FBCCI welcomes scope for whitening black money


MNA Business Desk: The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) has welcomed the black money whitening facility in the proposed budget national budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The apex trade body also described the budget as ‘public and business-friendly’. “We thank Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal for announcing such a public and business-friendly budget,” FBCCI President Sheikh Fazle Fahim said at a budget reaction press conference in Dhaka on Saturday, reports UNB. Welcoming the black money whitening windows, he said, “We see positive things in the budget.” Replying a question, he ...

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Budget brings new hopes to failing capital market


MNA Business Desk: The finance minister has proposed a set of ‘incentives’, including an increase in the tax-free threshold for dividend income from the listed companies, in a bid to make the country’s capital market vibrant. AHM Mustafa Kamal came up with the proposals for incentives in the national budget for the upcoming fiscal year (FY) 2019-20 placed in parliament on Thursday. At present, dividend income up to Tk 25,000 earned from the publicly traded companies is exempted from tax. “With a view to incentivising the small investors and strengthening the capital market, I propose to enhance this limit up ...

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BD SEZs to attract higher FDI: UNCTAD


MNA Business Desk: The current development of special economic zones (SEZs) through public-private partnership in Bangladesh and other Asian countries is likely to help attract more foreign direct investment (FDI). The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) predicted this in its World Investment Report (WIR)-2019. The report was released Wednesday night. As a flagship publication of the UN body, it generally provides the global FDI and also focused a theme linked with FDI. This year it focused on SEZs. Global FDI flows slid by 13 per cent in 2018, to US$1.3 trillion from $1.5 trillion the previous year ...

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Chronology of national budget


MNA Business Desk: Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal is set to place the national budget for 2019-20 fiscal year at the Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday. This will be the country’s 48th budget and the 20th of the Awami League government in five terms. Tajuddin Ahmed presented the first budget as the finance minister of the post-independence Bangabandhu government in 1972. According to BSS, the chronology of national budget is given below along with budget size with amounts in crore: Fiscal— Who placed—Total Size— ADP 1972-73—Tajuddin Ahmed —Tk 786 —Tk 501 1973-74 —Tajuddin Ahmed —Tk 995 —Tk 525 1974-75 —Tajuddin Ahmed ...

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Brexit uncertainty poses risk for BD economy


MNA Business Desk: The Brexit uncertainty poses a “risk” to South Asian economies including Bangladesh due to having generalized system of preferences (GSP) with the European Union (EU) and a significant export to the United Kingdom. The World Bank (WB) issued the warning in its latest report titled “Global Economic Prospects: Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investment” released last week. “A no deal Brexit could have a significant impact on exports of those countries to the UK in the absence of new trade agreements,” said the WB report. The report showed Bangladesh’s exports to the UK as a share of total shipment ...

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Plastic goods manufacturers eye bigger global market share


MNA Business Desk: The plastic goods sector, which has tremendous potential to capture global market, will flourish further if a specialized industrial zone and modern recycling system could be established, said business insiders. They also said, the country’s plastic goods industry is booming due to availability of raw materials at a cheaper rate, government policy support, manufacturing efficiency and production of diversified goods. Besides, as China has moved towards high-tech industries, Bangladeshi plastic goods exporters have the chance to raise their share in the global market for plastics. Export earnings from plastic products is expected to reach USD 721.14 billion ...

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Little progress in tapping blue economy potentials

blue economy

MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh appears to have made little progress in exploiting its “huge” blue economy potentials, according to a recent report. The contribution of the ocean economy to the total economy was 3.66 per cent in fiscal year 2009-10, which fell to 3.33 per cent in fiscal 2015, said the report. And in recent years, the contribution is hovering at around 3.0 per cent, economists and senior government officials told the FE. Through the international court verdict in 2014, Bangladesh get sovereign rights over 118,000 square kilometres of maritime territory, 200 nautical miles (NM) of exclusive economic zone, and ...

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‘Role of dollar’ should be revisited in global trade: Putin


MNA Business Desk: Russian leader Vladimir Putin renewed calls to revisit the role of the US dollar in global trade. Speaking at an economic forum on Friday alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Russian president called for deep reform, claiming that trust in the dollar had been on the decline, AFP reports. Changes in the global economy “call for the adaptation of international financial organisations (and) rethinking the role of the dollar which… has turned into an instrument of pressure by the country of issue on the rest of the world,” Putin said. The Kremlin chief — whose country has chafed ...

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Jute mill workers get wages, bonus


MNA Business Desk: Workers of nine state-owned jute mills in Jashore and Khulna received their outstanding wages and Eid bonus on Thursday. Workers of crescent, platinum and star jute mills withdrew their wages from ATM booths in Khalishpur in the afternoon. On the other hand, officials of these mills were not paid their arrears. Kalam Mollik, general secretary of Jute mill industrial officers association, said: “We didn’t receive any salary this year. Although the Finance Ministry paid the workers’ arrears, mill officials were not paid any wages.” Meanwhile, hundreds of officials demonstrated in front of Khulna zone office. In a ...

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Hyundai Group eyes energy sector for investment


MNA Business Desk: The Hyundai Group, a South Korean business conglomerate, has expressed its interest to invest in the energy and power sector of Bangladesh. A high-level delegation of the company showed its eagerness for the investment during its visit to the office of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) on Wednesday, said a statement. The delegation, led by Deputy General Manager of Hyundai Chang Jin La, also expressed satisfaction over the investment climate in Bangladesh during a meeting with high BEZA officials. They said they felt encouraged to invest in Bangladesh after learning about the Japanese investments in various ...

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Bangladesh, Japan sign $2.5b ODA deal


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh and Japan on Wednesday signed their 40th ODA deal involving US$ 2.5 billion for implementing five projects to bolster ties between the two countries. Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Monowar Ahmed and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Hiroyasu Izumi signed the ODA deal on behalf of their respective sides, reports UNB. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe witnessed the signing at the office of Japanese premier in Tokyo. Five projects, taken under the 40th Official Development Assistance (ODA) package deal, are Matarbari Port Development Project (1), Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Project (Line ...

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AAFA warns BD of negative impact on industry growth


MNA Business Desk: A group of US apparel and footwear companies expressed the fear that the efforts by the government and apparel manufacturers in tackling the recent labour unrest over wage hike might hamper further growth of the industry. In separate letters to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on May 24, American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) warned of the consequence. It also urged the government and apparel makers to withdraw all the criminal charges against labour leaders and reinstate the over 1,000 workers fired due to labour unrest over minimum wage ...

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Import duty on rice increases to 55pc


MNA Business Desk: The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has increased import duty on rice to 55 per cent from existing 28 per cent aiming to help raising local paddy prices. The NBR issued a circular in this regard on Wednesday. According to food ministry, 0.2 million tonnes of rice was imported both by the private sector and government so far (until April 16) in the current financial year (FY’19) which was 3.3 million tonnes in the corresponding period of last year. According to the Department of Agricultural Marketing, paddy was selling at Tk 500-Tk 650 a maund (40 kg) ...

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MFS likely to come under close watch


MNA Business Desk: Mobile financial services (MFS) like bKash and UCash are likely to be brought under close monitoring by the government soon, officials said. The government is moving towards such regular screening after it finds concrete evidence of criminal activities being carried out by using digital financial service, they added. To this effect, the home ministry in a recent letter sent by Md Jakir Hossain, deputy secretary of Public Security Division, has asked the finance ministry to give opinions in this regard as early as possible. Earlier, the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) has requested the home ministry to ...

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Co-operatives call to withdraw 15 per cent income tax


MNA Business Desk: Co-operative leaders have urged the government policy-makers including the Ministry of Finance to withdraw 15 per cent income tax on co-operative societies. The Co-operative Credit Union League of Bangladesh Limited (CCULB) in a statement signed by its Chairman Jonas Dhaki and Secretary Emdad Hossain Malek, said the existing income tax had been hampering the socio-economic development of distressed and under-privileged people. The 15 per cent tax was imposed on the income of co-operative societies since 2015. As a result, the formation of capital by small -income societies through small savings, creation of employment, poverty reduction and domestic ...

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Toshiba net profit up 26% in fiscal 2018


MNA Business Desk: In the year that ended March, Japanese engineering firm Toshiba’s net profit jumped 26.0 percent to 1.01 trillion yen ($9 billion), chiefly because of profit from completion of the sale of the Memory business. Toshiba “achieved a healthier financial condition by closing the sale of the Memory business, advancing structural reforms that included finalising the sale of the PC business and decided to withdraw from a nuclear power construction project in the UK,” said the company, AFP reports. But the firm said its operating profit dropped 58.9 percent to 35.4 billion yen, partly due to restructuring costs, ...

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Pathao targets up to $50 million in fresh funds


MNA Business Desk: Pathao, a Bangladeshi ride-hailing firm, is seeking to raise up to $50 million in its latest funding round to add more services such as payments and expand its food delivery business, its senior executives said. The Indonesia’s Go-Jek-backed Bangladeshi start-up, which was established in 2015 as an e-commerce logistics provider, has since expanded into food delivery and ride-hailing for motorbikes and cars. “We are looking to raise around $40-$50 million,” Pardeep Grewal, Pathao’s chief operating officer, said in an interview in Singapore on Wednesday. The latest round is expected to close in the first half of this ...

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ADB accentuates quality, innovation now


MNA Business Desk: Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Mr Takehiko Nakao said on Friday they would focus more on quality and innovation in its operations. He announced that the ADB would boost its private-sector operations by one third of its total portfolio by 2024. “To expand private-sector operations, we also target a substantial increase in commercial co-financing,” Mr Nakao told the opening session of the 52nd ADB Annual Meeting in Nadi, Fiji. Fijian Prime Minister Hon Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and ministries from different countries and delegations were present at the function. At the event, Mr Nakao said the ADB is ...

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ADB chief assures to extend support to BD even after LDC graduation


MNA Business Desk: The Asian Development Bank will extend its support to Bangladesh even after its graduation to a developing country, said its president Takehiko Nakao on Thursday. Praising Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, he said the ADB will help reform Bangladesh’s different initiatives she is very much committed to. Replying to a question of this correspondent at a press briefing at the second day of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the ADB at Nadi in Fiji on Thursday, Mr Nakao said: “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants to be a partner with ADB regarding railway reforms, port reforms and water ...

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Illegality takes institutional shape: TIB


MNA Business Desk: A tripartite syndicate is responsible for wetlands filling across the capital violating the Detailed Area Plan (DAP), claimed Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Thursday. TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said a syndicate of businessmen, corrupt law enforcement members and political influence is responsible for such lawlessness. “Illegality has taken an institutional shape,” he said about the illegal wetlands filling. He was speaking at a press conference in Dhaka jointly arranged by TIB, Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) about wetland filling in the capital and its surroundings violating DAP. Professor ...

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Stocks keep losing amid low confidence in market


MNA Business Desk: Stocks extended the losing streak for the second day in a row on Wednesday, as worried investors continued their selling binge on sector-wise shares. Market analysts said dearth of quality stocks, lack of investors’ confidence and shortage of liquidity for the erosion in stock prices. The finance minister’s latest remarks on capital market made investors frustrated. The market opened on negative note and turned positive in the mid-session. But, the index failed to sustain in the positive zone amid selling pressure. At the end of the session, DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), ...

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CPD questions data behind high growth estimate


MNA Business Desk: The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) on Tuesday has questioned the authenticity of the data used in calculating a high growth estimate as it does not match with the growth of key macroeconomic indicators. On March 19, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics forecast the GDP (gross domestic product) growth to be 8.13 per cent for fiscal year 2019-20. This is for the first time in the country’s history that the growth above 8.0 per cent has been projected for a fiscal year. At a programme to review the first 100 days of the current government on Tuesday, ...

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BD working age population rises to 62.7 per cent


MNA Business Desk: The significant rise in the country’s working age population – from 49 per cent in 1994 to 62.7 per cent in 2018 –provides a demographic dividend to the economy. This was pointed out by “The State of World Population Report 2019” launched by the UNFPA Bangladesh on Wednesday. However, the report also revealed that Youth unemployment rate has increased from 6.0 per cent in 1994 to 11 per cent in 2017 showing a doubling of unemployment among the youth aged between 15 – 29 years. Young population of Bangladesh constitutes 30 per cent of the total population- ...

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NBR to scan TIN holders skirting tax returns


MNA Business Desk: The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will find out the TIN (tax-payers’ identification number) holders who are not submitting tax returns despite having taxable income, its chairman said. Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said some people use TIN for different purposes, including for house purchase, but do not submit tax returns. “We will see whether the TIN holders are submitting tax returns,” he said. He made the announcement at a pre-budget meeting on Monday. The NBR chairman, however, said the tax authority will not take any steps that would hurt business. NBR member (income tax policy) Kanon Kumar Roy ...

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Bangladesh among top five fastest growing economies: WB


MNA Business Desk: The World Bank in a report has put Bangladesh among the five fastest growing economies in the world. The outlook was reflected in the report titled ‘The Bangladesh Development Update April 2019: Towards Regulatory Predictability’ released on Thursday morning. The report attributed this astounding growth, despite insufficient private investment, to stable macro and export-oriented industry-focused growth. “Overall, the economy is moving forward, growing at a decent pace by Bangladesh’s own historical as well as international standards. Growth on the supply side in FY17 was driven by services and industry which accounted for 3.4 percentage point out of ...

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‘Made in Bangladesh’ trade fair in Qatar later this year


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh will hold a single country trade fair, ‘Made in Bangladesh’, in Doha, the capital of Qatar, in October 2019. “The preparations are underway to hold the fair,” Qatar’s The Peninsula, reported quoting Ashud Ahmed, the ambassador of Bangladesh to the Arab country, on Tuesday. A large number of Bangladeshi companies are expected to showcase their products and services in the event to be held in collaboration with Bangladesh Forum Qatar, Qatar Chamber, and Qatar Financial Center, he said. Replying to a query, the ambassador said Qatar and Bangladesh were working on a number of bilateral agreements ...

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Sylhet Hi-Tech Park likely to be costlier


MNA Business Desk: The land development cost of the under-construction Sylhet Hi-Tech Park project is going to be increased by about Tk 171 million (Tk 17.15 crore). According to official sources at the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, a proposal was forwarded by the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) to raise the cost of the work by 12.88 per cent over the contract amount. The BHTPA undertook the project to develop it on an area of 162.82 acres of land at Companyganj upazila in Sylhet and moved to develop the land of the area, reports UNB. Bangladesh Navy-run Dockyard ...

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