Stocks on DSE up, down on CSE

After witnessing a downward trend in the three sessions, the country’s premier bourse, Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), today rebounded as investors remained active on sector-wise issues.

After witnessing volatility, DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), went up by 13.18 points or 0.26 per cent to settle at 5,083.20.

Two other indices also ended higher with the DSE 30 Index, comprising blue chips, rose 9.12 points to finish at 1,812.19 and the DSE Shariah Index (DSES) advanced 7.14 points to close at 1100.92.

Out of 395 issues traded, 161 advanced, 168 declined and 66 issues remained unchanged on the DSE trading floor.

However, daily trade turnover plunged to Tk 3507.998 million on the country’s premier bourse, which was Tk 4316.455 million at the previous session of the week.

SAMATALETH was the day’s top gainer, rising 9.98 percent, while DELTALIFE was the worst loser, shedding 3.68 per cent.

The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) closed the day of the week with a downward trend with its ma
jor CASPI 16.65 points down at 14553.72.

At the CSE, 217 issues were traded. Of those, 53 closed higher and 120 closed lower when 22.54 lakh shares worth about Taka 11.30 crore changed hands.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Speakers for ensuring good governance

Speakers at a dialogue today laid emphasis on ensuring good governance to achieve the country’s development goals.

They made the observation at the ‘CPD Budget Dialogue 2024’ at a hotel in the city.

Barrister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Bangladesh Parliament; M A Mannan, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Planning and Kazi Nabil Ahmed, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology, attended the event as special guests.

Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, Executive Chairman, Power and Participation Research Centre (PPRC) and Rasheda K Choudhury, Executive Director, CAMPE, attended as guests of honour.

Razequzzaman Ratan, President, Socialist Labour Front and Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Editor, Banik Barta, offered comments as distinguished discussants.

Syed Manzur Elahi, Treasurer, CPD Board of Trustees and Former Advisor to the Caretaker Government, chaired the session.

Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director,
CPD, delivered the keynote presentation.

In his speech, Syed Manzur Elahi said there are problems in many places, such as income and expenditure.

Around 90 percent of the problems will be solved if good governance is in place, he added.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

2 more RMG factories get LEED certification, total number reaches 220

Two more readymade garment (RMG) factories of the country have achieved the recognition of the LEED certification as of June 12, 2024 raising the total number of the LEED certified factories to 220.

As of May this year, the number of the LEED certification factories was 218, with 12 factories earning the certification in the past five months.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a globally recognised green building rating system that emphasizes environmental responsibility and energy efficiency.

The recognition of the LEED certification refers to underscoring the country’s commitment to green initiatives within the garment sector, said Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Director Mohiuddin Rubel.

Of the 220 certified factories, 84 have achieved the highest platinum rating, 122 have earned gold, 10 silver and 4 are certified, as reported by the BGMEA.

The newly certified factories are Cotton Club and Cotton Clout-Building 1 of Gazipur’s Kashimpur and Gr
aphics Textiles Limited of Dhaka’s Dhamrai, with achieving 71 and 78 scores respectively in the gold category.

Bangladesh’s achievements over the years have positioned the country as a leader in the global sustainable fashion movement, with 56 out of the 100 LEED-certified green factories worldwide located here, according to BGMEA.

This includes 9 of the top 10 and 18 of the top 20 LEED-certified factories globally, said BGMEA data.

The geographic distribution of these certifications within Bangladesh illustrates the RMG industry’s widespread commitment to sustainability.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

BRAMA calls for withdrawing 60% duty on central air conditioning system

The Bangladesh Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Merchants Association (BRAMA) today demanded for withdrawal of 60 percent duty imposed on the central air conditioning (VRV/VRF) system in the proposed budget for FY25 and thus reinstate the existing 11 percent duty.

In this regard, the association leaders urged for keeping in force the HS Code 8415.10.10 instead of the proposed HS Code 8415.10.20 in order to promote state-of-the art technology enriched power saving inverter type, space saving and environment-friendly central air conditioning system which are being used in various public and private infrastructures of the country.

BRAMA president Mohammad Asaduzzaman made the demands at a press conference held at a city hotel.

Former BRAMA president Mohammad Abul Hossain, BRAMA director Mohammad Abu Sayeed (Babul), Md Nahid Murad of Techno Cool Associates, Edison Electronics Director (Operations) Ali Rayhan and Md Akram Hossain (Boby) spoke, among others, at the press conference.

Asaduzzaman said if the p
roposed duty is imposed on the central air conditioning system in the country, then the overall duty would increase by 49 percent leading the businesses in this sector to suffer from huge losses.

Besides, the fresh investments in this sector would be disinterested while the flourish of this sector would be hindered.

The BRAMA president said they have already sent letters to the Ministry of Finance and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) centering their concerns over the issue.

He alleged that although the NBR had assured them of not imposing any fresh duty on the central air conditioning system, but it was not reflected in the proposed budget as 60 percent duty has been imposed.

The BRAMA leaders said that the existing 2,10,000 BTU-17.5 ton single unit central air conditioning systems are being used in various residential buildings, hospitals, commercial buildings and in various government project sites since those are inverter type and energy efficient.

But, the proposed 3,10,000 BTU 25.5 ton single uni
t central air conditioning system in various infrastructures would consume huge electricity, emit more carbon and those would not be viable in the long-run, they added.

Answering to a question, the BRAMA president said that the sector has annual turnover of Taka 2,000 crore in the country and they import such central air conditioning system from global renowned brands like DAIKIN, Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Toshiba.

He also mentioned that the proposed higher duty structure in the central air conditioning system would impact almost all the sectors including the RMG, agriculture and pharmaceuticals.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

SME Foundation to provide another Tk 450cr in loans to entrepreneurs

The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation will provide another Taka 450 crore loans to the cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises (CMSMEs) under a government stimulus package and its own sources to help navigate the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The foundation will offer low-cost funds at 6% interest – much lower than the current bank rate of over 13% – to small and medium enterprises facing multifaceted challenges in accessing loans to expand their businesses.

Under the plan, small and medium entrepreneurs can receive a minimum loan of Taka 1 lakh and a maximum of Taka 25 lakh. However, for the purchase of capital machinery, entrepreneurs can receive a maximum loan of Taka 50 lakh.

Loans of up to Taka 10 lakh will be disbursed without collateral.

The loans will be distributed through 19 private and state-owned banks and four non-bank financial institutions. The loan repayment period is fixed at 48 months, including a six-month grace period.

To this end, the foundation signed agreeme
nts with 23 banks and financial institutions on Tuesday at a hotel in the capital.

Sonali Bank, Bangladesh Agricultural Bank, Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank, BRAC Bank, Bank Asia, Dhaka Bank, Eastern Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, NRB Commercial Bank, Mercantile Bank, Prime Bank, Premier Bank, City Bank, Southeast Bank, Shahjalal Islami Bank, Bengal Commercial Bank, United Commercial Bank, Trust Bank, IDLC Finance, IPDC Finance, LankaBangla Finance and United Finance were involved in the distribution of loans.

Salahuddin Mahmud, managing director (additional charge) of the SME Foundation, and the CEOs of 19 partner banks and four financial institutions signed the agreements.

Senior Industries Secretary Zakia Sultana, and Financial Institutions Division Secretary Md Abdur Rahman Khan, among others, were present at the event.

Chairman of the SME Foundation Professor Md Masudur Rahman presided over the agreement signing ceremony.

General Manager of the SME Foundation Nazim Hasan Sattar provided
a detailed overview of the loan distribution policy.

As per the plan of SME Foundation, small and medium female entrepreneurs can access 30% of the total loan fund, while their male counterparts will receive 70%. Additionally, 10% of the loans from these two categories (male and female entrepreneurs) have been allocated to SME Foundation cluster entrepreneurs.

Of the loans distributed to women entrepreneurs, 50% will go to industries in the manufacturing and service sectors, while the remaining 50% will be allocated to industries in the value chain and other sectors.

For male entrepreneurs, 50% of the total loan amount will be distributed to the manufacturing sector, 25% to the service sector, and 25% to the value chain and other sectors.

The foundation will not disburse any loans to non-productive sectors such as grocery stores, drug dealers, hardware dealers, or any businesses that cause environmental pollution.

For giving loan, the foundation will prioritise lending to several key SME sub-sectors, clu
ster entrepreneurs, and value chain participants.

This includes entrepreneurs engaged in manufacturing exportable goods, producing import substitutes, and those involved in ICT and technology-based creative industries who have not yet secured loans from banks.

Additionally, loans will be extended to entrepreneurs operating in underdeveloped and tribal regions, as well as to physically challenged individuals and third-gender entrepreneurs.

Previously, the SME Foundation disbursed Taka 300 crore in loans to small and medium entrepreneurs as part of the government’s incentive package to mitigate the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

Nagad offers cashless transactions at Natore’s Singra cattle market

A cattle market for Eid-ul-Azha has been set up in Natore’s Singra upazila with the slogan “Transactions are going cashless, Bangladesh is becoming smart”.

The buying and selling of sacrificial animals at the market is being conducted through Nagad, one of the country’s leading mobile financial service providers.

State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak initiated this cashless cattle market in Singra’s Ferry Ghat area.

Thanks to his efforts, the cattle market has been sitting every year ahead of Eid-ul-Azha since the Covid-19 pandemic, said a press release.

From the lone digital payment booth at this market, buyers and sellers are enjoying the country’s lowest cash-out charge on Nagad.

This initiative is particularly helping buyers and sellers avoid pick pocketing and other crimes that are common in cattle markets.

The introduction of the digital payment booth has made it easy for the people of Singra to conduct transactions via mobile phones. Moreover, trade
rs coming from distant areas can safely return home after selling cattle by making cashless transactions through Nagad.

Regarding this initiative, Nagad Ltd.’s Deputy Managing Director Shihab Uddin Chowdhury said, “Every year during Eid-ul-Azha, we provide safe and affordable transaction services at various cattle markets across the country. We also offer other services.”

For those without a Nagad account coming to the cattle market, the MFS provider is offering the convenience of opening an account within a minute at the digital payment booth.

Local MP and State Minister for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zunaid Ahmed Palak initiated this effort during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent its transmission. It was then that the cashless cattle market began in Singra. Since then, this market sits every year during Eid-ul-Azha at the Ferry Ghat area.

Cashless transactions for cattle trading are already available in major cities, such as Dhaka and Chattogram. This facility has become available in
Singra owing to the efforts of Nagad state minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak. The government is working towards building a cent percent cashless Bangladesh by 2041.

As a key partner in this journey towards a cashless Bangladesh, Nagad is extending the benefits of cashless transactions to upazilas like Singra and even remote areas across the country.

Nagad is successfully and safely disbursing allowances for 27 ministries, such as social safety net allowances, education stipends, disability allowances, old age allowances, and the Prime Minister’s Education Assistance Trust’s stipends.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

BB asks banks to ensure smooth ATM, MFS services during Eid vacation

DHAKA, Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked the commercials banks to ensure smooth and uninterrupted transactions through the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Point of Sale (POS), Internet Banking, Online e-Payment Gateway and Mobile Financial Services (MFS) during the vacation of Eid-ul-Azha.

“Banks need to ensure round-the-clock ATM service. If any technical problem occurs at ATM booths, it should be resolved as soon as possible and adequate cash supply should be ensured,” the central bank said in a circular today.

The regulator also reminded banks to ensure security at ATM booths.

Banks have also been directed to implement measures ensuring round-the-clock point of sale (POS) services, alongside raising awareness among merchants and customers to prevent fraud.

All banks and their affiliated companies offering mobile financial services (MFS) such as Bkash, Rocket, and Nagad have been instructed to guarantee of smooth transactions.

In this regard, customers should receive transaction information via SMS alert
service for any amount transacted.

Bangladesh will celebrate the Eid-ul-Adha, the second biggest religious festival of the Muslims, on 17 June.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha

ADB approves $250m to boost social protection in Bangladesh

DHAKA, The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh today signed a $250 million loan agreement to further strengthen Bangladesh’s social protection system.

Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Edimon Ginting, Country Director, ADB, signed the loan agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively, at a ceremony at ERD in the capital today.

“The Second Strengthening Social Resilience Program aims to accelerate reforms in increasing the coverage and efficiency of the protection, improving the financial inclusion of disadvantaged people, and strengthening the response to diversified protection needs,” said Country Director Edimon Ginting.

“Building on the first Strengthening Social Resilience Program completed in June 2022, the second program helps improve the policy, regulatory, and institutional environment for social protection in Bangladesh,” Ginting added.

This new ADB program supports the government’s Action Plan Phase II of the Natio
nal Social Security Strategy, 2021-2026, to strengthen protective and preventive capacity of the social protection system in Bangladesh, said a press release.

The program will help improve efficiency in the social protection program management, enhance protection for the most vulnerable, and improve the social protection scope by introducing contributory protection schemes. This will help reduce vulnerability, exclusion, and the risk of people falling into further poverty.

The program introduces a verification scheme of beneficiary’s survival for cash-based social protection programs to reduce leakages. It also consolidates two cash-based protection programs for people with disabilities to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

It will integrate climate adaptive measures into social protection to strengthen resilience against climate vulnerability, including identification of people who are most at risk to climate change-induced disasters to help determine the appropriate assistance.

ADB’s support strength
ens the protection for vulnerable women and transgender people by increasing the number of beneficiaries under the widow allowance program and expanding the coverage of the livelihood support program for transgender people.

In addition, Bangladesh Bank is doubling its funding for the Small Enterprise Refinancing Scheme for Women Entrepreneurs to expand access of women small business operators to financial services.

Another aim of the program is to strengthen the governance mechanism of the employment injury scheme pilot, focusing on the ready-made garments sector.

It also supports establishing a tripartite committee-comprising workers’ association, employers’ association, and the government-on social protection for workers under the Ministry of Labour and Employment as a key institutional arrangement in further developing the country’s social insurance schemes.

ADB will provide a $1 million grant from its Technical Assistance Special Fund (TASF 7) and another $1 million grant from the ADB-administered Com
munity Resilience Partnership Program Trust Fund under the Community Resilience Financing Partnership Facility to support program implementation, technical and policy analyses, and capacity building of relevant government agencies.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive,

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha