Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The Bangladesh Business News (BBN) has prepared the morning business round up compiling reports, published by different newspapers and news portals in Bangladesh.
Trade gap with India swells to $2.59b in H1: The country’s trade gap with India swelled to US$ 2.59 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year and could hit US$ 5-billion in the year-end due to falling exports amid continuous non-tariff and para-tariff barriers imposed by New Delhi, officials said.
Bangladesh’s exports to India slumped to US$ 182.48 million in July-December of the current FY 2013-14 whereas imports soared to US$ 2.78 billion during the period. Trade gap with India in July-December in FY 2012-13 was US$ 2.05 billion with an export figure of US$ 267.26 million and import of US$ 2.31 billion.

BB sets limit on agent banking: Bangladesh Bank yesterday set the maximum transaction ceiling at Tk 25,000 for agent banking customers, it said in a notice.
An agent banking customer will be able to make a maximum of four transactions a day—two withdrawals and two deposits. Besides, each bank has to maintain a current account with the agent and the balance on that account may not cross Tk 10 lakh, it said. However, the limit on the transaction value will not be applicable for withdrawal of inward remittance, it added.

Tough provisions halt fund disbursement: Fund worth Tk 3.0 billion under the capital market re-financing scheme remains cent per cent undisbursed, mainly because of tough conditions set for borrowers, even after eight months of its release. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) released Tk 3.0 billion out of the Tk 9.0 billion capital market re-financing fund by July 2013 with an interest of 9.0 per cent. Some merchant banks and brokerage firms by this time applied for the fund. But the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) was not able to disburse it, as the borrowers failed to give personal guarantee.

Moheshkhali island in Bay identified as energy hub: The government has identified Moheshkhali island in the Bay of Bengal as an energy hub by implementing there a cluster of projects including power plants and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal to boost the country's overall economy. It has also a plan to build a deep sea port near Moheshkhali at Sonadia island in the Bay. "We are eyeing to have a master plan to utilise the potential of Moheshkhali island by building a number of power plant projects, LNG terminal and deep sea port," State Minister for the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) Nasrul Hamid said while visiting the island.

Investors angered by stock price fall: A swarm of small investors yesterday demonstrated in front of the Dhaka Stock Exchange building to protest a sharp fall in share prices. Some retail investors, under the banner of Bangladesh Share Investors' Association (BSIA), demanded government intervention to bring back normalcy to the market. DSEX, the benchmark general index of DSE, broke its psychological level of 4,500 points after two months and fell 1.18 percent or 53.47 points to 4,466.08. DSES, the shariah index of DSE, closed at 967.97 points, after falling 10.77 points or 1.10 percent. The frequent change in decisions taken by Bangladesh Bank on banks' exposure to the stockmarket pulled the market down, said Mizanur Rashid Chowdhury, president of BSIA. On February 25, the central bank instructed banks to give a breakdown of daily investment in stocks in the monthly report submitted to the central bank on the 10th of every month.

BB asks Sonali again to settle accepted bills: Bangladesh Bank on Monday asked again Sonali Bank to settle the accepted bills with other banks relating Hallmark scam as the state-owned bank failed to fulfil its own commitment. The BB also asked the SBL to inform the scheduled banks concerned about which payment of their disputed accepted bills of the Hallmark scam would not be settled. To this end, the BB issued a letter to managing director and chief executive officer of the SBL asking it to take required measures in the quickest possible time. BB deputy governor Nazneen Sultana told New Age on Monday that the bank had given a commitment on February 18 in a bankers’ meeting held at the central bank headquarters that it would settle the undisputed accepted bills with other banks by one month.

Most RMG factories fail to make bio-metric database on workers: Most of the readymade garment (RMG) factories are yet to introduce workers' bio-metric database system even after ten months of a move initiated by the BGMEA in this regard. Industry insiders attribute this to mounting pressure for meeting different safety-related measures and lack of finance. The insiders claimed the RMG sector is now facing tremendous pressure both from local and international arena to introduce a number of safety measures to ensure safe workplaces in the factories especially after the deadliest incidents of Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza building collapse.

NBR to cut tax on all non-RMG exports to 0.6pc: The National Board of Revenue is going to reduce tax at source on export of all but RMG products to 0.60 per cent from the existing 0.80 per cent for 15 months, officials of the NBR said. Export of the readymade garment items, however, will enjoy 0.30 per cent tax at source, they said. The government took the decision as part of an incentive package for the sectors which incurred losses during the political unrest in the country in the run up to the general elections held on January 5.

BBN/SSR/AD-25Mar14-8:24 am (BST)