Bangladesh exports 0.25m tonnes of Maize this year
Traders exported 0.25 million tonnes of maize so far this year, agriculture secretary Md Nasiruzzaman disclosed on Tuesday, thanks to a notable rise in domestic production. Production of maize in the country surpassed 3.8 million tonnes this year as many potato farmers and others switched to the crop. The production was less than 1.0 million tonnes a decade ago. The ministry has a target to raise maize production to 10 million tonnes from the current figure within next five years. The lands now engaged for tobacco cultivation will be brought under maize cultivation gradually. However, according to Maize Association of Bangladesh, which is mainly involved in maize imports, many traders exported the item this year to India and Nepal. The local feed mills have a demand for 4.5 million tonnes of maize annually which is increasing at a rate of 10-12 per cent year-on-year, according to the Feed Industries Association of Bangladesh [FIAB]. The government will have to double the crop productivity to achieve the sustainable development goals [SDGs] by 2030. The government has a target to raise productivity of crops to 5.32 tonnes per hectare within the deadline as compared to 2.66 tonnes in 2016. The ministry is going to enact a new policy on farm mechanization to provide farmers with equipment at interest-free loans.
Strike a Rural-Urban Balance: BB
Bangladesh Bank wants Banks to strike a balance between rural and urban presence to promote balanced economic development in the country. Opening a Bank branch is mainly a profit-centred issue for a Bank but it is more than that for the regulatory body, according to SM Moniruzzaman, a deputy governor of BB. The deputy governor’s comments came at a time when the ratio of Bank branches in urban areas is increasing despite the Central Bank’s guideline on one rural branch against one urban branch several years ago. At present, there are 59 Scheduled Banks in the country and the number of branches they have is 10,326. In 2000, nearly 60 percent of the Bank branches were in rural areas against 40 percent in urban areas. The deputy governor’s comments came at a time when the ratio of Bank branches in urban areas is increasing despite the Central Bank’s guideline on one rural branch against one urban branch several years ago. At present, there are 59 Scheduled Banks in the country and the number of branches they have is 10,326. In 2000, nearly 60 percent of the Bank branches were in rural areas against 40 percent in urban areas.
Concerted efforts a must to improve Investment Climate: BIDA Chief
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry [DCCI] on Monday said National FDI Strategy should be aligned with the industrial, export, import policies along with foreign exchange regulations and other government strategies to improve the investment climate of the country. The private investment needs to be scaled up to 32%-35% to come out of the stagnant situation caused by poor ranking in different indexes. At present the private investment is 23.4%, according to the DCCI President. The FDI to Bangladesh increased to US$3.6 billion in 2018 from US$2.58 billion. In order to boost private investment and drive the economic growth, Bangladesh needs to improve its position in competitive indices. Policy reforms and complex regulations and bureaucratic hurdles increase the transaction costs of doing business in Bangladesh. In order to sustain 8.0 per cent plus GDP growth, Bangladesh has to develop its infrastructure and capital market, according to Senior Vice President of DCCI Waqar Ahmad Choudhury.
Fortune Shoes generates highest Turnover at DSE
Ten most traded companies captured 29 per cent transactions on the Dhaka Stock Exchange [DSE] on Tuesday, with the Fortune Shoes making it to the top of the turnover list. Market analysts said that investors mostly went on selling Fortune shares as the company’s share price recently soared ‘abnormally’ which prompted many investors to book profit. The Fortune’s share price rose to Tk 42.80 each last month, hitting one year highest, following the news that the company signed an agreement with Steve Madden for export of shoes worth US$ 4.0 million [Tk 340 million], which is scheduled to be shipped by October this year. According to data available with the DSE, about 6.47 million shares of Fortune Shoes were traded on Tuesday, generating a turnover of Tk 197 million, making up 4.85 per cent of the DSE’s total turnover. The total turnover on the DSE stood at Tk 4.05 billion on the day, down from Tk 5.17 billion in the previous day. The shoemaker’s share traded between Tk 29.80 and Tk 33.10, before closing at Tk 29.90 on Tuesday, losing 9.12 per cent over the previous day. Grameenphone came second on the turnover chart, with shares worth Tk 171 million changing hands. The company’s share closed at Tk 358.40, shedding 1.21 per cent over the previous day.
Bangladesh can borrow more from abroad: IMF
The country has scope to Bankroll its infrastructure projects through external borrowing as it has a very low debt to gross domestic product ratio, according to International Monetary Fund recently. Bangladesh has a low risk of external debt distress and a low overall risk of debt distress. In fiscal 2017-18, public debt in Bangladesh stood at $91 billion, which is about 34 percent of the GDP. The majority of public debt is domestic and denominated in local currency. In fiscal 2017-18, domestic debt was 56 percent of the total public and Publicly Guaranteed Debt [PPG] stock. More than one half of outstanding domestic debt is composed of National Savings Certificates [NSCs] and around a third is Treasury bond. External debt stood at $40 billion in fiscal 2017-18 and is predominantly owed to multilateral and bilateral creditors, which account for 62 percent and 23 percent respectively of the outstanding debt. As infrastructure needs in Bangladesh remain, external debt will likely be the primary avenue to finance large infrastructure projects. Favorable debt dynamics help support the sustainability of the investment effort. The IMF welcomed the government’s work on revising the Medium-Term debt Management Strategy [MTDS]. The last MTDS was prepared in 2014, but the recent rapid increases in NSC issuance reduced its relevance. The government is cautious in contracting external debt and views the low risk of debt distress as an important indicator, signaling confidence in the economy.
Long-term financing needed to attract FDI: BB Seminar
Speakers at a seminar on Tuesday underscored the need for long-term financing to attract more Foreign Direct Investment [FDI] in the country. Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project [FDIPP], Two Step Loan [TSL] Component. Bangladesh Bank [BB] organized the seminar in association of PADECO Co Ltd, Japan and Young Consultants. Japan International Cooperation Agency [JICA] Bangladesh Office Representative Wataru Osawa attended the seminar as the chief guest while FDIPP Project Director and BB General Manager Md Nazrul Islam presided over the event. Investment in Bangladesh will definitely expand as most foreign investors are discovering business opportunities in Bangladesh, according to Wataru Osawa.
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