State banks recover loans of Tk 3,000cr

Posted by BankInfo on Wed, Jun 21 2017 02:05 pm

State-run commercial and specialised banks recovered Tk 3,152 crore of defaulted loans in the first nine months of fiscal 2016-17, Finance Minister AMA Muhith informed parliament yesterday.

Defaulted loans till March 31 amounted to Tk 41,401 crore while the number of defaulters, both individuals and organisations, stood at 202,623, he read out a scripted reply to lawmakers' queries.

The government earned Tk 44,449.28 crore from import of vehicles in the periods between fiscal 2009-10 and April this year, said Muhith.

There are 1513,253 income tax payers at present and they paid Tk 2,067 crore till May, he added.

BB HEIST MONEY

Bangladesh was yet to find $66.37 million of $101 million stolen from the Bangladesh Bank reserves, said Muhith.  He said $20 million was reimbursed from Sri Lanka to the Federal Reserve Bank, New York.

Of the $81 million that had gone to the Philippines, $14.63 million was deposited in BB's account in the Federal Reserve bank, he added.

Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit, the finance and foreign ministries, Office of the Attorney General and Criminal Investigation Department of police are working together to realise the money, said Muhith.

Legal initiatives were also ongoing in the Philippines, he said.

The GDP growth in fiscal 2016-2017 will be 7.24 percent, while the country achieved an economic growth rate of 7.11 percent in fiscal 2015-16, Muhith said, referring to the data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.

The government is taking different steps, including the ones to boost industrialisation, employment, production and exports, to achieve the growth, he added.

news:daily star/21-jun-2017

National Bank fails to auction Citycell HQ

Posted by BankInfo on Wed, Jun 21 2017 01:54 pm

Citycell requests bank to call off bidding

Citycell has requested National Bank to pull back its gambit to sell off the mobile operator's office space in the capital's Mohakhali area as part of the efforts to recover Tk 454.45 crore of unpaid loans.

Last month, the private commercial bank ran a newspaper advertisement requesting bids by June 15 to purchase the 38,800 square feet floor and 5.04 decimal of land that currently serves as the operator's head office.

“We found no interested bidder,” said an official of the bank. The bank is yet to decide whether it will call for another round of bids.

“Citycell owners are out of the country now. They requested us to go for a payment arrangement,” he added. Earlier, Faisal Morshed Khan, son of Citycell Chairman Morshed Khan, also said they are in talks with the bank on the issue and would pay off the loans shortly.

Recently, the telecom regulator recommended the government to cancel the licence of the operator for not paying dues.

The telecom division has forwarded the recommendation of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to the Prime Minister for a final nod, said a top official of the telecom division.

In October last year, the BTRC brought down the curtains on Citycell over dues amounting to Tk 477 crore pertaining to spectrum and licence fees, revenue sharing and late penalty.

After the cancellation of its spectrum, Citycell had paid Tk 230.19 crore to the BTRC along with Tk 14 crore as tax to the National Board of Revenue, according to documents.

Citycell disputes the amount claimed by the BTRC, so the High Court formed a committee to settle the matter. The committee has submitted its report recently.

Faisal Khan said the company has paid the BTRC's dues and would gradually pay back the bank loans.

Recently, a group of employees served a legal notice on Citycell over mounting amount of unpaid salaries and other benefits.

Shareholders have been trying to sell the operator's licence for the last few years, but it did not happen.

Citycell, which began operations in 1993, has been out of service since October last year.

Singapore's SingTel owns 44.54 percent shares in Citycell while Pacific Motors owns 37.95 percent and Far East Telecom 17.51 percent.

news:daily star/21-jun-2017


Banks tempt Eid shoppers with offers

Posted by BankInfo on Wed, Jun 21 2017 11:12 am

Banks have tied up with clothing brands, supermarket chains and restaurants in the contest to get customers to splurge during Ramadan and the Eid-ul-Fitr festival.

Standard Chartered, Mutual Trust, Eastern, City, Brac and many other banks are offering discounts of up to 30 percent for purchases made with cards during the month of Ramadan.

bKash, a mobile financial service provider, is offering 10-20 percent cash back for payment made through the platform at a select few clothing stores.

“Bangladesh Bank asked us to make digital payment popular, so we are offering cash backs to get people to take to the platform,” said Kamal Quadir, CEO of bKash.

Standard Chartered, the pioneer in the card business in Bangladesh, is providing the highest offers for Ramadan and Eid shopping.

The bank is offering cash back of 2 to 7.5 percent for spending through card in grocery shop, dining, hotel and all other retail transaction.  A Standard Chartered MasterCard holder can enjoy up to 20 percent discount at 20 clothing stores and 25 percent discount with Visa card.

The bank also offering 35 percent discount on furniture and electronics purchase from 11 brands for the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

“Banks are offering incentives for card transaction to promote a cashless society,” said Abrar A Anwar, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered Bangladesh, adding that it is a global practice to accelerate economic activities.

Banks and merchants are jointly making the offers and both parties are being benefited as it leads to an increase in card transaction. The offers also tempt customers to buy more, he added.

Among other banks, Mutual Trust Bank, Dhaka Bank, United Commercial Bank, National Bank, NRB Bank are running 'buy one get one free' offer for iftaar and suhoor buffets at standalone restaurants and upscale hotels for their card holders.

The BB is encouraging the use of card for transactions as it reduces the cost and risks of carrying cash, said Subhankar Saha, executive director of the central bank.

Card transaction between the months of January and March stood at Tk 2,023 crore, up almost 14 percent from a year earlier, according to data from the BB.

news:daily star/21-jun-2017

Tough days ahead for forex reserves

Posted by BankInfo on Wed, Jun 21 2017 11:02 am

Star Business Report

Bangladesh's healthy foreign exchange reserves is set to come under stress in the wake of the rising import bill and sliding remittance flow, bankers said.

“The foreign exchange market may see a huge pressure in the coming days as import is rising faster than export. Also, the inflow of remittance is on a negative territory,” said a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank.

On June 14, foreign exchange reserve stood at $32.73 billion, enough to cover the import expenditure for eight months.

Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund too raised questions about the adequacy of Bangladesh's foreign currency reserves and suggested the safe reserve limit of 9.6 months' import bill.

Remittance, which is a major source of foreign currency in Bangladesh, has declined more than 14 percent to $11.55 billion in the first 11 months of the fiscal year.

Rice import after several years and rising oil prices globally are expected to eat up Bangladesh's foreign exchange in the days to come, bankers said.

In the first 11 months of the fiscal year, imports grew 14.11 percent and exports 3.67 percent, according to data from the BB.

Subsequently, current account deficit also widened to $1.75 billion in the July-April period of fiscal 2016-17.

Capital machinery imports account for the mounting import bills: in the July-April period of the fiscal year, letters of credit settlement saw a 19 percent rise.

About one-tenth of the import payments were for capital machinery, which is a boon for an economy.

The import of capital machinery grew significantly due to the government's mega projects, said a senior official of a private bank.

Rising oil prices is posing another threat for Bangladesh's foreign currency reserves, he said.

The price of crude oil in the international market has increased to $56 a barrel from $30 between March 2016 and March 2017.

Major items that Bangladesh imports are machinery, cotton, iron and steel, mineral fuels including oil, plastic and plastic articles, vehicles and so on.

The central bank in its analysis for the January-March period commented that the strong growth in private sector credit and capital machinery import indicate a buoyant domestic demand.

However, it said the negative growth of remittance might dampen the domestic demand.

Private sector credit growth rose for five months in a row to stand at 16.2 percent at the end of April, which is close to the target set by the BB for the second half of the fiscal year.  

news:daily star/21-jun-2017

China freezes bank accounts of over 100 Myanmar traders

Posted by BankInfo on Wed, Jun 21 2017 10:34 am

AFP, Yangon :
Chinese banks have frozen the accounts of more than 100 commodities traders in northeast Myanmar in a bid to clamp down on smuggling and illegal gambling, state media reported Tuesday.
Myanmar's government has been negotiating with Chinese officials since the accounts were suspended last week by three banks based in China's Yunnan province, according to the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar.
Many of the accounts belonged to Myanmar merchants who trade foodstuffs, such as rice and pulses, which are often exported to China through the border town of Muse in eastern Shan state.
"These accounts were frozen after their (China's) crackdown on 27 illegal rice trading gangs in recent days," Soe Tun, vice-chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation, told AFP.
He estimated that up to 1,000 accounts had been frozen-a figure not immediately confirmed by the three Chinese banks affected: the Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
"This freeze is the worst in decades," Soe Tun added. "Although some accounts were frozen in the past, it wasn't that many-about four to five to 10 at the most."
According to Myanmar state media, some of the accounts were also suspended over "possible links to illegal internet gambling."
The Chinese embassy in Yangon said the accounts had been closed to "combat illegal border trading" and it was working with both sides to resolve the issue.
Chinese authorities often confiscate rice and other foodstuffs at the border due to restrictions on imports and because of confusion over tax issues as the levy paid in Myanmar is lower than in China, according to local media.
The bank crackdown comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping drives forward a sweeping anti-graft campaign launched in 2012.
Border trade between the two countries was also disrupted in November when armed groups launched a major attack on Myanmar's military close to Muse, sparking the most intense fighting for decades in the conflict-racked region.

news:new nation/21-jun-2017
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