Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) have finally reached a consensus on the much-debated issue of authority to remove directors and top executives of public banks. Firing directors of the public banks will remain in the hands of the government now while the fate of their managing directors will lie with the central bank, as the both sides have agreed.

A seven-hour strike of a section of Biman employees left around 3,000 passengers stuck at Shahjalal International Airport, flight schedule of many airlines in disarray, and Biman and Bangladesh embarrassed. No flights left Shahjalal International Airport between 8:00am and 1:00pm and some arriving passengers had to walk to the terminal from taxiways and the tarmac as there were no buses to take them there. 

The rate of inflation, under 2005-06 base year, surged to 7.14 percent in December on point-to-point basis and the non-food inflation stood at 10.03 per cent in the same month amid contractionary monetary policy being pursued by the central bank. This was revealed on Tuesday by the country’s national statistical organisation — Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). 

A cold wave is sweeping the country with the season’s lowest temperature recorded at 4.9 degrees Celsius at Ishurdi in Pabna on Tuesday. The Met office said mercury dipped to six degrees Celsius in most places in the northern region and 9.6 degrees in the capital. 

The central bank of Bangladesh has asked state-owned Rupali Bank Limited (RBL) for taking necessary measures to improve internal controls for checking fraudulence and forgeries in future, officials said. The directive came at a meeting held at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) on Tuesday with BB Governor Atiur Rahman in the chair to review implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed by the RBL. 

A Bangladesh Bank panel on Tuesday gave a go-ahead to eight private sector projects to take loans about $80 million from foreign sources, the regulator said in a statement. The loans include $10 million for Incepta Pharmaceuticals, $29.6 million for Robi Axiata, $7 million for Holcim Cement and $10 million for Envoy Textile.

The country’s stocks edged lower in a volatile trading on Tuesday, market operators said. The benchmark Dhaka Stock Exchange General Index, DGEN, ended down marginally 8.15 points or 0.19 per cent to 4118.77. The All Shares Price Index, DSI, lost 6.48 points or 0.18 per cent to 3494.87. The DSE-20 blue chip index closed at 3430.03 with a loss of 8.16 points or 0.23 per cent. Similarly, the Chittagong Stock Exchange Selective Category Index, CSCX, dropped 22.92 points to 8001.79.

The country’s trade deficit decreased by 22.02 per cent to $3.49 billion in the first five months of the current financial year due mainly to negative import growth, said Bangladesh Bank officials. The gap between export and import earnings stood at $3,494 million in July-November of the FY 2012-2013 against $4,481 million in the first five months of FY 2011-2012, according to the latest BB data released on Tuesday. 

The US Trade Representative office on Tuesday sought comments from stakeholders by January 31 on the possible withdrawal, suspension or limitation of GSP benefits to Bangladesh. In a notice published by the Federal Register, the USTR said that as part of an ongoing review the Trade Policy Staff Committee, a subcommittee on Generalised System of Preferences, was seeking public comments to consider whether to recommend that duty-free treatment for Bangladesh in the US market under GSP programme be withdrawn, suspended, or limited.  

BBN/SSR/AD-09Jan13-9:35 am (BST)