• Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Business

Ananda Shipyard looks to rent out two ships to foreign clients

Ananda Shipyard looks to rent out two ships to foreign clients

Ananda Shipyard, which has fallen on hard times after orders for eight vessels worth about Tk 700 crore were cancelled in 2010, is now planning to rent out two of the ships to service its loans with Islami Bank. The shipbuilder is currently looking to register the two liners at a foreign country and then lease them out to European patrons, Tariqul Islam, executive director of Ananda Shipyard and Slipways, said. “There were bureaucratic tangles, but we...

StanChart awards agriculture heroes

StanChart awards agriculture heroes

Two rural farmers, a state-run research organisation, a farm machinery manufacturer...

Provide incentives to develop skilled workforce

Provide incentives to develop skilled workforce

The government should offer incentives to private companies to provide in-house...

Bangladesh keen to join BRICS Bank

Bangladesh is willing to join the newly-formed BRICS Bank though the multilateral development bank is yet decide on whether it would...

Faster IPO subscription project takes off next month

A new simpler and faster IPO subscription method will start under a pilot project next month. The new system will cut down the processing time of an initial public offering (IPO) to three weeks from the current requirement of more than five weeks. It will also eliminate hassles that investors face in submitting IPO applications and depositing cash with the banks and getting refunds for unsuccessful applications. As many as 118 stockbrokers and merchant banks will participate in the pilot project, which...

Govt plans to boost cotton production seven-fold

The government has taken up a Tk 105 crore project to increase production of raw cotton, only 3 percent of which is now collected from local producers. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council yesterday approved the Extended Cotton Farming Project Phase-1 through which an additional 7 lakh bales of cotton will be produced a year. Bangladesh produces only 1 lakh bales of cotton, which meets only 2-3 percent of the garment industry's demand. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the...

Lenovo to launch smartphones soon

Device maker Lenovo is set to launch its smartphones in Bangladesh soon. The company's smartphones are widely available globally, but are absent in the local market. Currently, Lenovo concentrates on personal computers including notebooks and tablets in Bangladesh. There is huge demand for smartphones in Bangladesh, Amar Babu, managing director of Lenovo India, said at a media briefing at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka. The company has inaugurated 15 products in Dhaka this week, most of which were globally launched in the...

BB widens green finance scheme

Bangladesh Bank has added three new products, including garment sector ones, to its refinance scheme of low-interest loans. The banking regulator included solar water-pumps, green industry and workplace safety projects of the apparel industry in the scheme. The highest loan limit for solar water-pumps is Tk 3 core, Tk 20 crore for green industry and Tk 1 crore has been earmarked for garment factories, the central bank said in a notice yesterday. Borrowers will have to pay a 9 percent interest rate...

Emirates reduces fares for travellers from Bangladesh

Emirates has announced special return fares for both business and economy class travellers from Bangladesh to select destinations in the USA, Europe, Africa and Middle East, the airline said in a statement yesterday. Passengers travelling from Dhaka can book their return journey to North America starting at $1,278 for economy class and $3,392 for business class, as well as other destinations across the carrier's global network for travel between September 11 and December this year, it said. For Europe, the return...

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Robi holds career festival at Dhaka University

Robi Axiata yesterday launched a career festival for the students of the business faculty at Dhaka University to familiarise them with the employment opportunities at the telecom company. The event, Robi Career Carnival, at the business studies faculty was organised in association with the DU business faculty. As part of the event, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Robi and the business faulty to facilitate internship opportunities for DU students at Robi. Students will be informed of the job opportunities...

Skilled manpower needed to achieve development goals

A four-day international summit that ended yesterday emphasised that Bangladesh should work to improve the number of skilled manpower and energy generation to achieve the sustainable development goals. The country should also take steps to ensure better utilisation of resources and quick implementation of policies and improve infrastructure to achieve the goals, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, said at the closing ceremony of the event. Bangladesh should set target and indicators to attain the development goals more...

Russian sanctions threaten both Europe's farmers and policymakers

Russian sanctions threaten both Europe's farmers and policymakers

Pascal Sauvetre, an apple farmer in Poitou-Charentes on France's Atlantic coast, has a headache beyond the usual concerns about weather and tree fungus - Polish apples. As the European Union's second biggest apple producer, Poland has some 700,000 tonnes of the fruit it usually sells to Russia but can't, because Moscow has a food...

Britain's top bosses earn '131 times more' than staff

The heads of Britain's largest companies earned 131 times as much as their average employee last year, a study said Monday, exposing the growing pay gap between bosses and workers. The wage divide has more than doubled since 1998, when the average chief executive of firms in the FTSE 100 earned 47 times as much as staff, the report found. The British government has brought in laws to curb executive pay and bonuses since the financial crisis, but a severe squeeze...

Sultan of Brunei denies report of bid for Sahara's New York, London hotels

Sultan of Brunei denies report of bid for Sahara's New York, London hotels

A spokesman for the Sultan of Brunei dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal online that he had made a bid for New York's Plaza Hotel, Dream Hotel and London's Grosvenor House hotel. The Journal's website edition reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the situation, that an investment firm affiliated with Brunei...

China to spend $1b on massive Caribbean resort

China to spend $1b on massive Caribbean resort

Chinese investors are to plunge more than $1 billion into developing Antigua and Barbuda's first mega-resort, creating 1,000 jobs for the tiny cash-strapped nation. Construction on the mammoth 1,600-acre (647-hectare) multi-hotel, residential and commercial project is slated to begin early next year. The Singulari scheme -- 50 per cent bigger than the regionally-heralded Baha Mar...

StanChart nears deal over compliance failure

Standard Chartered is close to a deal to pay between $200 million and $300 million to resolve allegations by New York's banking regulator that it failed to review high-risk transactions, two years after agreeing to reform its practices, a person familiar with the matter said on Monday. The announcement of the settlement could come this week, possibly as soon as Tuesday, according to the person, who was not authorized to speak about the talks and declined to be identified. The penalty...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Bank deposits mount despite rate cuts

Bank deposits mount despite rate cuts

Bank deposits rose 15.81 percent year-on-year in fiscal 2013-14 despite the cuts in interests on savings in the past one year. On June 30, the total deposit in the banking sector stood at Tk 668,358 crore, with private banks accounting for 63.88 percent of the sum, according to data from the central bank. The private banks saw their deposits grow 17.56 percent, the state-owned commercial banks 13.68 percent, foreign banks 7.18 percent and the government-run specialised banks 14.81 percent. But it was Islamic banking that saw its deposits increase the most -- by 23.03 percent -- between June 30 last year and this year. Khondker Ibrahim Khaled, a former deputy governor of the...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Mobile talk to become costlier

Mobile talk to become costlier

The use of mobile phones is set to become dearer with the tax authority's intent to introduce a 1 percent surcharge from September. “We are trying our best to implement the surcharge as soon as possible. It will probably be from September 1, as almost all the preparations are complete,” said Ghulam Hussain, chairman of the National Board of Revenue yesterday. To implement the surcharge, the NBR does not need to take the matter through parliament as it was already discussed in the budget session, he said, adding that only approvals from the finance and law ministries are needed. The latest surcharge, which follows the 1 percent surcharge slapped at the beginning...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Deeper relations to unlock more business for Bangladesh, India: analyst

Relations between Bangladesh and India need to be considered in view of current realities and shared historical, geographical and cultural bonds to realise latent business opportunities, an Indian analyst said yesterday. Efforts to improve bilateral relations by major political parties of both countries over the past couple of years are a major positive development, said Sri Sitaram Sharma, chairman of Kolkata-based research organisation Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies (MAKIAS). Sharma spoke at a daylong seminar on 'contemporary thoughts...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Focus on proper enforcement of jute packaging law

More than 50 percent of domestic production of jute will be consumed locally if the mandatory jute packaging act is implemented properly, according to an estimate of local think-thank Centre for Policy Dialogue. "The jute industry is highly dependent on exports, which can be reduced substantially by ensuring full implementation of the compulsory jute packaging act," CPD Additional Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said yesterday. He spoke at a discussion organised by the Jute Protection Committee in association with Action Aid...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Conspiracy against garment sector must fail: Tofail

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed yesterday urged the owners and workers of garment industries to work together to achieve the export target for fiscal 2014-15. The minister said some quarters have been trying to defame Bangladesh's garment sector but they will not be successful and the country will be able to reach the export target. Ahmed's comments came at the concluding session of a three-day training workshop for business reporters at the Press Institute of Bangladesh. PIB and Economic Reporters' Forum coorganised...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
CSE suggests IPOs on merit

The Chittagong Stock Exchange yesterday urged the regulator to introduce merit-based initial public offering (IPO), as weak companies can enter the market through the existing disclosure-based method. Merit-based IPO means the company will receive regulatory approval after physical verification of the statements submitted. The IPO process at present is on a disclosure basis, meaning the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission only examines the statements submitted by a company. “No physical verification is done before approving an IPO and so, internal inconsistency of...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Canada keen to boost bilateral trade: Cruden

Canada keen to boost bilateral trade: Cruden

Canada is keen to boost business with Bangladesh to cut the trade gap, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden said yesterday.   Trade between the two countries currently stands at nearly $1.85 billion, and has significantly increased in the last two years, she said. Business communities from both countries should explore new sectors to increase...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Foreign investment in China slumps in July

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China dropped by more than a sixth year-on-year to a two-year low in July, the government said Monday, but denied any link to Beijing's multiple probes into foreign companies. FDI -- which excludes investment in financial sectors -- fell 16.95 percent in the month to $7.81 billion, the commerce ministry said, its lowest since July 2012, when it was $7.579 billion. The fall saw FDI in the first seven months decline 0.35 percent to $71.14 billion,...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
China finds Mercedes-Benz guilty of price fixing

German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has been found guilty of manipulating prices for after-sales services in China, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing regulators. The report made no mention of possible penalties, but China's 2008 anti-monopoly law allows the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's anti-trust regulator, to impose fines of up to 10 percent of a company's China revenues for the previous year. An array of industries, from milk powder makers to electronics firms, have been coming under...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Bank Asia MD gets three-year extension

Bank Asia MD gets three-year extension

The service tenure of Md Mehmood Husain, president and managing director of Bank Asia, has been extended for three years, the bank said in a statement yesterday.   Husain joined Bank Asia in August 2011. He is a post graduate in economics from Dhaka University and began his banking career in 1984 with National...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
StanChart to honour farmers, institutions today

StanChart to honour farmers, institutions today

Standard Chartered Bank will honour two farmers and three institutions in Bangladesh today in its first ever agricultural award anywhere in the world. The London-based multinational bank has launched the AGROW Award in association with Bangladesh Brand Forum to recognise individuals and institutions who serve as outstanding examples in the sector.   "The award is...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Khulna Printing shares soar on debut

The share price of Khulna Printing and Packaging Ltd gained 271 percent to Tk 37.1 on its debut in the stockmarket yesterday, as investors went on a buying spree. The company became the highest gainer of the day on the DSE floor and also featured in the most-traded stocks chart with 1.5 crore shares worth Tk 51 crore changing hands. KPPL is the second listed company under the “paper and printing” category on the Dhaka bourse after Hakkani Pulp and Paper...

Book Review

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Disappointing effort

Disappointing effort

Financial inclusion is a `mantra' actively preached by Atiur Rahman since his appointment as the governor of Bangladesh Bank. His effort to make financial inclusion a key instrument against poverty drew global attention. Prominently known as a pro-poor development economist, Rahman's maneuverings with central banking have garnered mixed outcomes over the last couple of years. The two core functions of Bangladesh Bank—containing inflation and spurring growth with prudent operations of monetary policy, and guarding the financial sector to help maintain macroeconomic stability—are not well balanced. Nevertheless, the governor has successfully incorporated financial inclusion to other core functions of the central bank and thus challenged the traditional mode of monetary operations...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Promise of more keeps investors hooked on Asia's frothy markets

Promise of more keeps investors hooked on Asia's frothy markets

Calling the top in financial markets is never easy. Asian stock and bond markets may appear frothy at their near-record levels after a multi-year rally, but global investors are still betting on a mix of healthy returns and history to juice up their profits. Six years since the global financial crisis spurred a relentless...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Sultan of Brunei bids for Sahara's New York and London luxury hotels

Sultan of Brunei bids for Sahara's New York and London luxury hotels

The Sultan of Brunei has made a bid for New York's Plaza Hotel, Dream Hotel and London's Grosvenor House hotel, the Wall Street Journal's website edition reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the situation. An investment firm affiliated with Brunei has offered to pay $2 billion for the three hotels, which are currently...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
Thailand skirts recession with 0.9 percent growth

Thailand's economy grew 0.9 percent in the second quarter, dodging recession after the military ended months of political deadlock with a coup and promised to unshackle spending. The junta, under coup-leading Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha, has pegged its legitimacy to improving the economy after months of political protests froze government spending, scared off tourists and battered consumer spending. Between April and June the economy crept back to life with 0.9 percent growth after shrinking a revised 1.9 percent in the preceding...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
China hopes WTO can resolve differences and sign deal

China hopes WTO can resolve differences and sign deal

China said on Monday it regretted World Trade Organisation members had failed to reach an agreement on simplifying global customs rules, a breakdown it said could damage multilateral trade. India last month torpedoed a global deal to standardise and streamline customs regulations, known as "trade facilitation", after it demanded more freedom to subsidise and...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
India 'will honour' WTO trade deal pledge

India will keep a pledge to ratify a trillion-dollar global pact on easing trade restrictions, a minister told local media Saturday, adding negotiations with fellow World Trade Organisation members had not hit a "dead end". India's Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's remarks to NDTV network marked a softer public tone to India's stance on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) -- a universal customs clearance deal which would mark the first big global trade liberalisation deal in two decades. She said she wanted...

Published Date: August 19, 2014
China fishes for growth with world's largest aquarium

China fishes for growth with world's largest aquarium

A giant 63-metre blue whale shark statue towers over the world's largest aquarium, on a Chinese island being promoted as a testing ground for reforms aimed at encouraging domestic consumption as the driver of economic growth. Hengqin island is just across the Pearl River from Shenzhen, the boom town on the border with Hong...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Private banks' credit roll-out surges

Private banks' credit roll-out surges

Credit roll-out by local private banks has increased substantially in recent times on the back of a pick-up in business activities thanks to political calm. Credit growth of the private banks, whose share in the total credit disbursed comes to 69.35 percent, stood at 15.56 percent on June 30, compared to a year earlier. The state-owned and foreign banks that account for 23.82 percent of total loans have seen negative credit growth in the year to June 30, according to data from the central bank. Credit disbursement by the state-owned commercial banks declined 4.17 percent and foreign banks 1.67 percent, while the five state-owned specialised banks registered 13.12 percent growth on June...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Food grain consumption set to rise

Food grain consumption and residual are likely to rise this fiscal year owing to population growth, said a report by the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Rice consumption and residual may rise to 3.52 crore tonnes in fiscal 2014-15 from 3.48 crore tonnes a year ago and wheat consumption to 47 lakh tonnes from 43 lakh tonnes, the FAS said in its Global Agricultural Information Network report. The projection is higher than an estimate by the Bangladesh Institute...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Worker database seems far off

The absence of a central database of workers and factories has left many outstanding issues unresolved in the garment sector. Names, addresses, age and dates of birth of many workers remained unknown, creating obstacles in resolving issues such as compensations for accidental deaths. Factory owners sometimes publish incorrect info, making it tougher to verify the identification of the victims in case of an accident. Take the latest spell of labour unrest at Tuba Group for an instance: the number of workers could...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Can central bankers succeed in getting global economy back on track?

Why is the world economy still so weak and can anything more be done to accelerate growth? Six years after the near-collapse of the global financial system and more than five years into one of the strongest bull markets in history, the answer still baffles policymakers, investors and business leaders. This week brought another slew of disappointing figures from Europe and Japan, the weakest links in the world economy since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, despite the fact that the...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Air Arabia to connect Chittagong next month

Air Arabia has announced it will start flights to Chittagong next month from its new hub in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE, strengthening its connectivity with Bangladesh. The Sharjah-based low-cost carrier will run three flights a week from in Ras Al Khaimah from September 2, the airline said in a statement on Saturday. Chittagong, the country's second-largest city with a population of over 6.5 million, becomes the 98th destination serviced by Air Arabia worldwide and second in Bangladesh after Dhaka. The...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Indonesia budget highlights fuel subsidy challenge

Energy subsidies are set to eat up a huge chunk of the Indonesian budget again next year, the president said Friday, highlighting the challenge for incoming leader Joko Widodo to reduce the crippling payouts. At current rates, fuel and electricity subsidies are expected to cost 363.5 trillion rupiah ($31.3 billion), up slightly from this year, according to a draft budget for 2015 presented by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. That is around 18 percent of the budget, with fuel subsidies the main...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Find ways to solve unemployment, Muhith urges economists

Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday called upon economists and researchers to come up with a model to solve the country's unemployment problem. The total labour force at present stands at around 78 million, but only 20 million are engaged in the organised sector and the rest are either under-employed or unemployed, Muhith said at a session of Bangladesh Summit on Sustainable Development 2014. “The challenge post 2015 is to find a model that provides a solution to the unemployment problem --...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
Russian food embargo smells like opportunity for LatAm

Russia's embargo on US and EU food products has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America, which could capitalize on the Ukraine crisis to become a major food supplier to Moscow. Furious over the sanctions Western countries have imposed on Russia over its support for Ukraine's separatist rebels, the Kremlin announced on August 7 it was placing a "full embargo" on most food imports from the United States and European Union. That could enable major Latin American food producers like...

Published Date: August 18, 2014
India business awaits changes to Raj-era labour laws

With steel machines hissing and whirring and staff studiously manning production lines, Sunder Rajan's factory about two hours southwest of New Delhi is prospering. But Rajan's plant, one of seven spread across four states that churns out car steering systems, faces an uphill battle complying with India's myriad of archaic, complex and often bewildering labour laws. "There are a huge number of laws, with individual inspectors for individual laws in individual states," said Rajan, CEO of Sona Koyo Steering Systems. "It's a...

Published Date: August 17, 2014
Optimistic outlook for garment exports despite slow start

Optimistic outlook for garment exports despite slow start

Despite some unfavourable numbers in July, Bangladesh's outlook on garment exports is bright this year too, with high demand from western customers due to competitive prices, industry insiders said. Exports of woven garment declined by 4.14 percent to $1.21 billion in July, and knitwear export grew only by 4.32 percent to $1.3 billion, according...

Published Date: August 17, 2014
Jute packaging law gathers momentum

The government has taken a hard line to ensure rice packaging with jute sacks in the face of traders' continued non-compliance with the compulsory jute packaging law passed four years ago. The Department of Jute, under the textiles and jute ministry, last week started a drive through mobile court to compel the millers and traders to use the environment-friendly jute sacks to pack rice for marketing domestically. “We gave a lot of time for voluntary compliance with the law. We also...

Published Date: August 17, 2014
NRB Bank makes a move on SME banking

NRB Bank yesterday made its foray into the largely neglected segment of small and medium enterprises as part of its promise to contribute to creating entrepreneurs. To start off, the newly set-up bank handed over loan sanction letters to owners of Ligion Herbal Ltd, a herbal company, and Bimurto, a handicraft company, at a ceremony at the capital's Sonargaon Hotel. Ligion Herbal's Chairman Tania Haque and Bimurto's owner Wafi Islam got loans of Tk 1 crore and Tk 18 lakh respectively...

Published Date: August 17, 2014
Three-day weekend a boon for tourism

The tourism industry has seen a sharp uptick in business this weekend thanks to the Janmashtami, a Hindu religious festival, falling on Sunday to make it a long weekend. “We are very happy as most tourist spots are buzzing with people,” said Taufiq Uddin Ahmed, president of Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh. Most hotels and resorts in popular holiday destinations such as Cox's Bazar, Rangamati, Bandarban and Sylhet have registered full occupancy for August 15-17, he added. The stable political climate meant...

Published Date: August 17, 2014
Car sellers see better business as banks roll out more loans

The car market anticipates a pick-up in sales as the central bank has doubled the ceiling for auto loans. Buyers will get more loans from financial institutions, said Khaan M Sakib Us Salehin, head of marketing for Rancon Motors, an automotive division of Rangs Group. The group markets Mercedes-Benz and Mitsubishi cars in Bangladesh. The debt-equity ratio has recently been changed to 50:50 from 30:70 earlier, allowing banks to finance half of the price of a car. Banks now can give up to...

Published Date: August 17, 2014
48 lakh 3G users now: BTRC

The number of 3G service users jumped more than 6 times to 48.45 lakh in the nine months to July, the telecom regulator said in a statement yesterday. Between August last year and July this year, the number of mobile users increased by 75 lakh to over 11.68 crore and the number of internet users rose by 28 lakh to over 3.9 crore. The cost of internet fell with the increased use of internet, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said in the...