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BASHUNDHARA FIRE
100 shops ghutted disrupting Eid marketing
Business Report
 
Shop owners and their employees stand in line to enter Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in Dhaka yesterday to check out their outlets, three days after a fire burnt about 100 shops at the mall. Photo: Amran Hossain
 
Star Business Report
About 100 shops gutted by a fire at Bashundhara City Shopping Complex are unlikely to reopen before Eid-ul-Azha as it will take more time to clean up the debris and restore the outlets.
The mega shopping mall known as one of the nest in South Asia caught fire in Saturday morning when shoppers just open their shutters and report said the fire had originated from a show store on level 6. 
At first Bashundhara's own fire fighters tried their best and then called in Fire Service to extinguish the fire. But it left top three floors mainly devastated with some showrooms totally gutted. The mall also caught fire on September last year and twice in 2009 - first in March and then in August. In the first fire seven Bashundhara fire fighters died while trying to douse fire. 
Many wonder why fire hit the sprawling mall time and again as shoppers are losing their entire investment in such devastation where there is none to take responsibility to return businessmen's investment and help them to build business again.    
Two committee  - one set up by Fire Service and the other by Bashundhara management are investigating into the cause of the fire. 
The main concern now is to reopen the mall before the EId-ul-Azha. "We are working with the authorities of Bashundhara mall in trying to reopen the market in a day or two," MA Hannan Azad, president of the association, said yesterday.
But the shops burnt by the fire on Sunday on Block C of the mall's sixth floor will take longer time to resume sales, he added.
What caused the fire is still unknown and losses are estimated to be around Tk 50 crore, according to Azad. Fire service officials and mall authorities are yet to assess the extent of losses caused by the blaze.
Mall authorities yesterday allowed shop owners to enter and check their shops and take necessary steps.
Ajit Kumar Bhowmik, deputy director of fire services (planning), who is also the head of a five-member probe committee formed by the department, said the panel visited the spot and is working to identify the reason behind the fire.
"We are assessing the extent of damage to the traders. We need three to four more days to calculate the loss." 
Firefighters continued their work at the multi-storey mall to assist the shoppers to clean up the burnt-out goods, said Jasim Uddin, the mall's head of marketing. A trader on the sixth floor, said he had imported shoes worth around Tk 2 crore in three shops to sell ahead of Eid. "Everything in my three shops was burnt. The fire ruined everything. I don't know when I will be able to reopen my shops."
Synthetic and polythene objects were burnt inside the shops, which made it difficult for firefighters to determine any hidden blaze. According to fire service officials, as many as 29 fire engines were used in the operation. Eleven people, trapped on the rooftop, were rescued unharmed.
The Bashundhara mall, one of the biggest in Bangladesh, houses about 2,300 shops in addition to food courts, Cineplex and gymnasiums.
This is the fifth fire incident at the market and the adjacent 20-storey building, which has been used as Bashundhara's office since 2009, according to shop owners and employees.

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Business Report
 
Shop owners and their employees stand in line to enter Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in Dhaka yesterday to check out their outlets, three days after a fire burnt about 100 shops at the mall. Photo: Amran Hossain
 
Star Business Report
About 100 shops gutted by a fire at Bashundhara City Shopping Complex are unlikely to reopen before Eid-ul-Azha as it will take more time to clean up the debris and restore the outlets.
The mega shopping mall known as one of the nest in South Asia caught fire in Saturday morning when shoppers just open their shutters and report said the fire had originated from a show store on level 6. 
At first Bashundhara's own fire fighters tried their best and then called in Fire Service to extinguish the fire. But it left top three floors mainly devastated with some showrooms totally gutted. The mall also caught fire on September last year and twice in 2009 - first in March and then in August. In the first fire seven Bashundhara fire fighters died while trying to douse fire. 
Many wonder why fire hit the sprawling mall time and again as shoppers are losing their entire investment in such devastation where there is none to take responsibility to return businessmen's investment and help them to build business again.    
Two committee  - one set up by Fire Service and the other by Bashundhara management are investigating into the cause of the fire. 
The main concern now is to reopen the mall before the EId-ul-Azha. "We are working with the authorities of Bashundhara mall in trying to reopen the market in a day or two," MA Hannan Azad, president of the association, said yesterday.
But the shops burnt by the fire on Sunday on Block C of the mall's sixth floor will take longer time to resume sales, he added.
What caused the fire is still unknown and losses are estimated to be around Tk 50 crore, according to Azad. Fire service officials and mall authorities are yet to assess the extent of losses caused by the blaze.
Mall authorities yesterday allowed shop owners to enter and check their shops and take necessary steps.
Ajit Kumar Bhowmik, deputy director of fire services (planning), who is also the head of a five-member probe committee formed by the department, said the panel visited the spot and is working to identify the reason behind the fire.
"We are assessing the extent of damage to the traders. We need three to four more days to calculate the loss." 
Firefighters continued their work at the multi-storey mall to assist the shoppers to clean up the burnt-out goods, said Jasim Uddin, the mall's head of marketing. A trader on the sixth floor, said he had imported shoes worth around Tk 2 crore in three shops to sell ahead of Eid. "Everything in my three shops was burnt. The fire ruined everything. I don't know when I will be able to reopen my shops."
Synthetic and polythene objects were burnt inside the shops, which made it difficult for firefighters to determine any hidden blaze. According to fire service officials, as many as 29 fire engines were used in the operation. Eleven people, trapped on the rooftop, were rescued unharmed.
The Bashundhara mall, one of the biggest in Bangladesh, houses about 2,300 shops in addition to food courts, Cineplex and gymnasiums.
This is the fifth fire incident at the market and the adjacent 20-storey building, which has been used as Bashundhara's office since 2009, according to shop owners and employees.

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BRAC Bank, SME Foundation to finance Agar farmers 

Business Report
 
BRAC Bank Limited and SME Foundation signed an agreement to provide SME loan to Agar farmers and traders, which is a non-traditional export item for producing scent.
Under the agreement, both organizations will partner financing Agar producers in Sujanagar Union under Borolekha Upazila in Moulvibazar district. 
According to SME Foundation, Agar Atar produce in the area earns Tk 60 crore in foreign currency a year. They employ around 45,000 people in around 350 processing factories. 
The financing by BRAC Bank will play a catalytic role in boosting export earnings of the Agar Atar and facilitate diversification of the country’s export basket. 
Selim R. F. Hussain, Managing Director and CEO, BRAC Bank, and Md. Safiqul Islam, Managing Director, SME Foundation, signed the agreement at SME Foundation Office in Dhaka on August 18, 2016.
Ishtiaq Mohiuddin, Deputy Managing Director, and Syed Abdul Momen, Head of Small Business, BRAC Bank and Khairul Kabir Menon, Deputy Secretary, SME Cell, Ministry of Industries and S. M. Shaheen Anwar, General Manager, SME Foundation were present. 
Ansar Uddin, President, Bangladesh Agar Atar Producers and Exporters Association, and senior officials of the organizations were also present. The entrepreneurs can avail loan from Tk. 50,000 to Tk 10 lac without any collateral. Agar oil, Agar wood and Agar dust have popular market in the Middle East countries.

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Business Report
 
BRAC Bank Limited and SME Foundation signed an agreement to provide SME loan to Agar farmers and traders, which is a non-traditional export item for producing scent.
Under the agreement, both organizations will partner financing Agar producers in Sujanagar Union under Borolekha Upazila in Moulvibazar district. 
According to SME Foundation, Agar Atar produce in the area earns Tk 60 crore in foreign currency a year. They employ around 45,000 people in around 350 processing factories. 
The financing by BRAC Bank will play a catalytic role in boosting export earnings of the Agar Atar and facilitate diversification of the country’s export basket. 
Selim R. F. Hussain, Managing Director and CEO, BRAC Bank, and Md. Safiqul Islam, Managing Director, SME Foundation, signed the agreement at SME Foundation Office in Dhaka on August 18, 2016.
Ishtiaq Mohiuddin, Deputy Managing Director, and Syed Abdul Momen, Head of Small Business, BRAC Bank and Khairul Kabir Menon, Deputy Secretary, SME Cell, Ministry of Industries and S. M. Shaheen Anwar, General Manager, SME Foundation were present. 
Ansar Uddin, President, Bangladesh Agar Atar Producers and Exporters Association, and senior officials of the organizations were also present. The entrepreneurs can avail loan from Tk. 50,000 to Tk 10 lac without any collateral. Agar oil, Agar wood and Agar dust have popular market in the Middle East countries.

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LOAN DEFAULTS IN RISE
State owned banks top the list
Business Report
 
Loan defaults stood at Tk 63,365 crore in the second quarter of 2016 as it soared by 6.65 percent during this time to cause banks to suffer yet bigger burden of unrealized loans facing constraint to finance new business. 
It was Tk 59,411 crore in the first quarter of the year, banking sources said suggesting that there ijs no improvement in the recovery of over due loans, central bank sources said.. 
Defaults at the end of June were 10.06 percent of the total outstanding loans. On 
March 31, it was 9.92 percent, meaning the bad loans increased by 0.14 percentage points over three months.
Bangladesh Bank has taken several steps to improve the banks’ default loan scenario, senior bank officials said. They said in the second quarter, the state banks’ default loan situation deteriorated more.
The defaults of the six state-owned commercial banks swelled by Tk 2,788 crore to Tk 30,077 crore, which is 25.74 percent of their total outstanding loans. Of them, the two specialised banks’ defaults rose by 17 percent in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. In percentage terms, their default loans accounted for 26.14 percent of their total outstanding loans.
Reports said bad loans are rising for two reasons. Khondker Ibrahim Khaled, a former deputy governor of BB said. Such loans were sanctioned either without due diligence or through corrupt practices.
In the second quarter, bad loans in private banks decreased slightly. They dropped by 
Tk 16 crore to Tk 25,315 crore, which is 5.44 percent of their total outstanding loans.
Defaults at foreign banks were Tk 2,156 crore as of June, accounting for 8.33 percent of their total loans. At the end of March, they stood at Tk 1,822 crore, which was 7.5 percent of the total loans.
If the amount of loans that were written off is taken into account, the bad loan scenario becomes worse. Until December 31, 2015, Tk 40,361 crore of loans were written off, some of which were later realised.
Following the write-offs, the total outstanding loans stood at Tk 33,581 crore. If this amount is taken into account, the total bad loans in the banking system at the end of June would be Tk 96,946 crore.
In the monetary policy statement released in June, the central bank said the efforts to curb defaults will be intensified this fiscal year. 

Comment

Business Report
 
Loan defaults stood at Tk 63,365 crore in the second quarter of 2016 as it soared by 6.65 percent during this time to cause banks to suffer yet bigger burden of unrealized loans facing constraint to finance new business. 
It was Tk 59,411 crore in the first quarter of the year, banking sources said suggesting that there ijs no improvement in the recovery of over due loans, central bank sources said.. 
Defaults at the end of June were 10.06 percent of the total outstanding loans. On 
March 31, it was 9.92 percent, meaning the bad loans increased by 0.14 percentage points over three months.
Bangladesh Bank has taken several steps to improve the banks’ default loan scenario, senior bank officials said. They said in the second quarter, the state banks’ default loan situation deteriorated more.
The defaults of the six state-owned commercial banks swelled by Tk 2,788 crore to Tk 30,077 crore, which is 25.74 percent of their total outstanding loans. Of them, the two specialised banks’ defaults rose by 17 percent in the second quarter compared to the first quarter. In percentage terms, their default loans accounted for 26.14 percent of their total outstanding loans.
Reports said bad loans are rising for two reasons. Khondker Ibrahim Khaled, a former deputy governor of BB said. Such loans were sanctioned either without due diligence or through corrupt practices.
In the second quarter, bad loans in private banks decreased slightly. They dropped by 
Tk 16 crore to Tk 25,315 crore, which is 5.44 percent of their total outstanding loans.
Defaults at foreign banks were Tk 2,156 crore as of June, accounting for 8.33 percent of their total loans. At the end of March, they stood at Tk 1,822 crore, which was 7.5 percent of the total loans.
If the amount of loans that were written off is taken into account, the bad loan scenario becomes worse. Until December 31, 2015, Tk 40,361 crore of loans were written off, some of which were later realised.
Following the write-offs, the total outstanding loans stood at Tk 33,581 crore. If this amount is taken into account, the total bad loans in the banking system at the end of June would be Tk 96,946 crore.
In the monetary policy statement released in June, the central bank said the efforts to curb defaults will be intensified this fiscal year. 

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EPZ’s exports grows by 9pc
Business Report
 
Exports by the factories located in the country’s export processing zones rose 9.16 percent year-on-year to $6.67 billion last fiscal year.
The export target was set at $6 billion for 2015-16, although the exports figure reached $6.11 billion in the previous year, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority said in a statement yesterday.
In 2015-16, the enterprises based in Chittagong EPZ accounted for the biggest share of exports — $2.42 billion — followed by Dhaka at $2.18 billion.
There are eight EPZs under Bepza where more than 430 factories are located. These factories account for about 20 percent of the total national exports.
The factories have invested $3.75 billion as of 2015, employing more than 439,512 people, according to the Bepza website.
Some 58 percent of these enterprises are wholly foreign-owned, 14 percent are joint ventures and 28 percent locally-owned.

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Business Report
 
Exports by the factories located in the country’s export processing zones rose 9.16 percent year-on-year to $6.67 billion last fiscal year.
The export target was set at $6 billion for 2015-16, although the exports figure reached $6.11 billion in the previous year, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority said in a statement yesterday.
In 2015-16, the enterprises based in Chittagong EPZ accounted for the biggest share of exports — $2.42 billion — followed by Dhaka at $2.18 billion.
There are eight EPZs under Bepza where more than 430 factories are located. These factories account for about 20 percent of the total national exports.
The factories have invested $3.75 billion as of 2015, employing more than 439,512 people, according to the Bepza website.
Some 58 percent of these enterprises are wholly foreign-owned, 14 percent are joint ventures and 28 percent locally-owned.

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