Important Business News Extracts – September 20, 2017
35 individuals, orgs get BB remittance award
Thirty-five individuals and organisations, including five commercial banks, have been awarded the ‘Bangladesh Bank Remittance Award-2016’. They have got the award for sending home the highest amount of remittance, investing bonds and playing a vital role to receive the remittance. State Minister for Finance and Planning MA Mannan handed over the award at a function at Bangla Academy’s Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium in Dhaka on Tuesday. Financial Institutions Division Senior Secretary M Eunusur Rahman and BB Governor Fazle Kabir attended the function as special guests with BB Deputy Governor Shitangshu Kumar Sur Chowdhury in the chiar. Twenty one remitters received the award under the highest remittance sender category while five NRBs received for investing in the bond. Four NRBs exchange houses owners, like Placid NK Corporation of USA, National Exchange Company SRL of Italy, NEC Money Transfer of UK and Sunman Global Express Corp of USA also got the award. Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), Standard Charted Bank, Agrani Bank Limited, Sonali Bank Limited and Janata Bank Limited received the award under the highest remittance receiver commercial bank category.
BB governor requests top remitters to campaign against hundi
Bangladesh Bank governor Fazle Kabir on Tuesday requested top remitters to campaign against using ‘hundi’ channel among the non-resident Bangladeshis with a view to increasing the country’s inward remittance. The country’s inward remittance decreased to $12.76 billion in the last fiscal year 2016-17 from $14.93 in the FY16 due mainly to the growing trend in remitting money through the illegal hundi channel, he said while addressing the BB Remittance Award-2016 organised by the central bank at the Bangla Academy auditorium in the capital.
Bangladesh Bank has bumped up the daily cash deposit limit for agent banking accounts to Tk 6 lakh from Tk 1 lakh with the view to promoting banking services across the country. The change was made in the new guideline for agent banking operations, which was issued on Monday. Agent banking is a system of providing banking and financial services on a limited scale to the underserved population of Bangladesh by way of agents under an agreement rather than a teller. The central bank has decided to promote this complimentary channel to reach out to the unbanked and underserved segments of the society as well as existing bank customers with a range of banking services, especially to geographically dispersed locations. In the new guideline, the cash withdrawal limit for business accounts has been set at Tk 5 lakh and fund transfer limit Tk 15 lakh. The minimum capital of agents must be Tk 2 lakh and that an agent cannot enter into contract with more than one bank. Moreover, defaulters, bankrupts, convicts or anyone being investigated on criminal charges cannot provide agent banking service.
Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited sponsor for the upcoming Asia Cup Hockey Tournament
Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited disbursed Tk 5.0 million as sponsor for the upcoming Asia Cup Hockey Tournament. Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar, bbp, ndc, acsc, President of Bangladesh Hockey Federation and Chief of Air Staff, Bangladesh Air Force received the cheque from Md. Abdul Hamid Miah, Managing Director & CEO of the Bank Tuesday.
NRB Bank Limited and US-Bangla Airlines exchanged a signed agreement
Imran Ahmed FCA, Chief Operating Officer of NRB Bank Limited and Sohail Majid, Deputy Director of Sales & Marketing of US-Bangla Airlines exchanged a signed agreement at Bank’s Corporate Head Office Tuesday for customer benefit on behalf of both the entities. Under the agreement, NRB Bank Credit Cardholders will avail EMI facility with up to 6 EMIs at zero per cent interest on travel packages of US-Bangla Airlines.
Nat’l body formed to oversee govt’s reform programme
Cabinet Division has formed a national committee to oversee the implementation of the government’s doing business reform programme adopted for improving the country’s ranking in global ease of doing business index. The committee, led by cabinet secretary, will monitor the implementation progress of short-, medium- and long-term reform recommendations and subsequent action plan taken by different ministries and divisions in early this year. The 15-member committee consists of secretaries and other top officials of the relevant ministries and divisions will also provide guidelines to the implementing agencies in removing challenges faced during implementation. Cabinet Division on August 21 formed the National Committee for Monitoring Implementation of Doing Business Reforms and issued a gazette notification on September 10 specifying the terms of reference of the committee. It said the committee would be a permanent one and continue its works to achieve the goal of improving the doing business ranking. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority in January announced the reform programme based on recommendations of the ministries and divisions relevant to doing business climate to bring down the country’s ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index of the World Bank below 100th place from the current 176th position by next five years.
The government has finally moved to prepare the master plan and design of the Payra deep-sea port by engaging Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. Buet will work as a consultant under which its experts will prepare the master plan and design, said a Payra Port Authority letter to Buet on Monday. Under the consultancy job, Buet will also prepare estimated costs of all the 19 components of the project. The move came nearly four years after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the country’s third sea port in Patuakhali to reduce the pressure on Chittagong and Mongla ports. The Payra port project is supposed to be completed by 2018.
Petrobangla, Gunvor Singapore sign MoU on LNG supply
The government yesterday signed an initial agreement with Gunvor Singapore to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) as the country seeks to ride out widening energy shortages. Syed Ashfaquzzaman, secretary of Petrobangla, and Luc Speeleveld, head of LNG for Asia of Gunvor Singapore PTE Ltd, signed the memorandum of understanding at a programme at the former’s headquarters in Dhaka. In a statement, Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power and energy, said the government signed MoUs with RasGas of Qatar, Oman Trading International of Oman, Pertamina of Indonesia, Astra Oil of Switzerland and Gunvor Singapore to buy LNG. Forty one companies have expressed willingness to supply LNG through spot market to Bangladesh after the government sought “expression of interest” on August 17 this year.
The government Tuesday decided to stop its anti-hoarding drive in rice mills following a meeting with the millers and traders in Dhaka on the day. The government also waived for next three months the mandatory packaging of rice in jute bags. The waiver was announced when millers and traders assured three ministers of a fall in rice prices by at least Tk 2-3 per kg shortly, if jute packaging of the main staple is allowed. Meanwhile, the prices of different varieties of rice recorded marginal fall in the city markets in last two days. Visiting the major rice wholesale hubs at Babubazar and Badamtoli in the capital on the day the FE found that the coarse rice of Swarna variety was being sold at Tk 51.5-52.0 per kg and hybrid variety at Tk 50.0-50.5 per kg, marking a fall of Tk 2.0-2.5 per kg from the previous day’s price level. Besides, finer quality Miniket and Jirashail was sold at Tk 60-65 per kg, declining by Tk 2.5 per kg, while price of another finer quality — Najirshail — remained static at Tk 62-66 per kg in the wholesale markets. The prices of rice dropped Tk 1-2 per kg in the retail markets also, as Swarna was sold at Tk 53-54, hybrid at Tk 52-53, and medium quality Brridhan-28 at Tk 57-59, and Miniket at Tk 62-68 per kg. The price of Najirshail was static at Tk 64-70 per kg.
The government will procure 50,000 tons of non-bashmoti and parboiled rice from Thailand through an international tender, official sources have said. The Ministry of Food proposal to purchase the rice from M/S Sima Trading Company will be placed at today’s cabinet committee meeting on public purchase, which will be presided over by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. The proposal signed by Food Secretary Md Kaikobad Hossain fixes the cost per metric ton of the staple at $438, while the total cost of the import stands at $21.9m (Tk181 crore). According to a recent report of the Food Ministry, the government has previously failed to import 300,000 tons of rice from Thailand and India due to price differences between the two countries and the international market. The proposal put the per unit cost of import from Thailand at $464 and from India at $454 under the government-to-government purchases. The Food Ministry had aimed to procure one million tons of rice from international markets to meet the current shortage in rice, which fell to a five-year low of 345,000 tons on September 14.
The government has targeted to earn Tk 11,000 crore by selling spectrum at the upcoming 4G technology auction that will allow mobile phone operators to offer high-speed data service. Industry experts, however, cautioned that the government should not be too much focused on making a huge amount of money from the auction because high prices might leave the spectrum unsold like it happened in case of 3G. Top three mobile phone operators – Grameenphone, Robi and Banglalink — yesterday also wrote to the government, expressing concerns about “higher” floor prices.
The country’s first international submarine cable (SEA-ME-WE-4) connection will remain shut for three days from October 6 for the first time of the cable’s 12-year history due to maintenance works under the Bay of Bengal, said a top official of the company. If the second cable, which was launched last week, fails to provide adequate bandwidth, it may lead to disruption in internet services. Internet users may feel some sort of disruption due to the maintenance work, said Monwar Hossain, managing director of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, adding that not everyone will get slower data speed.
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