57 MNCs apply this year for permission to invest Tk15,000cr


  • India’s leading chemical company Indokem to invest Tk1,500cr
  • Belgium-based Azelis to initially invest around Tk1,200cr
  • Japan-based tire maker Bridgestone to invest Tk2,000cr
  • China’s Sinovac Biotech to start producing Plasma-Derived Medical Products with Tk5,000 cr investment

Infographic: TBS

Infographic: TBS

One of the top Indian chemical companies Indokem is gearing up to invest some Tk1,500 crore in Bangladesh. The company has already received investment approval from the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) and set up a camp office in Dhaka.

Indokem has now applied to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC), seeking permission to open a branch in Bangladesh. They have also sought allocation of land in a private economic zone to set up factories.

Aside from Indokem, 56 other big and small multinational companies (MNCs) have applied to the RJSC this year, seeking permission to open their branches to import, produce and export various products and to market locally.

According to a source in RJSC, these applications are under process.

These companies will invest more than Tk15,000 crore and once they start operation, 30,000 new jobs will be created, RJSC and Bida sources say.

If necessary approvals of these companies are completed this year, they will be able to conduct business and production by next year, Bida officials say.

Sheikh Shoebul Alam NDC, registrar at the office of RJSC, told The Business Standard that a significant number of foreign companies have applied to the RJSC in the last three months.

“The RJSC received these applications from January to 10 March. So many applications in such a short period would be a first,” said Sheikh Shoebul Alam.

Explaining the growing number of interested companies, he said, “It’s because Bangladesh is now known to the world as an investment hub. Especially, the government’s plan to implement 100 economic zones is attracting such investments.”

“Foreign companies are interested in investing in Bangladesh due to the cheap labour and the large market in the country, he added.”

Owner of a reputed law firm, which is assisting nine of the 56 companies in the approval process, said if these companies get all approvals required from the government, this just might be the year of highest foreign investment in the country so far.

According to the RJSC sources there are 2,79,167 public, private limited companies, foreign companies, partnership firms and one person companies in the country as of last February. Among them 1,051 are foreign companies.

According to Bida data, “New foreign investment worth about Tk11,643 crore came in 2021 and Tk15,000 crore in 2022. Bangladesh Bank data says in 2022, foreign companies including new and old ones have invested about $3.5 billion.

Belgium based multinational company “Azelis”, one of the world’s leading multinational companies supplying raw materials for pharma, food, agricultural, chemicals for the textile, personal care (cosmetics) and life science products, is going to begin its operations in Bangladesh with a huge investment.

According to a source, the company will initially invest around TK1,200 crore in Bangladesh.

Aparna Khurana, managing director, Azelis-India told The Business Standard, “Azelis plans to lead in the Bangladesh Market.”

She did not disclose the figure of investment but hinted that the figure will be higher than other companies in the sector in Bangladesh.

RJSC sources said, application of the Belgium-based MNC is under process.

Japan-based motor tire manufacturer Bridgestone Corporation has already secured approval from Bida to set up a factory for manufacturing tires for the local market and also to export to various countries.

Their application is also under process and expected to get final approval by May-June, said RJSC sources.

A Bangladeshi official of Bridgestone Corporation told TBS that the company will initially invest around Tk2,000 crore.

The official said that Bida has already approved their proposal.

Bridgestone has sought land at the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (BSEZ) in Araihazar, Narayanganj.

After the approval of RJSC, some 17 different types of approvals are required for foreign companies to set up a factory. Bida’s One Stop Service Centre assists the companies with these necessary approvals.

The Chinese company Sinovac Biotech, which makes a Covid-19 vaccine, is going to start producing Plasma-Derived Medical Products (PDMP) in Bangladesh with an investment of Tk5,000 crore.

An official of Sinovac Biotech (Bangladesh) Ltd told TBS that they are also waiting for the approval from the RJSC.

Kevin Zhang, general manager of Sinovac Biotech (Bangladesh) Ltd, told TBS “Bangladesh is one of the most important targeted countries to produce and manufacture plasma-based medicine. Before coming to Bangladesh, we have already established some branches in South America, Chile, Colombia and Turkey. We plan to establish more branches in different countries.”

As of now, Bangladesh, like other low- and middle-income countries, imports 100% of the plasma-based products, requiring a lot of foreign currency.

Barrister Omar Sadat, president of Bangladesh-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BGCCI) said that foreign investment is constantly increasing in Bangladesh. However, there are obstacles to approvals that need to be resolved.

“The government wants to increase foreign investment. But due to some bureaucratic complications, many foreign companies often turn away,” he pointed out,

According to Bida sources, of the 56 companies, 20 will invest in different economic zones while the rest will set up their point of operation and manufacturing plants in different regions of the country, including the outskirts of Dhaka and Chattogram.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said the government is working to attract such multinational and foreign companies to invest in Bangladesh.

“The government will provide all kinds of facilities to foreign companies to do business and manufacture in Bangladesh,” he said, adding, “The Government will be able to collect huge revenues and at the same time a large number of people will find employment.”


Source: The Business Standard. 


Revenue barely grows, raising worries about fiscal balance

Infographic: TBS

Infographic: TBS

Revenue growth has nosedived and fallen far behind the target in the eight months of the current fiscal year up to February, raising concerns over financing the deficit and development projects with prospects of more domestic resource mobilisation in the rest of the year remaining bleak.

The downward trend in revenue collection that began in November last year continues with collection growth falling as low as 3.07% this February, sliding by more than a percentage point from 4.91% in January.

According to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) sources, Tk23,727 crore in revenue – income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and customs tax – was collected in February this year, which was Tk23,020 crore in February of FY22.

This persistent declining tendency raised questions among economists about the various initiatives taken by the government to reduce imports, as well as the capacity of the NBR as the central revenue-collecting authority.

At a pre-budget meeting on Sunday, leading economists suggested reforms to the taxation system to increase the country’s tax-to-GDP ratio, which is the lowest in South Asia.

M Saiduzzaman, former finance minister, stressed that increasing the tax-GDP ratio should be given the highest priority in the next budget to solve major problems of the economy.

Revenue collection in eight months till February of the current fiscal year runs short of target by about Tk23,000 crore.

The revenue deficit would mean more government borrowing from the stressed banking system to bankroll the annual development programme (ADP) outlay and more spending in interest payment, economists have warned.

The government has already cut the ADP allocation by 7.5% to Tk227,566 crore, slashing the foreign aid component. But local component remained the same as Tk153,066 crore, meaning that the revenue authority will be under pressure to gear up its efforts to collect more tax revenue to meet the resource gap and comply with the IMF’s condition to raise tax-GDP ratio.

Otherwise, higher bank loans will be the only option for the government as foreign aid flow has dwindled due to limited implementation capacity.

Net borrowing of the government from the banking system stood at Tk41,392 crore in eight months till February, against the target set at over Tk1 lakh crore for the whole fiscal year.

The possibility of changes in the government’s current approach to control imports in the coming months is low. Hence, there is no scope for the revenue collection to increase in the remaining months of this fiscal year, rather this growth may decrease a bit more, economists said.

Dr Muhammad Abdur Mazid, the former chairman of NBR, believes that the country’s macroeconomic stability may be threatened and development activities may decrease as the shortfall in revenue collection in the eight months (July-February) of FY23 is about Tk23,000 crore of the target.

He told The Business Standard (TBS), “Due to low revenue collection, bank loans will increase and the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditions [for the $4.7 billion credit] will also not be met, which may make it difficult to get the next instalment of the loan from the agency.”

However, a review of the revenue collection figures from July to February of FY 23 shows that the growth in NBR’s revenue collection during the period is close to 9%, which was almost double in the same period of last fiscal year. Revenue earnings had a negative growth of 2% in the 2019-20 fiscal year that met pandemic-induced lockdowns, but recovered in the next two fiscal years posting an average 16% annual growth.

“The written-unwritten restrictions on imports were imposed mainly due to the dollar crisis, resulting in a significantly lower collection of import duties. If the situation continues, the current revenue growth may decrease further in the future,” Muntaseer Kamal, a research fellow of the Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told TBS, adding that this situation can be called the slowdown of the economy.

Bangladesh’s revenue contribution to GDP (tax to GDP ratio) is very low if compared globally. There are several conditions attached to the $4.7 billion loan from the IMF and one of which is to increase the tax-to-GDP ratio by 0.5% in the next 2023-24 fiscal year.

“But it will be difficult to meet the conditions like reducing tax expenditure and increasing the tax-to-GDP ratio,” Muntaseer Kamal added.

The government has taken several steps to discourage imports since April last year as the strong US dollar raised global commodity prices when the Russia-Ukraine war broke out. These import restrictions were not eased yet but rather increased in some cases. As a result, imports are continuously decreasing.

According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, imports fell by 5.7% from July to January of FY 23, which affected the revenue collection. In January, there was a negative growth in import duty collection.

NBR sources said, among the three sectors of revenue collection, the growth in import duty was the lowest at a little over 4% in the first eight months of the current fiscal year. The growth in VAT and income tax collection has been 15% and 6.29%, respectively.

Former NBR chairman Dr Muhammad Abdul Mazid said he believes that the main reason for this growth in VAT collection is the high price of imported goods.

NBR takes initiatives to boost revenue collection 

NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md Rahmatul Muneem held a meeting with field-level senior officials on Sunday to find ways to increase revenue collection.

In the meeting, field-level officials explained some of the reasons behind the slow growth in revenue collection.

On condition of anonymity, a senior NBR official, who was present at the meeting, told TBS, “It has been challenging to increase revenue collection due to low imports. However, directives have been given to realise large sums owed to the Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), Petrobangla and other organisations.

“We were also instructed to dispose of cases quickly to increase revenue collection,” he added.


Govt’s interest expenses jump over 22%

The government’s expenses on interest payments rose more than 22 per cent to Tk 40,792 crore in the first six months of the current fiscal year owing largely to higher expenditures on treasury bills, official figures showed.

The interest expenses stood at Tk 33,433 crore in the July-December half of 2021-22.

The interest expense was higher than the annual target because of a rise in interest rates for government securities, according to the quarterly debt bulletin of the finance ministry.

Treasury bills and bonds are one of the major tools the government uses when it comes to borrowing. The interest on the securities has gone up recently owing to the liquidity shortage in the banking system.

The sharp depreciation of the exchange rate against the US dollar was one of the factors behind the liquidity shortage.

The average yield of the treasury bills went past 7 per cent in November last year compared to a range of 6 per cent to 7 per cent previously.

The interest expenses in July-December were half of the annual allocation of Tk 80,875 crore.

Of the interest expenses, Tk 38,147 crore were made against domestic borrowing, which accounted for 52 per cent of the annual allocation of Tk 73,675 crore for 2022-23.

The payments on the loans in the banking system were Tk 14,657 crore. It was Tk 23,490 crore for the non-banking source.

External interest payments stood at Tk 2,645 crore, only 6 per cent of the total interest expenses in July-December.


Between July and December, the government borrowed Tk 48,024 crore, both from domestic and external sources, down more than 36 per cent from Tk 75,701 crore a year ago.

The government borrowed Tk 20,948 crore in the first half of FY23, down from Tk 25,445 crore a year earlier.

However, borrowing from both non-bank sources and through the sales of national savings certificates showed negative growth.

The government has set an annual borrowing target of Tk 40,001 crore from non-bank sources. The net borrowing in the segment was a negative Tk 4,497 crore.

Similarly, its net borrowing through national saving certificates was a negative Tk 3,107 crore. The sales target for the whole financial year is Tk 35,000 crore.

Various reform initiatives such as the online issuance process, logical investment limit, and introduction of multi-tier interest rates contributed to the reduction of the net sales of the savings instruments, said the bulletin.

The government’s external borrowing declined 14.17 per cent to Tk 27,078 crore in the first half of FY23. It was Tk 31,548 crore in the same half of 2021-22.

The total outstanding debt stock was Tk 13,59,898 crore as of December last year.

The outstanding domestic debt stood at Tk 864,105 crore. Of the sum, the government owes Tk 438,908 crore to the banking sector and Tk 425,196 crore to the non-banking source.

The outstanding external debt was Tk 495,794 crore as of 2022.

According to the bulletin, the total debt-to-GDP ratio was 30.56 per cent based on the FY23 GDP projection by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and is significantly lower than the 55 per cent threshold of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

External debt stock is around 11.14 per cent of GDP at the current market price, according to the bulletin, highlighting the well-debt position of the country.

Bangladesh has secured approval from the IMF for a $4.7 billion loan.

“The approval of the loan is a testament to Bangladesh’s strong macroeconomic performance amid global economic and political volatility, and builds confidence among development partners in the country’s economy,” the finance ministry’s bulletin said.

Source: The Daily Star


রাশিয়ার তেলে পশ্চিমা নিষেধাজ্ঞায় ক্ষতিতে ইউরোপ, লাভ তুলছে এশিয়া

স্যাক্সো ব্যাংকের পণ্যবিষয়ক কৌশলবিদ ওলে হ্যানসেন বলেন, ‘এটি এখন নিরাপদেই বলা যায় যে এশিয়ায় তেলের বেশ কিছু বড় ভোক্তা, বিশেষ করে ভারত ও চীন পশ্চিমা অবরোধের সবচেয়ে বড় বিজয়ী হিসেবে আবির্ভূত হয়েছে।’

কেপলারের তথ্য বলছে, জানুয়ারি মাস পর্যন্ত গত এক বছরে রাশিয়া পশ্চিমা অবরোধের কারণে এশিয়ায় তাদের অপরিশোধিত তেলের বিক্রি দ্বিগুণ করেছে। মার্কিন নিষেধাজ্ঞার আরেক শিকার ইরান তিন বছরের মধ্যে সবচেয়ে বেশি তেল বিক্রি করেছে। তাদের তেলের বড় ক্রেতা চীন।

ইউক্রেনে হামলার আগে রাশিয়ার প্রধান অপরিশোধিত তেল উরাল ইউরোপে ব্রেন্ট তেলের দামের চেয়ে মাত্র কয়েক ডলার কমে বিক্রি হতো। রেফিনিটিভ এইকনের তথ্য বলছে, রাশিয়া এখন একই তেল এশিয়াতে ২৪ ডলার কম দামে বিক্রি করছে। তবে কোনো কোনো সূত্র জানিয়েছে, আসলে ব্যারেলপ্রতি ১০ থেকে ১৫ ডলার কম নেওয়া হচ্ছে।

ভারতের কোনো রিফাইনারি যদি প্রতিদিন দুই লাখ ব্যারেল তেল পরিশোধন করে, তাহলে ১৫ ডলার কমে পাওয়া অপরিশোধিত তেলের কারণে ইউরোপের যেকোনো রিফাইনারির তুলনায় তারা দিনে ৩০ লাখ ডলার সাশ্রয় করতে পারবে। এক বছরে তাদের সাশ্রয় দাঁড়াবে ১০০ কোটি ডলার।

ভারতের জ্বালানিমন্ত্রী হারদীপ সিং পুরি গত মাসে বলেন, যদি ‘ভালো দাম অব্যাহত থাকে’ তাহলে ভারত রাশিয়ার কাছ থেকে তেল কেনা চালিয়ে যাবে।

এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়াম

১৯৮০-এর দশকে বিষয়টি শুরু হয়। সেই সময় তেল উৎপাদনকারীরা তাদের অপরিশোধিত তেলের জন্য একটি দাম নির্ধারণ করা শুরু করে, যে দাম এশিয়ার দেশগুলোর জন্য কিছুটা বেশি ধরা হতো। এসব দেশ পুরোপুরি আমদানির ওপর নির্ভরশীল ছিল। ফলে তাদের ওই নির্ধারিত দামেই তেল কিনতে হতো।

এই প্রিমিয়াম প্রথা বিলুপ্ত করতে এশিয়ার দেশগুলো একসময় চেষ্টা করেছে। এর অংশ হিসেবে তারা তেলের চাহিদা বাড়াতে জ্বালানি পরিশোধনে বিনিয়োগ বাড়ায় এবং দর-কষাকষিতে সক্ষমতা বাড়াতে চেষ্টা করে।

তেলের আন্তর্জাতিক বাজারে যে পরিবর্তন এসেছে, তা সৌদি আরব এবং কিছু প্রধান রপ্তানিকারকের দিকে তাকালেই বোঝা যায়। সৌদি আরবের প্রধান তেল আরব লাইটস গত ফেব্রুয়ারি পর্যন্ত তিন মাস সময়ে এশিয়ার ক্রেতাদের কাছে কম দামে বিক্রি করা হয়েছে। তবে মার্চ ও এপ্রিলে সরবরাহ করা হবে, এমন তেলের দাম খানিকটা বাড়ানো হয়েছে।

তারপরও গত নভেম্বর থেকে এশিয়ার ক্রেতাদের জন্য সৌদি আরব তার আরব লাইটসের দাম ব্যারেলপ্রতি ৩ দশমিক ৩৫ ডলার কমিয়েছে। অন্যদিকে রাস তানুরা থেকে ইউরোপের ক্রেতাদের জন্য সরবরাহ করা তেলের দাম একই সময়ে ১০ সেন্ট বাড়ানো হয়েছে।

নভেম্বর থেকে ইরাক ও কুয়েতের মতো অন্য ওপেক সদস্যরাও এশিয়ার ক্রেতাদের জন্য দাম কমিয়েছে। ইরাক তাদের বসরা মিডিয়াম ও হেভি তেলের দাম এশিয়ার জন্য কমালেও ইউরোপের জন্য বাড়িয়ে দিয়েছে।

স্যাক্সো ব্যাংকের ওলে হ্যানসেন বলেন, ‘ইরান ও রাশিয়া এখন দামের ব্যাপারে প্রতিযোগিতা করছে। তাই মধ্যপ্রাচ্যের অন্য তেল উৎপাদনকারীদের অবশ্যই দাম সমন্বয় করতে হবে। আর এর ফলাফল হলো, ইউরোপের জন্য তুলনামূলকভাবে দাম একটু বেশি পড়বে।’

সরবরাহের উৎস হারাচ্ছে ইউরোপ

এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়াম নিয়ে দীর্ঘদিন ধরে আপত্তি জানিয়ে আসছিল ভারত। এসঅ্যান্ডপি প্ল্যাটসে দীর্ঘদিন ধরে কাজ করার সময় জর্জ মন্টেপেক ব্রেন্ট তেলের দাম নির্ধারণ নিয়ে কাজ করেছেন। তিনি বলছেন, বাকি বিশ্বের তুলনায় এশিয়ার দেশগুলোর হাতে বিকল্প কম ছিল।

‘এশিয়ার দেশগুলোকে অতিরিক্ত দাম দিতেই হয়েছে। অন্যদিকে ইউরোপ ও আমেরিকার নিজস্ব সরবরাহ ছিল,’ বলেন মন্টেপেক। কিন্তু এখন ইউরোপ তাদের অপরিশোধিত তেল সরবরাহের অন্যতম উৎস রাশিয়াকে হারাচ্ছে এবং তাদের আরও দূর থেকে তেল আনতে হচ্ছে। ফলে জর্জ মন্টেপেক বলছেন, তাত্ত্বিকভাবে, ইউরোপের জন্য মধ্যপ্রাচ্যের প্রচলিত দাম খুব খারাপ হয়ে দাঁড়িয়েছে।

২০২৩ সালে ইউরোপের জন্য আরব লাইট অপরিশোধিত তেলের দাম কখনো এশিয়ার জন্য ঠিক করা দামের একেবারে কাছাকাছি এসেছে কিংবা কখনো কখনো তা ছাড়িয়েও গেছে। ২০২১ এবং ২০২২ সালের প্রথম দিকে এশিয়ায় তেলের দাম বেশি রাখা হয়েছিল।

‘মুক্তবাজার বলে কিছু নেই’

ইন্টারন্যাশনাল এনার্জি এজেন্সির সাবেক কর্মকর্তা ও একজন স্বাধীন বিশ্লেষক নিল অ্যাটকিনসন বলেন, পশ্চিমের জন্য রাশিয়ার তেলের সরবরাহ কমে যাওয়া এবং বাজারের চেয়ে কম দামে ভারতের কাছে তেল বিক্রি এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়ামের বিষয়টিকেই খরচের খাতায় পাঠিয়ে দিয়েছে।

নিল অ্যাটকিনসন বলেন, ‘এশিয়ান প্রিমিয়াম কিংবা বিশেষ স্বল্পমূল্য, এ ধরনের বিষয়গুলো সত্যিকার অর্থে আর তেমন কাজ করে না। পরিস্থিতি আসলে খুবই বদলে গেছে। একটা স্বাভাবিক সময়ে যে মুক্তবাণিজ্য আমরা দেখি, সেটি এখন আর নেই।’

ইউরোপের অপরিশোধিত তেলের দাম বেড়ে যাওয়ার আরও একটি উদাহরণ দেওয়া যেতে পারে। গত ১৬ ফেব্রুয়ারি নরওয়ের জোহান এসভারড্রাপ অপরিশোধিত তেল ব্রেন্টের চেয়ে বেশি দামে বিক্রি হয়েছে। গত নভেম্বরে এই তেল বাজারের প্রচলিত দামের চেয়ে ৫ দশমিক ১৫ ডলার কম দামে বিক্রি হয়েছিল। এটা এখনো পরিষ্কার নয়, চালানটি কারা কিনেছে।

এসভারড্রাপ পাওয়া যায় ইউরোপের সবচেয়ে বড় তেলের খনি থেকে। ২০২০ সালে প্রথম এই তেল বাজারে আসে এবং শুরুর দিকে বেশির ভাগ তেলই এশিয়ায় রপ্তানি হতো।

ফেব্রুয়ারিতে ইউক্রেনে হামলার পর রাশিয়ার ওপর যে নিষেধাজ্ঞা আরোপ করা হয়, তারপর থেকে এসভারড্রাপ খনির বেশির ভাগ তেল ইউরোপেই বিক্রি করা হয়েছে। অনেক রিফাইনারি রাশিয়ার উরাল অপরিশোধিত তেল বাদ দিয়ে এসভারড্রাপ শোধন করা শুরু করে।

তবে ইউরোপ দীর্ঘ সময় ধরে তেলের জন্য অতিরিক্ত মূল্য দিয়ে যাবে, এটা অনেকে মনে করেন না। ইউক্রেনে যুদ্ধ শেষ হলে আবার হয়তো রাশিয়ার তেল ইউরোপে সরবরাহ শুরু হবে।

স্যাক্সো ব্যাংকের ওলে হ্যানসেন বলেন, ‘আমি বিশ্বাস করি, যুদ্ধ শেষ হলে স্বাভাবিক অবস্থা ফিরে আসবে এবং নিষেধাজ্ঞা উঠে যাবে। এটা ঘটলে রাশিয়া সব গ্রাহকের জন্য একই শর্তে তেল বিক্রি করার জন্য প্রতিযোগিতা করবে।’

Source: Prothom Alo


BB working to scrap interest rate ceiling

foreign debt

The Bangladesh Bank has taken an initiative to scrap the 9 per cent interest rate ceiling and introduce a market-based interest rate on loans.

“We are working on the development of a market-based reference rate. On top of that, we will be giving a corridor for the lending rates,” said Bangladesh Bank Governor Abdur Rouf Talukder yesterday.

He came up with the remarks on the second day of the Bangladesh Business Summit at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital.

The Federation of the Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry organised the three-day event in cooperation with the foreign and commerce ministries and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority.

Contacted, a BB official explained the governor’s comment, saying that the central bank might initially set a reference rate on loans based on the demand for credit from borrowers.


“Non-performing loans (NPLs) are like cancer. If you can’t cure it within the shortest possible time, you will die. And there is no other conclusion,” said Ali Reza Iftekhar, a former chairman of the Association of Bankers

“We will then set a range of a particular corridor of interest rates on the reference rate that will be applicable to borrowers,” he said.

For instance, if the reference rate is set at 9 per cent, the corridor might be in the range of 2 to 3 per cent. This means banks may charge a maximum interest rate of 12 per cent, the BB official said, on condition of anonymity.

“Probably, shortly we will be able to introduce this new initiative,” said the BB governor at a session on long-term finance.

The BB has maintained the ceiling since April 2020. In January, it relaxed the lending rate cap for consumer loans, allowing banks to hike it up to 3 percentage points.

Citing the BB’s efforts aimed at restoring discipline in the foreign exchange market, Talukder said that the central bank was trying to keep the exchange rate stable.

Bangladesh’s foreign exchange market has been under pressure for nearly a year owing to the fast-depletion of the foreign currency reserves amid escalated import bills.

The reserves have slipped to a six-year low of $31.15 billion last week, down 30 per cent from $44.14 billion recorded in March last year. Amid the shortage of the American greenback, the taka has lost its value by about 25 per cent in the past one year.

“We will also eliminate multiple rates of the US dollar. We are close to that. You will see shortly a market-based exchange rate regime.”

Currently, the US dollar trades at different rates for exporters, importers and remitters.

The governor said that the central bank has taken several measures to contain higher inflation, which has stayed at an elevated level for the higher global commodity prices.

Consumer prices climbed to 8.78 per cent in February, breaking a five-month declining trend, official figures showed yesterday.

“Our policy is to reduce the growth of aggregate demand while making supply-side interventions. This means the central bank will finance the supply-side initiatives,” Talukder said.

Speaking at the discussion, Ali Reza Iftekhar, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, a platform for managing directors of banks in Bangladesh, described non-performing loans (NPLs) as cancer.

“If you can’t cure it within the shortest possible time, you will die. And there is no other conclusion. A bank should be very careful about NPLs,” said the managing director of Eastern Bank.

“If you look at the balance sheet of any bank, you will see that it earns a lot of money. But it also loses money because of the defaulted loans.”

Default loans in the banking sector jumped 17 per cent year-on-year to Tk 120,656 crore last year owing to a lack of corporate governance and the ongoing business slowdown.

“If we don’t have good governance at banks, you will face a high level of NPLs. You can’t stop it. The role of the board and the management should be clearly and distinctly divided. The roles are different but the goal should be the same,” Iftekhar said.

The noted banker suggested banks not hide NPLs. “If they hide defaulted loans under the carpet, bad loans can’t be managed.”

According to Iftekhar, good governance, reducing NPLs, and appointment of independent directors are highly important to ensure discipline in the banking sector.

Arif Khan, vice-chairman of Shanta Asset Management Ltd, presented a keynote paper styled “Developing Long-term Finance Markets to Support New Growth Opportunities” at the event.

“Bank deposits are mainly short-term. So, a severe asset-liability mismatch takes place when long-term loans are provided based on those deposits.”

He said higher NPLs have emerged as a concern for the banking sector.

Atiur Rahman, a former BB governor, moderated the session, which was chaired by Shaikh Shamsuddin Ahmed, a commissioner of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission.

Khalid Qadir, CEO of Brummer Partners, Alamgir Morshed, CEO of Infrastructure Development Company Ltd, Md Mahbub-Ur Rahman, CEO of HSBC Bangladesh, Asif Ibrahim, chairman of the Chittagong Stock Exchange, Yahya Al Harthi, director of Saudi Exim Bank, and D J Pandian, director-general of New Development Bank, also spoke.

Source: The Daily Star


Japanese entrepreneurs keen to invest more in Bangladesh

Japanese entrepreneurs are willing to invest more in Bangladesh to take advantage of available manpower and market access facilities, as well as explore the potential of the local market, according to business leaders, envoys, and policymakers from Japan.

“About 70% of Japanese companies in Bangladesh have expressed their willingness to expand their investment in one to two units,” said Yasutoshi Nishimura, minister of economy, trade, and industry of Japan, in a video message at a parallel session styled “Japan-Bangladesh Trade and Investment: Opportunities and Way Forward” at the Bangladesh Business Summit 2023 on Sunday.

To mark its 50th founding anniversary, the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has organised the three-day summit beginning on 11 March in partnership with the foreign and commerce ministries and the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in Dhaka.

“Many Japanese companies are interested in investing in Bangladesh. In 2021, foreign direct investment (FDI) from Japan reached a high of $910 million,” the minister said, adding that apart from the textile industry, the companies are also investing in the automobile, motorcycle, energy, and IT sectors to diversify the industries of Bangladesh.

Many Japanese companies are contributing to developing infrastructure in Bangladesh, like the Jamuna Bridge, Matarbari Deep Seaport, and the expansion of the Dhaka International Airport, said the Japanese minister.

In the keynote presentation, Takeshi Mamiya, managing executive officer of Marubeni ASEAN Pet Ltd, said a number of Japanese companies are providing high-efficiency technology support to produce high-value products like outerwear and suits.

Bangladesh is set to graduate from LDC status by 2026, and entering the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Japan is most important for Bangladesh’s continued development of textile industries, he added.

Thanks to a joint study group launched last December between the two governments, Bangladesh’s RMG exports to Japan will not be affected after LDC graduation, hoped Takeshi Mamiya.

The Japanese government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) are committed to providing concessionary loans for the infrastructure development of Bangladesh, as infrastructure is the backbone of a nation’s development, he added.

“There are more than 5,000 Japanese companies operating their businesses in Thailand, 2,000 in Vietnam, and 1,500 in Indonesia, while in Bangladesh, only 340 companies are registered due to physiological distance,” said the managing executive officer of Marubeni, and he hoped this business summit would help to reduce this physiological distance.

He urges the government to develop a policy to create an environment that acts as a level playing field to attract foreign investment, and Bangladeshi companies may join hands with Japanese companies to invite them to Bangladesh for knowledge and technology transfer.

Taro Kawachi, managing director of Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Ltd, said in the last one year 175 Japanese companies have visited their SEZ, registering visitor arrival growth of about 400% compared to a year ago.

This economic zone aims to facilitate Japanese quality in Bangladesh to attract investment, he said, adding that they started a part of the zone in December last year and that already three Japanese companies, including Singer, have invested here.

Myungo-Ho Lee, president of the Japanese commerce and industry association in Dhaka and general manager of Mitsubishi Corporation’s Dhaka office, said 10 Japanese companies are joining this business summit from outside the country to explore the investment opportunity.

Abdul Haque, an advisor at FBCCI, said that by cashing in on Japanese investment, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia have made significant progress in their industrialisation and export diversification.

He said Bangladesh has a chance to bring more Japanese investment by establishing a special economic zone for Japanese investors, and many investors may come in the days to come. The government should reform policies and rules to make them investment-friendly.

The next ten years will be very crucial for Bangladesh, he said, adding, “We must take all reforms in the Japanese standard to promote investment.”

Japanese Ambassador Kiminori Iwama also spoke at the event, while foreign minister AK Abdul Momen sent a video message and Lokman Hossain Miah, executive chairman of Bida, made the introductory remarks.


Source: The Business Standerd


রপ্তানি আয় বিলম্বে আনলে ডলারের চলতি বাজারমূল্য মিলবে না

বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের বৈদেশিক মুদ্রানীতি বিভাগ থেকে আজ সোমবার এ–সংক্রান্ত একটি পরিপত্র জারি করা হয়েছে। সেখানে বলা হয়েছে, বিলম্বে রপ্তানি আয় প্রত্যাবাসনের ক্ষেত্রে ডলারের চলতি মূল্য কার্যকর হবে না। রপ্তানি আয় প্রত্যাবাসনের প্রকৃত যে তারিখ, সেই তারিখে ডলারের যে বিনিময় হার ছিল, সেই দামেই রপ্তানি আয় নগদায়ন করতে হবে।

পরিপত্রে আরও বলা হয়েছে, এ ক্ষেত্রে ব্যাংকগুলোকে ডলারের চলতি বিনিময় হার ও রপ্তানি আয় প্রত্যাবাসনের প্রকৃত তারিখের বিনিময় হারের ব্যবধান পৃথক খতিয়ানে লিখে রাখতে হবে। নির্দেশনা অনুযায়ী প্রতি মাসের ১০ তারিখের মধ্যে তা বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকে জানাতে হবে। সংশ্লিষ্ট ব্যক্তিদের মতে, নতুন নির্দেশনার ফলে রপ্তানি আয় দেশে আসার ক্ষেত্রে গতি সঞ্চার হতে পারে।

এদিকে চলতি মাস থেকে রপ্তানি আয়ের ক্ষেত্রে ডলারের দাম আবার ১ টাকা বাড়ানো হয়েছে। এখন থেকে রপ্তানিকারকেরা রপ্তানি আয় দেশে আনলে প্রতি ডলারের দাম পাবেন ১০৪ টাকা। এত দিন রপ্তানিকারকেরা প্রতি ডলারের বিপরীতে পেতেন ১০৩ টাকা। নতুন সিদ্ধান্ত চলতি মাসের ১ তারিখ থেকে কার্যকর করা হয়েছে।

ব্যাংকের শীর্ষ নির্বাহীদের সংগঠন অ্যাসোসিয়েশন অব ব্যাংকার্স বাংলাদেশ (এবিবি) ও বৈদেশিক মুদ্রা লেনদেনের সঙ্গে জড়িত ব্যাংকগুলোর সংগঠন বাংলাদেশ ফরেন এক্সচেঞ্জ ডিলারস অ্যাসোসিয়েশন (বাফেদা) সম্মিলিতভাবে রপ্তানিকারকদের জন্য ডলারের বিনিময় হার নির্ধারণ করছে। সম্প্রতি ব্যাংকারদের দুই সংগঠন মিলে রপ্তানি আয়ের ক্ষেত্রে ডলারের নতুন দাম নির্ধারণ করেছে।



Now exporters to get Tk104 per dollar for export proceeds

All authorised dealer banks will have to follow this new rate from 1 March

Banks will now pay the dollar rate of Tk104 to bring export proceeds to the country quickly, according to rate fixed by Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association (Bafeda).

All export proceeds and other inward remittances including commercial remittances irrespective of ticket size will be bought by the banks at a fixed rate of Tk104 per US dollar (instead of the earlier Tk103), reads a notice published by Bafeda on Wednesday (1 March).

In the notice, it was said that the exchange rate for dollars is being fixed for remittance with a view to stabilise the foreign exchange market and to better serve the customer of all segments.

This new rate will be effective from 1 March and all authorised dealer banks will have to follow this rate.

Also, all wage earners and white collar NRB’s remittances (only those who are entitled to receive the existing 2.50% GoB incentives) received through Exchange Houses (both for banks own Exchange House(s) and third party Exchange Houses) and formal banking channel will be bought by the banks at a rate not higher than Tk107 per US dollar,” reads the notice.

Source: TBS News


1% lower limit lifted, floor re-imposed for the 169 scrips

Infograph: TBS

Infograph: TBS


  • Now the 169 scrips’ prices can fall up to 10% a day until hitting the floor price
  • Of the 168 scrips, one mutual fund was delisted in the meantime
  • Asia Insurance and Far Chemical were added
  • New floor will be equal to the average of closing prices from 26 Feb to 1 Mar
  • But if the previous floor is lower for any of the 169 scrips, that one will be considered as floor

In an effort to end an ineffective downside restriction, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) reinstated the floor price for 169 small-cap scrips on Wednesday.

On 21 December 2022, the market regulator removed the floor for 168 stocks and restricted their daily fall limit to 1%.

As a result of the repeal of that order, the prices of those scrips can fall up to the regular lower circuit breaker limit – 10% a day – until hitting the floor price.

Of the 168 scrips, one mutual fund was delisted in the meantime, and the regulator added Asia Insurance and Far Chemical, making it a list of 169 scrips in total.

Now, the average of the closing prices of those 169 scrips for four trading sessions – 26 February to 1 March – would be their new floor prices, according to the BSEC’s 1 March order.

But if the previous floor price, that was announced on 28 July last year, is lower than the new floor, then the lower one would be effective, according to the order.

The 169 scrips represent roughly 5% of the market capitalisation of all the listed scrips in the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).

Stockbrokers and investors said the commission’s 21 December move to withdraw the floor from 168 scrips was a blow to a large number of investors, as 100 of those scrips lost their market value as of 1 March, including the 39 that fell by 20%-35%.

The worst part of the fall was investors were unable to exit from the falling knives as there had been no buyers due to the narrow bottom circuit, investors said.

However, 27 of the scrips were above the 28 July floor on 1 March, and the remaining were flat as the minimum tick price gap was higher than 1% of the scrips’ market prices.

The smallest gap between two prices of a share or mutual fund is Tk0.1 in the DSE and CSE.

The floor prices and the narrowed down lower circuit drastically affected the liquidity in the bourses, as investors were deprived of exit opportunities regardless of whether they needed money to withdraw from investment accounts, or to buy any other security.

When buyers wait for a scrip’s price to fall, they refrain from bidding for it. And at an extreme point of pessimism, the number of DSE scrips having bidders dropped drastically to 62, and 337 of the 399 DSE shares, mutual funds and corporate bonds had no buyer.

However, as the regulator on Sunday and Monday busted market rumours that it might withdraw the floor price from another set of scrips, the market started to recover and 138 scrips had bidders during the closing bell on Wednesday.

79 of the 169 scrips came back in active trading, up from only 15 on Sunday, while of the 232 scrips with intact floor, 173 were stuck there and 59 were trading above floor on the day.

How the market performed on Wednesday

Meanwhile, the daily transaction increased to over Tk450 crore, which fell below Tk300 crore a day during the decline last week.

DSEX, the broad-based index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), from its recent bottom of 6,175 on Monday morning, hit 6,234 in the middle of Wednesday session. But adamant sellers dragged the index down to even lower than the previous close.

“The market saw mixed reactions as the session began with an upbeat momentum, but the morning optimism faded as risk-averse investors booked profits, enticed by the recent price appreciation of selective issues,” said EBL Securities in its daily market commentary.

DSEX finally closed at 6,214 which was 0.04% lower, and out of the total DSE scrips, 68 advanced and 80 declined.

“However, opportunist investors continued to take positions in beaten down issues with anticipation of quick gains since they expect positive momentum in the market, as the floor price is likely to be intact for the foreseeable future,” added the brokerage firm in its commentary.

On the sectoral front, IT contributed the maximum 16.2% of the DSE turnover, followed by life insurance and food.

As the late hour selloff wiped out the early hour intraday gains, most of the sector displayed mixed returns at the end.

General insurance registered the highest gain of 1.5%, followed by life insurance and tannery.

Paper with 2.4% correction led the losers, followed by travel and jute sectors.

Source: TBS News


Garment export to US falls

Bangladesh’s garment exports to the United States of America (US) declined in January this fiscal year, suffered by dip in shipments of knitwear items to the biggest market.

Exporters sent $4.98 billion worth of garments in the July-January period of the current fiscal year (2022-23), down 1.98 per cent from $5.08 billion the same period a year ago, data compiled by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) showed.

Woven garment exports grew 6.7 per cent while shipments of knitwear slumped 17.6 per cent during the period.

Until December this fiscal year, export receipts for apparels shipped to the US, which bought nearly one fifth of the overall earnings from clothing exports last year, was positive.

This is first time in four years that apparel exports to the US declined amid fears of recession.

High inflation in the US is a factor behind the decline, said Mohiuddin Rubel, director of BGMEA.

If this continues, overall export earnings may become negative.

“However, increased exports to non-traditional markets have offset the fall in shipments to the US. This is a good thing,” he added.

Until January of the current fiscal, overall earnings from garment exports grew 14 per cent year-on-year to $27.41 billion from a year ago.

He said the sector registered growth in earnings because of good performance in other markets, including non-traditional ones.

During July-January of FY23, apparel exports to the European Union (EU) increased by 15 per cent to $13.73 billion, up from $ 11.94 billion the same period a year ago, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.

Germany, being the largest European market fetched $4.06 billion with only 0.83 per cent year-on-year growth.

However, exports to other EU countries grew at an increased pace.

Among the major non-traditional markets, exports to Japan soared nearly 46 per cent year-on-year to $920 million.

Shipments to other non-traditional markets were also higher with exports to Malaysia growing 92.7 per cent, Brazil 64.1 per cent and India 58 per cent respectively.