• Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Business

NBR felicitates top taxpayers

NBR felicitates top taxpayers

The National Board of Revenue yesterday honoured 402 top and long-term taxpayers amid calls for a harassment-free atmosphere and accountability of taxmen to boost the tax receipts. “We want to pay tax but we need the right environment for that,” Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and...

  

Fish farming loses tax privileges

The National Board of Revenue yesterday withdrew tax privileges for fish farming to rein in tax-dodging by a section of dishonest...

State banks must come under central bank governance: WB

The World Bank yesterday recommended the government delegate the control of state-backed banks to the central bank for better supervision. Supervision of...

BTI opens mega home décor store

BTI opens mega home décor store

Building Technology and Ideas or BTI, a leading real estate company,...

WB reviewing poverty line

The World Bank is reviewing whether its current poverty line, which is largely based on African data at 2005 international prices, will require an upward revision amid availability of new data and changes in exchange rates. The multilateral lender now uses a poverty line of $1.25 a day on purchasing power parity and that is being reviewed now, said Zahid Hussain, lead economist of the WB's Dhaka office. New data to gauge the poverty line is available, while the purchasing power...

Symphony to launch Mozilla smartphone

Local handset brand Symphony along with mobile operator Grameenphone will launch a smartphone run by the Firefox operating system for the Bangladesh market today. “The new set will be very cheap,” Aminur Rashid, chairman of Symphony Mobile, told The Daily Star. But he denied talking about the price of the set. Grameenphone will declare new packages today for the set, which may have a price tag of more than Tk 4,000, according to market insiders. The Firefox operating system is a product...

Fair to popularise CSE's online trading platform

The Chittagong Stock Exchange is set to organise a two-day fair next month to promote its internet trading platform, which is yet to gain popularity almost ten years after its launch. Mock transactions through the bourse's internet trading system will be showed to the investors, who can also participate in the trading, said Syed Sajid Husain, managing director of CSE. Husain's comments came at a media briefing organised at the bourse's Dhaka office yesterday as part of its plan to hold...

Bangladesh can send skilled workers to Japan

Bangladesh has a good chance to send skilled workers to Japan, a visiting delegation of the Asian economic giant said yesterday. “Japanese industries need around 10 lakh skilled workers and Bangladesh can take the advantage,” Prof Tetsuo Mizukami at the social science department of Rikkyo University in Japan, said at a press conference on global migration and transnational networks at Dhaka Reporters Unity. But Mizukami, who led a five-member delegation of Rikkyo University and Asian People's Friendship Society (APFS) of Tokyo,...

Banglalink reaches 3cr users

Banglalink, the second largest mobile operator of Bangladesh and a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Vimpelcom Ltd, has reached a milestone by acquiring three crore subscribers, a statement of the operator said. The total number of mobile phone users in the country is 11.68 crore as of July, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Grameenphone leads the market with 4.94 crore subscribers, while Robi is in the third position with 2.42 crore users. Ziad Shatara, chief executive officer of Banglalink, said: “Banglalink is...

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Stocks slip on profit-booking

Stocks returned to the red as investors sold off shares and mutual fund units to pocket profits yesterday. DSEX, the prime index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, shed 3.66 points or 0.07 percent to end at 4,709.91 points. The shariah index of the Dhaka bourse, DSES, fell 1.90 points or 0.17 percent, to close at 1,110.72. The market saw mild corrections as investors went for some quick-profit booking, said LankaBangla Securities. “The market slowed a bit after last few days' buying spree amid profit...

H&M signs deal with ILO to improve supply chain

Swedish retailer H&M yesterday signed an agreement with International Labour Organisation to improve its supply chain management, according to a statement. The cooperation between H&M and the ILO dates back to 2001, when H&M joined the ILO Better Factories programme in Cambodia, the retailer said in the statement. The new strategic partnership will promote a wide range of activities with the aim to further strengthen the sustainability work in H&M's supply chain. The activities will be both at the global, national...

StanChart head of group country risk in town

StanChart head of group country risk in town

Alex Barrett, head of group country risk at Standard Chartered Bank, is now in Dhaka on a two-day visit, the bank said in a statement yesterday. Barrett is scheduled to meet senior officials of Bangladesh Bank, stakeholders, staff and clients during his stay, according to the statement. Barrett is responsible for assessing, assigning and managing the country risk exposures of Standard Chartered Group, which is present in 74 countries and operates in over a 100 countries. He had previously been responsible for group research, running a team of over 120 equity, fixed income, commodity, foreign exchange, and macro-economic strategists for five years. He has over 25 years of experience in different financial...

Air France strike sparks travel chaos

Air France strike sparks travel chaos

French flag carrier Air France scrapped half of its flights Monday as pilots began a strike against the company's plan to develop its low-cost subsidiary. The company said 60 percent of its flights would be cancelled Tuesday with fears that the week-long protest -- the longest at the company since 1998 -- could spell...

Big firms brace for global carbon price rollout

An increasing number of big corporations expect governments worldwide to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions to help tackle climate change and some are already factoring in the cost to guide future investment decisions, a report found on Monday. Some 150 large listed companies - including 29 in the United States such as Dow Chemical Company, banking group Goldman Sachs and oil firm ExxonMobil - now incorporate an internal carbon price ranging from $6-80 per tonne, according to a...

London designers target fashion-hungry shoppers with "tech firsts"

Fueled by the boom in online sales for the latest trends, London's designers are finding new ways to deliver instant gratification to fashion hungry shoppers, amid high hopes of boosting growth in the sector. British retailer Topshop, whose website attracts an average of 4.5 million hits a week, launched a new digital "first" on Sunday by letting shoppers buy six readymade items from its latest collection immediately after its show at London Fashion Week. "As we know, everyone spends all their...

China Sinopec unit to sell 30pc stake

Chinese oil giant Sinopec will sell a 30 percent stake in its marketing arm to outside investors for more than $17 billion, the company said, as the government pushes key economic reforms. China's Communist Party pledged at a meeting in November to allow the market to play a "decisive" role in the allocation of resources through a number of policies, including prodding state companies to operate on more commercial terms. The move by Sinopec, initially proposed by the firm in February,...

Nasdaq's Facebook failure worries Alibaba

Nasdaq's Facebook failure worries Alibaba

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd could have sold nearly $2 billion worth of stock without lifting a finger. All it had to do was list its shares on Nasdaq. That listing would have guaranteed Alibaba's inclusion in the Nasdaq 100 Index by the end of the year, and funds which track the index would have...

Alibaba to boost IPO size on overwhelming demand

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to increase the size of its US initial public offering because of "overwhelming" investor demand, people familiar with the deal said on Monday. The Chinese e-commerce company launched the IPO last week and had enough investor demand to cover the entire deal within two days, people familiar with the process said last week. Alibaba could set a new record for the world's biggest IPO if underwriters exercise an option to sell additional shares to meet demand,...

South Africa launches support package for troubled power supplier

The South African government on Sunday announced a wide-ranging support package for troubled state-owned power supplier Eskom, that will see it receive an equity injection and raise additional debt. Eskom, which supplies 95 percent of South Africa's electricity, has been struggling to meet growing demand, hobbled by years of underinvestment and ageing infrastructure. "Eskom is facing significant challenges that threaten its sustainability," the finance ministry said in a statement. "Cabinet approved a package to support a strong and sustainable Eskom to ensure...

China's Xi touts 'maritime silk road' on South Asia tour

China's President Xi Jinping enlisted the Maldives' backing for a "21st century maritime silk road" on Monday as he began a tour of South Asia in the strategically located Indian Ocean island chain. The Maldives is best known for its tourist industry but also straddles major international shipping lanes, and Chinese investment there has grown significantly as Beijing seeks to secure vital trade routes. "(The) Maldives was an important stop of the ancient maritime silk road," Xi wrote in an article...

India inflation slows to five-year low in August

India's wholesale price inflation slowed to its lowest level in almost five years in August, data showed Monday, after the right-wing government came to power pledging to wrestle down crippling prices. The Wholesale Price Index increased 3.74 percent year on year -- far below market forecasts of around 4.40 percent -- and sharply lower from 5.19 percent last month. I was also the lowest since October 2009 thanks largely to a drop in fuel and metals prices, the data showed. The figures...

Hero MotoCorp plans to invest 16b rupees in new plant

Hero MotoCorp Ltd, India's top maker of motorcycles and scooters, plans to invest 16 billion rupees ($262 million) to set up a new manufacturing plant in southern India, a source directly involved in the matter said. Hero has signed a preliminary agreement with the Andhra Pradesh state government to set up the plant, to be spread across 600 acres, which can produce upto 1.8 million vehicles annually, the source said. Hero, which has three operational plants and one under construction across...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
BASIC managers take pay cuts

BASIC managers take pay cuts

In an extraordinary move, BASIC Bank's top managers have forfeited a certain portion of their monthly gross salaries in a bid to minimise the operating costs in the face of financial tribulations. The bank's six deputy managing directors have given up Tk 30,000 each from their gross monthly salaries and the 12 general managers Tk 20,000 each -- a first in the country. “The management voluntarily took the initiative. There was no pressure from the board, but they appreciated the decision,” Mojib Uddin Ahmed, a director of the bank, told The Daily Star yesterday. The move is part of the action plan that BASIC sent last week to the finance ministry to...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
NBR's online tax system floundering

With much enthusiasm, a big foreign bank filed its tax returns online just after the Large Taxpayer Unit (LTU) launched its electronic system in 2009. Three years later, it returned to the manual system. That was not a unique case. Most companies that had signed up for the e-filing system at LTU of the National Board of Revenue returned to the old method. About 11 firms submitted returns online last fiscal year, according to NBR, down from 33 in fiscal 2009-10, when...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
CSR guideline drafted

Banks and non-bank financial institutions will soon have to spend 2.5 percent of their net profits on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, as per the guideline prepared by the central bank. The draft of the guideline, which is now awaiting formal approval, however, has exempted banks and NBFIs that are making losses, facing capital deficit or provisioning shortfall. The move comes as part of Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman's efforts since 2009 to get financial institutions to contribute to the wider...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Special cards for 402 top taxpayers today

The National Board of Revenue will honour 402 top and long-term taxpayers today, in an effort to encourage better compliance and boost income tax collections. Forty taxpayers, comprising companies and individuals, will be honoured for paying the highest tax at the national level in fiscal 2012-13 and fiscal 2013-14. The NBR will also honour 362 taxpayers from 64 districts and nine city corporations. The payers will get 'tax cards' for paying highest tax nationally. AMA Muhith, finance minister, is expected to hand...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Govt rolls out project to make economic plans pro-poor

The government has launched a project to give a pro-poor bent to key state institutions responsible for formulating economic policies. Called the Support to Inclusive and Sustainable Planning (SSIP) Project, the $4.7 million-worth scheme is meant for implementation between June 2013 and December 2016. Of the sum, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will provide $2.2 million, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs $300,000 and the UN Poverty and Environment Initiative $200,000. The remaining $2 million is yet to be...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Fresh funds in stocks buoy turnover to 7-month high

Fresh funds in stocks buoy turnover to 7-month high

Turnover on the Dhaka Stock Exchange reached Tk 838 crore, a seven-month high, as investors yesterday injected fresh funds into stocks amid growing confidence.  DSEX, the benchmark general index of the DSE, gained 37.66 points or 0.80 percent, to close at 4,713.58 point, the highest in four and a half months. The shariah index of...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Internet literacy a must for future

Internet literacy a must for future

Anybody can develop mobile applications just in seconds by learning computer programming codes available on the internet, said Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla Foundation. The simple methods to make an app are available on Mozilla's website, Surman said at a session at the CTO Forum that ended in the capital on Wednesday. People must...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
GP offers free Facebook as it gets 5cr customers

GP offers free Facebook as it gets 5cr customers

Grameenphone users will be able to browse Facebook for free from today, as part of the operator's run-up to celebrate reaching the milestone of getting five crore customers. The offer, which is first of its kind in Bangladesh, is part of its “internet for all” initiative, the telecom operator said in a statement yesterday. Under...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
New DMD for NRB Bank

New DMD for NRB Bank

Zeeshan Hasib has recently been promoted to deputy managing director of NRB Bank. Hasib joined the bank as senior executive vice president and head of corporate banking in 2013, the bank said in a statement yesterday. An MBA from Colorado State University, Hasib started his banking career with Société Générale in 1998, and has also worked with HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank. Hasib is a certified Credit Professional accorded by Omega UK and a conferred Trade Professional by Standard Chartered Bank, UK, according to the statement.

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Labour force workshop starts for BBS juniors

A three-day workshop started yesterday on how to project the labour market for the junior officers of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. The workshop will mainly analyse the labour force surveys of 2005 and 2010 to understand the changing nature of the labour force. “Besides analysing previous surveys, the workshop will train participants to be able to project future trends in the labour market,” said Sayema Haque Bidisha, an associate professor of economics at Dhaka University, and a trainer of the workshop. The...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
China on track to develop Indian railways as Xi heads to S Asia

China on track to develop Indian railways as Xi heads to S Asia

China will pledge to invest billions of dollars in India's rail network during a visit by President Xi Jinping this week, bringing more than diplomatic nicety to the neighbours' first summit since Narendra Modi became prime minister in May. The leaders of Asia's three biggest economies - China, India and Japan - have crisscrossed...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
World's largest passenger aircraft to serve Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways' first A380-800 is set to join the company's fleet through an inaugural ceremony at Hamad International Airport on Thursday, the airline said in a statement.  Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, prime minister and interior minister of Qatar, will attend the launch of the world's largest passenger aircraft into the airline. The aircraft will be operated in a tri-class configuration of first business and economy class spread over twin decks, according to the statement. Qatar Airways is set to...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Tesco seeks to be Britain's best-loved grocer again

Standing with bags of groceries outside discount store Lidl in Thetford, eastern England, Jodie McGloughlin explains simply why she turned her back on Britain's biggest retailer - its high prices. "With Tesco.. all them pounds add up," the 22-year-old mum says. "I think that's what people notice." Tesco has issued three profit warnings in two and a half years as McGloughlin and other former customers depart for discount rivals Aldi and Lidl. It has spent more than 1 billion pounds ($1.62...

Published Date: September 15, 2014
Coming out of the union: Scots focus on money issues

Coming out of the union: Scots focus on money issues

This week's Scottish independence referendum is a lot about the economy, experts say, as voters mull the outlook for their currency, oil revenues, jobs, national debt and EU membership. Scots will cast their ballot Thursday in a knife-edge vote that could see Scotland scrap its historic union with the rest of the United Kingdom. British...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Banks' CSR spending under scanner

Banks' CSR spending under scanner

Bangladesh Bank has asked banks to send detailed information on their corporate social responsibility activities to check any misuse of funds and make a comprehensive guideline. The move comes after questions were raised about the legitimacy of the beneficiaries of such funds in some cases. For instance, the board of a government bank in a...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Regent Airways to invest $100m in expansion

Regent Airways to invest $100m in expansion

Regent Airways plans to invest $100 million in expansion in the next two years to grab the growing aviation market of Bangladesh. The private carrier will add five new aircraft to its fleet and launch 13 new international routes during the period. “We want to be a preferred airline internationally. So, we are investing in technology, passenger facility, aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul,” said Sam Issac, chief adviser to the airline, which began international flights in July last year. "The new investment will ensure better safety and passenger comfort," he told The Daily Star at the airline's head office in the city yesterday.   The new aircraft -- three Boeing 737-800 and two Embraer...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Less than 2pc of factories unsafe, Accord says

Engineers of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the platform of 186 retailers predominantly based in Europe, found less than 2 percent of the inspected factories unsafe for production and occupancy. The platform, which started its inspection drive in February, has so far examined upwards of 1,000 factories for fire, electrical and structural safety, according to a statement. “The fact that the number is less then 2 percent indicates that Bangladesh's garment factories are not as unsafe as...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
China demand to fuel Hong Kong iPhone grey market

Wealthy mainland Chinese looking to buy the new iPhone 6 next week could expect to pay an eye-watering $2,500 for the handsets in Hong Kong, following Apple's decision to delay the launch in China. Hong Kong has long been a hub for resold and refurbished phones, and delighted vendors there were coping with a flood of pre-orders from the Apple-obsessed mainland. The price, say sellers in the southern Chinese city, is a bargain -- the phones can then be resold on...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Airtel offers discounts for Hajj pilgrims

Airtel Bangladesh has offered a special 50 percent discount for Hajj pilgrim's security deposit for activating international roaming service, it said in a statement yesterday. Every year, more than 100,000 Bangladeshis perform Hajj. All Airtel users going on pilgrimage can take the discount offer for any international credit card and will be valid only during Hajj 2014, it said. Postpaid customers can use the international roaming service with a Tk 5,000 security deposit during this Hajj. Airtel has also reduced local call...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Cars that drive themselves starting to chat with each other

An Acura RLX sedan demonstrated an unusual way to tow another car this week: the vehicles were not physically attached. The second car drove itself, following instructions beamed over by the first in a feat of technology that indicates a new stage in automation is happening faster than many expected. Systems that enable vehicles to communicate with each other have been developed in recent years in parallel with features that enable cars to drive themselves. Manufacturers and suppliers now are...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Argentina faces new devaluation as dollar demand grows

Recession-hit Argentines are flocking to buy dollars, nervous over the government's latest debt default and pressure from the business community to devalue the peso for the second time this year. Officially, a dollar is worth 8.42 Argentine pesos. But it takes 14.26 pesos to buy one on the black market, a gap that only shows signs of widening. President Cristina Kirchner has tried to convince Argentines to stop hoarding greenbacks and spend their pesos instead. "You have to invest in things...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Bangladesh-Turkey businesses stress FTA

Bangladesh-Turkey businesses stress FTA

Businesses of Bangladesh and Turkey have urged their governments to expedite efforts for signing a free trade agreement to boost bilateral trade. The Turkish government imposed 17 percent duty on import of textile and garment items from Bangladesh in June 2012 to protect its domestic apparel industry. All Bangladeshi products, except garment items, enjoy...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
NRBs call for an institution to handle investment queries

A six-month convention on non-resident Bangladeshis ended in Dhaka yesterday with a call for an institution to provide support for NRBs' investment in the country. Starting in March, the Centre for NRB organised 14 conferences with the theme -- NRB talent, investment and remittance for development -- in North America, Europe and the Middle East. The suggestions and recommendations raised from the series of conferences by the NRBs will be placed before the government and the relevant authorities for implementation,...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Larger Apple iPhones shipments delayed amid record orders

Larger Apple iPhones shipments delayed amid record orders

Customers may have to wait three to four weeks to get their hands on Apple Inc's iPhone 6 Plus, after a record number of orders for the company's latest smartphones strained available supply. The new iPhone 6 goes on sale on Sept. 19 in the United States but the company began taking online orders...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Pfizer, Ranbaxy win dismissal of lawsuit over generic Lipitor

Pfizer Inc and India's Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd on Friday won dismissal of a US antitrust lawsuit accusing them of conspiring to delay sales of generic versions of the best-selling cholesterol drug Lipitor. US District Judge Peter Sheridan in Trenton, New Jersey, ruled that the plaintiffs, retailers and distribution companies that bought Lipitor directly from Pfizer, failed to plead their case with enough detail. The lawsuit, filed in 2012, stems from a 2008 settlement of a patent lawsuit filed by Pfizer against...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Alibaba plans to close IPO order book early

Alibaba plans to close IPO order book early

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd plans to close its IPO order book early after it received enough orders to sell all the shares in the record-breaking offering, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. The company, which launched its IPO on Monday, is expected to price the deal on Sept. 18 and will start...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Citigroup's OneMain planning to go public by month-end

Citigroup Inc is planning on taking its OneMain Financial Inc personal loan business public by September end, Bloomberg said citing people with knowledge of the matter. OneMain, which is worth at least $4 billion, is expected to start considering offers from potential buyers, the report said. In May, Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat said at an investor conference that Citigroup could dispose of the company through an outright sale to a private equity firm, a public stock offering, or a combination...

Published Date: September 14, 2014
Chinese output growth slows to five-year low in August

China's industrial production growth slowed sharply to 6.9 percent in August, its lowest level for more than five years, official data for the world's second-largest economy showed Saturday. The figure, which measures output at factories, workshops and mines, marked an abrupt slowdown from the 9.0 percent year-on-year expansion recorded in July and was the worst since 5.7 percent in December 2008, during the global financial crisis. It also fell far short of the 8.7 percent median increase in a survey of...