, 90 percent is given to students from rural areas and 50 percent is earmarked for female students. A student receives a monthly payment of Tk 2,000 as well as Tk 3,500 per year for reading materials and clothing. The central bank has made it mandatory for banks to set aside 30 percent of their CSR budget for the education sector.
Malaysia renegotiating relations with China and neighbours
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, consistent with his pre-election pledge, has initiated a review of his country’s foreign relations with neighbours. This includes analysis and evaluation of the existing matrix and Malaysia’s engagement pertaining to the economic, employment, energy and commercial sectors. This dynamics associated with reforming governance led Mahathir to undertake a five-day official visit to China, from August 17-21. It was his first after his recent electoral victory. He had earlier visited China seven times as Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003.
Govt striving to accelerate economic activities
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened on Sunday for traffic two bridges on the Teesta and Titas rivers in Rangpur and Brahmanbaria saying her government was striving to build better communication networks nationwide to accelerate economic activities and facilitate peoples’ movement, reports BSS. The new bridge on the Teesta reduced Gangachhara’s distance with Dhaka via Lalmonirhar by 40 kilometres. The Y type bridge on the Titas connected Bancharampur with Homa and Muradnagar. Bangladesh’s people in reality virtually saw no progress in their life in the subsequent years after Bangabandhu’s assassination when only a few people who grab state power illegally became wealthy along with some beneficiaries.
Gas supply reaches record 3,205 mmcfd
The country’s overall natural gas supply has reached around 3,205 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) riding on the import of liquefied natural gas (LNG). This is the highest-ever gas supply in the history of Bangladesh. Local gas companies are producing around 1,072 mmcfd or 33 per cent and international oil companies around 1,657 or 51 per cent of the total output. The remaining 296 mmcfd are re-gasified LNG, according to the state-run Petrobangla. The KGDCL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobangla, is responsible for supplying natural gas to the port city. It currently takes around 40 mmcfd of gas from the main pipeline and 296 mmcfd of re-gasified LNG to meet the local demand. KGDCL got only around 230-250 mmcfd of gas from the Bakhrabad-Fouzdarhat pipeline for Chattogram consumers. Petrobangla has a binding sales and purchase agreement (SPA) with Qatar’s RasGas to buy 2.5 million tonne per year (Mtpa) of lean LNG for the next 15 years. It has a similar SPA to import around 1.0 Mtpa of LNG from Oman Trading International for 10 years. Petrobangla also has a preliminary agreement with Switzerland-based private firm AOT Energy to import around 1.25 Mtpa of lean LNG for 15 years. It has signed a letter of intent with Indonesia’s Pertamina to import around 1 Mtpa of LNG over 10 years.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX|| 5464.17614 || ↓10.26||↓0.34%|
|DJIA||26,154.67||↑ 8.68 ||↑0.03%|
|Nikkei 225||23,094.67||↑273.35 ||↑1.20%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$68.94||↓0.05||↓0.07%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$78.00||↓0.09||↓0.12%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.8483|
|GBP 1||BDT 109.6987|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.5659|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1569|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.