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13 February 2013
BSEC suspends Appollo Ispat IPO subscription after Muhith objection
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday postponed the public subscription of the initial public offering of Appollo Ispat Complex Ltd following the finance minister’s advice. The decision came at a meeting presided over by BSEC chairman M Khairul Hossain. The BSEC said following the finance minister’s suggestion, the commission decided to get further information about the company. Finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith in a letter last week advised the BSEC chairman to suspend the public subscription of the IPO, scheduled to begin on March 3, over allegations of different irregularities.
3G guideline ready for auction
The posts and telecommunications ministry on Tuesday finalised the 3G licence guideline reducing the spectrum block allocation to 5 MHz with base price at $20 million and licence validity for 15 years. ‘We sent the final draft to the BTRC today (Tuesday) and hope they will complete the formalities within the shortest possible of time to start the auction for 3G licence,’ telecom secretary Md Abubaker Siddiqi told New Age on Tuesday. He said the new guideline was designed considering the operators’ valid demands and the government’s interest as well.
BB to monitor forex-related transactions on dashboard
Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday introduced an electronic system for monitoring all kind of transactions involving foreign exchange in the banking sector to check any embezzlement. BB governor Atiur Rahman inaugurated the electronic system named dashboard at the central bank headquarters in the capital. Atiur said from now on the inspection team of the central bank would be able to analyse the data of the dashboard before it made any special visit to a bank.
New SIM registration process affected telecom business: GP
The BTRC’s latest decision on the subscriber identification module registration process affected country’s mobile phone industry as the number of subscribers reduced in the fourth quarter of 2012, said Grameenphone on Tuesday. ‘It [the decision] was imposed on the mobile phone operators without holding proper consultation with them and the industry suffered an immediate shock,’ GP chief executive officer Vivek Sood said while presenting the financial statement of the company for the last year to the media. GP’s net profit declined by 7 per cent to Tk 1,750.47 crore in 2012 from that of Tk 1,889 crore in 2011.
15 brokerage houses fined for breaching laws
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday fined 15 brokerage houses and issued warning letters to five investors on charges of violation of different securities laws. The commission in a meeting also approved a draft guideline to strengthen its inspection over the stock brokers and stock dealers. The BSEC fined Be Rich Ltd, Mona Financial Consultancy and Securities, Mirpur Securities, Western Investment Management Tk 1 lakh each for violating securities laws in treading shares of International Leasing and Financial Services Ltd. Sylhet Metro City Securities, Al-Muntaha Treading Company, Hack Securities and SIBL Securities were fined Tk 1 lakh each for violation of securities laws while treading shares of Beach Hatchery Ltd.
No import of rice likely in current calendar year
Bangladesh is unlikely to import rice in the current calendar year owing to a stable situation following good harvests over the past several years and an expected output boost in the upcoming Boro cultivation. However, Bangladesh signed an agreement to import some 1.0 million tonnes of rice from Thailand in 2013, when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra visited Dhaka in December last year. The agreement may be helpful in case we need to import rice at anytime of the current year.
12 February 2013
Export earnings growth falls to 8.83pc in 7 months
The country’s export earnings growth in the first seven months of the current fiscal year fell to 8.83 per cent from that of 14.28 per cent in the same period of the last fiscal year, though the earnings in January continued uptrend for the third month. The monthly export earnings growth in January increased to 18.81 per cent from around 12 per cent during the same period of the last fiscal year. The single-month export earning in January totalled $2.55 billion, which is also 6.34 per cent higher than the target of $2.40 billion.
21 financial institutions out of 30 raise paid up capital: Muhith
As many as 21 financial institutions out of 30 working in Bangladesh have already raised their paid up capital to BDT 1.0 billion within the stipulated time, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith informed the House Monday. He, however, said there is no plan for time being to cancel the license of the financial institutions which failed to deposit paid up capital within the stipulated time.
Government takes USD 1.5 billion hard loans to install five power plants
The government has finally decided to borrow hard-term loans worth nearly USD 1.5 billion from export credit agencies (ECAs) for setting up five big power plants. Financing from the ECAs is hard-term borrowing with a high rate of interest and a short maturity period (2 to 10 years). The ECA loans are usually supplier's credits, extended to the exporter, but they may also be buyer's credits, extended to the importer. The risk on these credits, as well as on guarantees and insurance, is borne by the sponsoring government.
3G guideline finalized
The telecom ministry may send the final 3G licensing guideline to the regulator today for further action, said Telecom Secretary Md Abubakar Siddique yesterday. After getting the guideline, the regulator will initiate the process of auction. He said a total of four licenses will be given for 2,100 megahertz spectrum -- three to the incumbent operators and one to a new entrant. Earlier, at the end of 2012 the finance ministry set USD 20.0 million as the base or starting price for the auction for per megahertz spectrum. The spectrum will be technology-neutral and operators will be able to provide services of 3G or 4G or LTE (long term evolution). LTE offers faster speed in data transfer compared to 3G. A total of 40 MHz spectrum will be auctioned, while another 10 MHz spectrum has already been allocated to state-owned Teletalk on a trial basis.
Most SME loans went to unproductive sector in 2012

SME loan disbursement by banks and non-bank financial institutions increased by 29.84 per cent in 2012 from that of 2011 although major amount of loans went to trade or unproductive sector, according to BB data released on Monday. All banks and NBFIs had disbursed a total of Tk 69,753.32 crore in small and medium enterprises loans in 2012 against Tk 53,719.44 crore in 2011. The SME loan disbursement by banks and the NBFIs had increased by 45.16 per cent to Tk 44,222.65 crore in trading sector in 2012 from the annual target of Tk 30,463.81 crore. The trading sector got 63.39 per cent of the total disbursement.

Beximco Pharma enters EU market
Beximco Pharmaceuticals Limited has commenced export of medicines to Europe. This was the very first time a local pharma company exported ophthalmic products to Europe. A signing ceremony was held on the factory premise of Beximco Pharma to mark the first consignment to Europe in presence of high officials of the company and representatives from DHL and Emirates.
11 February 2013
BTRC to bring international calls on single platform
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority has directed the international gateway operators to form a clearing house in a bid to curb illegal international call termination and unhealthy competition among the service providers. The BTRC in a directive asked the IGW operators to from the central platform for routing the international calls to monitor them properly. The BTRC directive came following a recent trend of decreasing international call volume and offering of low rates in international calls other than the prescribed rate, it said. The proposed International Clearing House would have a memorandum of understanding with the IGWs to ensure that the termination rate, which is 3 cents per minute, remains regulated.
BB launches electronic monitoring tomorrow
Bangladesh Bank will launch an electronic system tomorrow for monitoring all kind of transactions involving foreign exchange in the country’s banking system to tackle embezzlement, said officials of the central bank. A BB official told New Age on Sunday that electronic screens would initially be set up at the offices of BB governor and concerned deputy governor, executive director and general manager. The screens will work as dashboard or control panel, he said. He said that the BB would monitor through the dashboard the procedure of letters of credit for imports and exports by banks, inward and outward remittance processes and all other forex-related transactions.
Bangladesh to propose World Bank to divert USD 1.2 billion Padma loan to other projects
Bangladesh will propose to the World Bank (WB) to divert the scrapped USD1.2 billion fund, which was supposed to be disbursed for constructing Padma Bridge, to other development projects now being implemented with the Bank aid. Finance Minister AMA Muhith made the announcement on Sunday, saying, "The proposal of fund diversion will be formally placed during the upcoming meeting to be held between the WB President and myself in Washington sometime in the current month".
IOCs seeking higher gas price for exploring new offshore blocks
The aspiring international oil companies (IOCs) are seeking a higher natural gas price for exploring the country's new offshore blocks as offered in the currently opened bidding round. The IOCs argue that the gas price offered in the model production sharing contract (MPSC) for the offshore bidding round is not attractive. As per the MPSC of the new offshore bidding round the gas price has been pegged to high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO) prices, and the floor price for HSFO has been fixed at USD 100 per tonne and the ceiling price at USD 200 per tonne for the 2012 bidding round.
Short-term T-bill, T-bond to be launched
The government is going to introduce one Treasury bill and another Treasury bond on short-term basis to facilitate government borrowing, BB officials said. A BB official told New Age on Sunday that the maturity tenure of the T-bill would be of 28 days and T-bond would be of 2 years. He said the primary dealer banks and non-PD banks were usually reluctant to invest long-term T-bills and T-bonds as their liquidity turned into an idle asset for a long time in this way.
Garment accessory makers can borrow from EDF: BB
Member mills of Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association would be able to borrow up to $1 million a year from the $300 million export development fund of Bangladesh Bank. To this end, the BB on Sunday issued a circular to all authorized dealer branches of the banks.  Till date, only member factories of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association could borrow up to $10 million a year from the EDF.
PM for bringing agri sector under insurance coverage
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday called upon the private insurers to bring the agriculture sector under insurance coverage considering the recurring loss of crops due to natural calamities. Loss of crop owing to flood and other natural calamities is a recurring phenomenon which disrupts the entire economy of the country, she said. To make agriculture more productive and to help the farmers recover the losses of natural disasters, new measures have to be taken both by the public and private sector insurers, she said.
Bangladesh stays second to Pakistan in ship-breaking
Bangladesh remained the world's second largest ship-breaker after Pakistan while India slid to the third position in the 2012 calendar year, scrap-yard sources said. Bangladesh dismantled about 260 ships weighing a total of 3.1 million tonnes nearly half the share of Pakistan that tore down more than 500 ships with the dead-weight tonnage of 6.0 million tonnes.
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