Google CEO eyes major opportunity in healthcare


MNA Business Desk: Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc and its Google subsidiary, said on Wednesday that healthcare offers the biggest potential over the next five to 10 years for using artificial intelligence to improve outcomes, and vowed that the technology giant will heed privacy concerns. US lawmakers have raised questions about Google’s access to the health records of tens of millions of Americans. Ascension, which operates 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across the United States, is Google’s biggest cloud computing customer in healthcare. “When we work with hospitals, the data belongs to the hospitals,” ...

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Merchant bankers’ plea for raising funds


MNA Business Desk: Merchant bankers on Monday called for increased fund support and quality public offerings to help restore stability in the country’s capital market. To attract good and sound companies to the stock market, they also called upon the authorities concerned to introduce a lucrative incentive package by eliminating the existing barriers like double-taxation. A special committee of the ministry of finance tasked with monitoring the market made the calls at a meeting held at the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, or ICB, in the city. After the meeting, president of the Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association, or BMBA, Md Sayadur ...

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BB rolls out capital market support plan this week

capital market

MNA Business Desk: The central bank is set to announce a long-term comprehensive plan this week aiming to support sustainable development of the country’s capital market. Under the plan, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) will provide both liquidity and policy supports to the banks along with other capital market intermediaries, according to officials. The central bank is working on such liquidity supports to all the share market-related financial institutions at an ‘affordable cost’ through the scheduled banks in the form of repo (repurchase agreement), they explained. As part of the move, BB Governor Fazle Kabir heard from the leaders of Bangladesh ...

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Investors welcome PM’s directives on securities market


MNA Business Desk: Some market supportive measures helped Dhaka stocks end the sharp losing streak in the week ended on Thursday. Out of five trading sessions, the DSE broad index witnessed sharp fall in first three sessions hitting 56-month low. The last two sessions closed positively following a meeting called by the ministry of finance (MoF) to discuss the market supportive proposals. On Thursday, the DSE broad index closed the session with a sharp rise of 2.0 per cent or 81.62 points. On the day, Prime Minister gave six-point instructions for revitalizing the country’s stock market, including ensuring easy credit ...

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BD open to raising palm oil imports from Malaysia

palm oil

MNA Business Desk: In some good news for Malaysian palm oil sellers, Bangladesh is open to increasing palm oil imports from the Southeast Asian country if it offers competitive prices. “If they approach us we’ll welcome them,” Reuters reported quoting agriculture minister Abdur Razzak on Thursday. “We can raise imports from Malaysia if we get a better price from them.” When asked about India’s move to stop palm oil imports from Malaysia, the world’s second biggest producer and exporter of the commodity after Indonesia, he said, “It’s rather good, prices of palm oil are coming down.” Bangladesh mainly buys palm ...

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India asks BD to buy its imported onions


MNA Business Desk: India has asked Bangladesh to procure the onions that it has imported after a majority of states withdrew their demand for the commodity. At a meeting held on Monday, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry made an offer to acting Bangladesh high commissioner Rokebul Haque to buy the onion stock that India had imported for domestic consumption, Indian news website ThePrint reported citing a senior government official familiar with this on Tuesday. But Bangladesh argued that it already has imports of Chinese onion in the pipeline through Nepal, so India should offer some incentives like free ...

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Higher private sector credit flow to ensure more investment: DCCI


MNA Business Desk: Increased private sector credit flow will ensure more investment and economic growth, said the newly elected Board of Directors of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) on Tuesday. They also urged the central bank to cut down lending rate to single digit. They suggested reducing non-performing loan (NPL) to establish a mechanism in order to identify willful and unintentional defaulters. Their comments and call came at a meeting while the board of directors led by its President Shams Mahmud called on Governor of Bangladesh Bank(BB) Fazle Kabir today on Tuesday. Executive directors of different departments and ...

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Bangladesh starts exporting LPG to Indian state of Tripura


MNA Business Desk: Bangladesh has started commercial export of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to neighbouring India with initial shipment of around 1,000 tonnes per month. Two privately owned firms — Omera Petroleum and Beximco LPG — are now exporting LPG to Tripura, a landlocked northeastern state of India, by road. Presently, each of the firms is exporting around 500 tonnes a month, and the volume may climb to around 2,500 tonnes within several months. “We have started commercial export of LPG to India a couple of weeks ago after carrying out several test runs with a volume of several hundred ...

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IBBL Business Development Conference-2020 ends


MNA Business Desk: The closing ceremony of three-day Business Development Conference of Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited ended at Hotel Royal Tulip Sea Pearl Beach Resort, Cox’s Bazar on Sunday. Professor Dr. Md. Salim Uddin, FCA, FCMA, Chairman, Executive Committee of the bank addressed the concluding session as the chief guest. Md. Mahbub ul Alam, Managing Director and CEO of the bank, presided over the program. Major General (Retd.) Engr. Abdul Matin, Chairman, Risk Management Committee addressed the program as special guest. Mohammad Solaiman, FCA, Chairman, Audit Committee, Md. Joynal Abedin, Syed Abu Asad, Md. Quamrul Hasan, Professor Dr. Mohammad Saleh ...

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BD eyes fresh funds from China for implementing six key projects


MNA Business Desk: As part of chasing Chinese money, Bangladesh now eyes fresh funds from the Asian giant for implementing six new key projects. The projects involving several billions of dollars are seen as crucial to the socio-economic development of the country, and the relevant ministries recently placed a list with the Chinese officials. The projects included the construction fo Bhola Bridge on Barisal-Bhola road over the rivers Tetulia and Kalabadar, the procurement of six sea-going vessels, the establishment of Sheikh Hasina Institute of Information Technology and Hi-Tech park and the construction of Core Port Infrastructure of Pyra Port An ...

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PM for diversifying products to boost textile export


MNA Business Desk: Prime minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon all concerned, including the textile sector entrepreneurs, to diversify products and expand markets to boost the country’s export income. “I think it’s very much necessary to diversify textile products by keeping consistency with the world market,” she said while inaugurating the ‘National Textile Day 2019 and Multipurpose Textile Fair’ at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka this morning (Thursday). The theme of the day is “Globalisation of the Textiles Sector-Sustainable Development”. She added: “Simultaneously, we have to add value to the existing products and explore new markets to raise the ...

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Trade deficit ups slightly in July-Nov


MNA Business Desk: Country’s bilateral trade deficit with the rest of the world increased slightly in the first five months of the current fiscal year (FY20), according to the provisional statistics of the central bank. It showed that deficit in merchandise trade recorded at $6.68 billion in July-November period of the current fiscal year which was $6.65 billion in the same period of the last fiscal (FY19). Bangladesh Bank statistics also unveiled that deficit in services trade, however, declined modestly to $1.36 billion in the first five months of the current fiscal year which was $1.44 billion in the same ...

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Live up to single-digit interest rate promise: PM to bankers


MNA Business Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged bank owners not to go back on their promise this time as in the past to bring down the interest rate to single digit. “I’ve fulfilled all of your demands one after another, but you didn’t keep your promise. This time, you mustn’t break your commitment (to lower the interest rate). You’ll have to live up to your promise,” she said. The PM said this while addressing a programme at her official residence Ganobhaban where Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) donated Tk 2.25 billion to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu ...

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Govt launches $10.0m fund for 650 firms to boost export


MNA Business Desk: The government has launched a $10.0 million fund for 650 firms in four sectors to be distributed over three years with the help of the World Bank. Commerce Secretary Md Jafar Uddin inaugurated the Export Readiness Fund at the Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka on Sunday, reports The fund aims to directly assist firms in the four sectors – leather and leather goods, footwear, plastics, and light-engineering. The government will distribute the fund in three categories, starting from a maximum of $5,000 to 400 companies each. As many as 200 other firms will get up to $40,000 ...

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Mustafa Kamal named finance minister of the year

Mustafa Kamal

MNA Business Desk: Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has been named the ‘Finance Minister of the Year 2020’. The Banker, a publication of the UK-based globally renowned ‘The Financial Times Group,’on Thursday awarded him the recognition. The Finance Minister dedicated the award to the people of the country, saying that he achieved this rare honor following the path shown by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The Banker magazine has been published since 1926, which is known as the world’s banking sector intelligence. They have been giving the ‘Finance Minister of the Year’ award since 2004. According to the magazine, Mustafa Kamal ...

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Onion, veg prices rise amid chilly weather


MNA Business Desk: Prices of onion and some vegetables witnessed a hike on Saturday which traders attributed to the ongoing cold wave with heavy fog that hampered the supply of these produces. Prices of cooking spice onion, which showed a gradual decline for the last two weeks, increased on Saturday by Tk 10-20 per kilogram (kg) both at retail and wholesale levels, sources said. Newly-harvested seed onion (known as murikata), was sold at Tk 110-130 a kg at retail markets- a Tk-20 hike per kilogram. Imported varieties were retailed at Tk 50-100 a kg on the day- Tk 10 hike. ...

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NBR to go tough against errant TIN holders


MNA Business Desk: As the submission of income tax returns was not found to be satisfactory against the total taxpayers identification numbers (TINs) this year, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has decided to be tough against the errant taxpayers. According to NBR data, only 2.2 million of the 4.6 million TIN-holders submitted tax returns this year. “This is disappointing, and there’s no option but to be tough against the errant TIN holders,” a senior NBR official said. He said a large number of people used to take TINs just to complete their necessary works where its submission is mandatory. ...

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Masatsugu Asakawa elected ADB new president

Masatsugu Asakawa

MNA Business Desk: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced on Monday that its Board of Governors has “unanimously elected” Masatsugu Asakawa as ADB president. Asakawa, 61, currently special advisor to Japan’s prime minister and minister of finance, will assume office as ADB’s 10th president on Jan 17, 2020. He will succeed Takehiko Nakao, who will leave office on Jan 16, 2020. Asakawa will finish the unexpired term of Nakao, which ends on Nov 23, 2021, reports Xinhua. “Asakawa’s extensive and diverse experience in international finance and development will serve ADB well in pursuing its vision of a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, ...

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Govt to form panel to ensure single digit interest rate


MNA Business Desk: The government is set to form a panel with the task of bringing interest rates down to a single digit. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal gave the information after a meeting with leaders of the banking sector on Sunday, reports “A seven-member committee led by a deputy governor of the central bank will be formed by the end of the day,” said Kamal. The panel will consist of chairmen and managing directors of public and private banks, said the finance minister. “The committee will submit a strategy on reducing the interest rate to the governor of ...

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Taka losing value against dollar


MNA Business Desk: The local currency has depreciated by Tk 1.0 against the US dollar so far this year in the inter-bank foreign exchange market as demand for the greenback grew. The dollar was quoted at Tk 84.90 each in the inter-bank forex market on November 27 against Tk 83.90 on January 02 this calendar year, according to the market operators. The demand for the greenback is gradually increasing, mostly driven by higher import payment, particularly for intermediate goods, oil and capital machinery for power plants. The Bangladesh Taka’s erosion was equally blamed on the falling trend in the export ...

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PDB proposes 23pc hike in bulk power prices


MNA Business Desk: The Bangladesh Power Development Board or BPDB has proposed to the energy regulator to increase bulk electricity tariff by 23.27 per cent per unit to trim its losses. The state-owned agency made the proposal at the public hearing on bulk power tariff and transmission cost, held by the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission or BERC on Thursday. However, after reviewing the proposal, the BERC said the price can be increased by 19.5 per cent per unit to adjust transmission costs. At the hearing, BPDB General Manager (commercial operation) Md Kausar Ameer Ali said that the bulk electricity transmission ...

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BASIC Bank in deeper trouble


MNA Business Desk: The scam-hit state-run BASIC Bank is finding it hard to procure funds from depositors, officials have said. Its battered image is thought to be the number one problem. BASIC Bank managing director Md Rafiqul Alam wrote to finance ministry last Wednesday seeking funds as well as support to boost bank’s public image. He has sought government intervention to help remove roadblocks to the bank making a comeback. According to the officials, the bank does desperately need to find ways to improve its deposit base as it has long been facing problem in this connection. The bank has ...

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BB brings simplification in online transactions

international cards

MNA Business Desk: The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has waived the formalities of online transaction authorisation form (OTAF) for online payments through international cards. The central bank issued a new notice on Sunday over the matter after it came under intense criticism for introducing the OTAF, report BSS and “To bring further simplification in online transactions, it has been decided to waive OTAF formalities for online payments abroad through international cards,” according to the BB circular. Authorities had introduced the online transaction authorisation form to stop illegitimate online payments to participate in gambling or stock trading. In this context, Sunday’s ...

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Online transactions hampered by new credit card rule


MNA Business Desk: A new rule requiring customers to obtain a certificate before completing a transaction online is causing people a lot of grief with businessmen in the IT sector suffering in particular. Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued the circular last week according to which, customers must seek authorisation to make online purchases using foreign currency by filling up a form and submitting it to their respective banks. The measure was adopted to prevent the purchase of cryptocurrency online, lottery tickets, gambling and misuse of the international credit card, according to the central bank. But bankers and customers have slated the ...

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Send more remittances: FM to expats in UAE


MNA Business Desk: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has encouraged the Bangladeshi expatriates in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to send more remittance to Bangladesh through formal channel as the government is providing lucrative incentives to the remitters. He made the call while inaugurating the smart NID card and voter enrolment services at the Bangladesh Embassy in Abu Dhabi on Monday. At the beginning of the programme, Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE Muhammad Imran briefed the audience about the smart NID card and voter enrolment services in Abu Dhabi Mission. The Foreign Minister highlighted different success stories of Bangladesh ...

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Onion price starts falling; wholesalers receive backlash


MNA Business Desk: As onion price started falling with the government’s move to import the produce and arrival of the locally-produced ones in the market, the wholesalers in the capital were seen passing idle time on Sunday due to poor turnout of retailers fearing losses. A number of wholesalers said retailers were not coming to buy onion apprehending that the price of the vegetable will drop rapidly after the arrival of cargo planes with the imported onion. Some of them said they have already suffered losses due to the downtrend in the onion price. Md Shahidul Islam, a wholesaler at ...

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1st air cargo with Egyptian onion arrives Tuesday


MNA Business Desk: The first consignment of onion from Egypt will be flown to Bangladesh on Tuesday, the Commerce Ministry said Saturday. S Alam Group is importing the onion from Egypt. On Friday, the government announced that onions are being flown from abroad on emergency basis to keep the local market stable. The prices of onion, a common ingredient in Bangladeshi kitchen, have been on the rise since India banned its export in late September. Various measures taken by the government could not bring down the prices which hit the Tk 250 per kilogram mark on Friday. The Trading Corporation ...

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