Banks face huge rush ahead of Eid-ul-Azha
With the general banking closing today before the continuous 6-day Eid-ul-Azha vacation, commercial banks are witnessing a huge rush of clients withdrawing cash to meet Eid spending. Over the last three days, the banks in the metropolis have been packed with clients, especially for withdrawal of remittances, reports BSS. Expatriates generally send a large amount of money to their relatives especially before Eid-ul-Azha for the purchase of sacrificial animals, said an official of a commercial bank in Motijheel. While visiting different bank branches in the capital on Wednesday, it was found that officials-employees were facing difficulties in handling large number of clients who were waiting in queues before the cash counters for withdrawal of cash. People were seen standing in queues for more than half an hour for withdrawal. Talking to BSS, executive vice president of the Corporate Branch of Sotheast Bank, Abdul Baten Chowdhury at Dilkusha, said there were huge withdrawals, especially by the individuals, in his branch over the last two days. A large number of clients queued in the cash transaction section on Wednesday and over Tk 10 crore was withdrawn till 3.30pm , he added.
Banks asked to tighten security during Eid
Banks have been asked to tighten security in their respective branches, head offices and ATM booths to tackle cyber crime and any untoward incidents during Eid holidays, said a circular the central bank issued yesterday. BB also advised the banks to take necessary measures to monitor the banks rotationally by bank officers during the holidays. In an another circular issued yesterday, the central bank asked the banks to ensure non-stop transaction through ATM (Automated Teller Machine), POS (Point of Sale), e-Payment Gateway, MFS (Mobile Financial Services) during Eid celebration. The circular mentioned that most of the bank branches will remain closed from 9 to 14 September. During this period banks will have to take necessary steps to make sure that e-Transactions go on smoothly and uninterruptedly.
Credits to private sector see crunch in July
Private-sector credit growth tumbled in July after a continuous increase in last10 months, said officials, who saw the crunch as a seasonal phenomenon. The growth in credit flow to private sector declined to 16.0% in July 2016 on a year-on-year basis from 16.8% in June last, according to the central C dwarfed during the period under review due to higher recovery of loans, particularly short-term ones, than fresh disbursement by the banks, the central banker explained. He also said prolonged Eid vacation in July had also worked to push down such credit growth. The central bank had projected that private-sector credit would grow at 16.6% in December 2016 and 16.5% in June 2017 respectively.
Foreign investment in stocks trebles
Net foreign investments in the capital market trebled year-on-year in the first eight months of the year as overseas investors were anticipating a positive market scenario. Foreign investors bought shares worth BDT 3,051.14 crore and sold shares worth BDT 2,605.44 crore to take their net investment for the January-August period to BDT 445.7 crore. Net investment by foreigners in the first eight months in 2015 stood at BDT 144.26 crore, according to Dhaka Stock Exchange data. Local investors are hardly making money from stockmarket but foreign investors are doing well as they make investments for the long-term, said Sherief MA Rahman, chief executive officer of Brac-EPL stock brokerage, which provides services to foreign fund managers. Rahman went on to call for listing of fundamentally sound companies in the market in future for attracting foreign investors. Bangladesh stockmarket is a retail-based and also an emerging market, with its currency rate being in a stable position for the last 3-4 years.
Deduction of tax at source from unit-holders of MFs: Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission seeks ‘specific instruction’ from National Board of Revenue
The securities’ regulator has sought ‘specific instruction’ from the revenue board on deduction of tax at source from unit holders during liquidation of mutual funds (MFs) for the sake of MF industry. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has sought NBR’s instruction in the backdrop of its previous instruction to deduct tax at source considering the unit holders’ accumulated profit as dividend in accordance with the section 2(26), 54 and 56 of the Income Tax Ordinance, 1984. Two closed-end MFs — AIMS First Guaranteed MF and the First Scheme of Grameen MF One completed liquidation process in June last and subsequently the NBR asked the trustees of these funds to deduct tax at source from the unit holders’ accumulated profits. Complexities also emerged as the revenue board instructed the trustees to consider the units’ face value as cost price. The BSEC said market price, stock dividend and re-investment units will have to be taken into account in determining the cost price of the units purchased by a unit-holder.
Three new export-oriented sectors to get cash subsidy
The government has brought three new export-oriented sectors under the list of beneficiaries of cash subsidy for the fiscal year 2016-17 to help increase the earnings from these sectors, according to the Finance Ministry sources. Among the new sectors, agar and attar exporters will get 20.0% cash incentive, paper and paper-made product exporters will get 10.0% cash subsidy. The crust and finished leather exporters who have shifted their industries to Savar area will get 5.0% cash incentive from the current fiscal year. Finance ministry has also revised the rates of cash subsidy for jute diversified products to 20.0% from existing 10.0%, for leather products to 15.0% from 12.5% and vessel exporter will get 10.0% from existing 5.0%. The ministry also has replaced 5.0% cash subsidy from bone powder into the export of different parts of cows including gut, horns and vein. Potato exporters will get 10.0% incentive, down from existing 20.0%, according to the ministry sources. The ministry recently in a letter requested the Bangladesh Bank (BB) for taking necessary steps to this effect.
Kuwait bans hiring manpower from Bangladesh
The Kuwait government has once again imposed a ban on recruiting workers from Bangladesh, the Kuwait Times reported Tuesday. The Interior Ministry of the government of Kuwait reintroduced the ban after months from reopening it under certain controls, including that the employer must own a house, according to a report of the Kuwait Times. Referring to a news item of the Arabic language daily Al-Anbaa, the newspaper report said Undersecretary Assistant for Citizenship and Passports Affairs Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah made the decision Monday after viewing statistics which showed that the number of the Bangladeshi community in Kuwait had reached 200,000 as of the end of last week. It is not known whether Sheikh Mazen would reconsider his decision in the future or would announce more controls to regulate the recruitment of workers from Bangladesh, the Kuwait Times reported. When contacted, additional secretary to the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (EWOE) Jabed Ahmed, however, told the FE that his ministry had not yet been informed about the Kuwait government’s latest decision on hiring workers from Bangladesh.
Single window comes soon to simplify cross-border trade
The government is going to build ‘National Single Window’ to simplify cross-border trade procedures under a World Bank-sponsored agenda for facilitating quick processing of import, export and transit transactions. Officials said Wednesday the virtual port formalities would bring all workers under an automated system “to ease doing business”. They said the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has drafted a Tk 5.74 billion (US$72 million) project to set up the NSW for brining all export-import procedures onto one virtual platform. “The NSW will allow the parties involved with trade and transport to complete all the related works, including import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements, through a single virtual window from any place in the country,” an NBR Commissioner told the FE. As per the regional-trade-facilitation initiative, the NBR with the financial support of the World Bank (WB) would implement the proposed project to simplify the foreign trade. The NSW is a system meant for enhancing cross-border trade operations by eliminating paper works and reducing time through maintaining up-to-date information. The virtual-platform technology simplifies trade, saves time and money and increases efficiency by submitting export-import documentation and transit-related regulatory requirements through one electronic portal, allowing agencies to easily access information.
$50bn RMG export: Investment in technology a must
Investment in technology is need of the hour to make the country’s apparel industry more competitive, sustainable and profitable, and also to achieve the target of earning the goal of US$50 billion in fashion exports by 2021esides, infrastructure bottle necks and capacity constraints, which are the threat to prosperity, needs to be removed to attract more investment in the industry, the life blood of the country’s economy. The observations came after an intense brainstorming panel discussion at a seminar on “Bastra Shilper Adhunikayan (Modernisation of Apparel Industry)” by ThreadSol, an innovative apparel software solutions provider in partnership with Independent TV, a leading private television channel, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the city on Tuesday evening.
Govt to connect 2,600 UPs with fibre optic cables
The ICT division is set to embark on a Tk 1,227.42 crore project to connect 2,600 union parishads through fibre optic cables. The government’s purchase committee approved the project last week, which will be implemented by Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) to provide internet and other connectivity to the local government offices. Under the “national ICT intra-network for Bangladesh government phase-III”, which is also known as Info Sarker-3 project, the government will also build some other digital infrastructure at the union level, said Shyam Sunder Sikder, secretary of the ICT division. “We will now finalise the development project pro-forma that will have all the development details,” Sikder said. There are some other formalities that need to be completed before placing the project before the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council for final approval, he said. Meanwhile, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) is running a project to connect 1,100 union parishads through fibre optic cables, at a cost of Tk 718.07 crore. The project of BTCL will be completed by December this year and 950 unions have already been connected, said Md Moinuddin, the project director. The state-owned company will soon take a new project to connect another 1,000 unions, he added. There are 4,600 unions and they are the smallest rural administrative and local government units.
Five firms to bid for mobile number portability licence
Five companies have made the cut to place bids in the much-awaited auction for mobile number portability licence, scheduled for September 28 in a city hotel. Once operational, the MNP scheme will allow mobile phone subscribers to switch from one operator to another without having to change their existing numbers. The service is already available in India and Pakistan, along with many Western countries. The five companies, which are joint ventures with foreign firms, are REVE Number, Greentech International, Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium, Brazil-Bangladesh Consortium and Roots Infotech. The companies met all the criteria to participate in the auction, said an official of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. REVE Number partnered with T4B Sp of Poland and Greentech with Mediafon of Lithuania. Infozillion BD Teletech Consortium has teamed up with Teletech of Slovenia. Agile Technology Solution has partnered with Clear Tech of Brazil and Roots Infotech with Systor International of Norway. The selected companies will have to submit the bid earnest money of Tk 10 lakh by September 18.
Foreign firm picked as Karnaphuli tunnel project consultant
A foreign joint venture firm will supervise the construction of the much-anticipated construction of multi-lane road tunnel under Karnaphuli River in Chittagong and will also review the design of the project likely to be inaugurated next month. Cabinet committee on public purchase presided over by Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday approved Road Transport and Bridges Ministry proposal of appointing Australia and Denmark joint venture firm as a consultant of the project.
SAASCO Group to build Green Industrial Park
SAASCO Group, an apparel manufacturer, plans to establish SAASCO Green Industrial Park at Muksudpur in Gopalganj with a view to creating jobs for locals and diversifying its business. During a visit to Jalirpar under Muksudpur upazila of Gopalganj, it was seen that the group has bought over 38 acres of land and filled them with sand. The factory will be established under the guidelines of US Green Building Council (USGBC) as it would be a green industrial park, which will have all necessary equipment to discharge industrial waste in order to ensure eco-friendly environment. After the establishment of industrial park, the company would be able to employ over 8,000 people, which would indirectly benefit 40,000 people especially in the area. In the project, there will have ready-made garment (RMG) factory, garment accessories and agro-based industry, food processing and chemical factory.
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