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Economy may grow by 6.2 pc
WB cautions against risks

Business Report

A strong domestic demand is at work this year in a relative political peace and the  economy is poised to grow by 6.2 percent under the current fiscal 2014-15 mainly pushed by revival in private investment activities and remittance flow.
World Bank (WB) chief economist at its Dhaka Office Zahid Hussain made the projection last week while speaking at a function to releasing the Bangladesh Development Update at the Bank’s local office in the city. The growth will come with the upward investment trend without any huge jump to investment, he said.
Earlier WB's country director for Bangladesh, Johannes Zutt unveiled the report to the newsmen attending the event. Hussain said the economy's natural capacity is sufficient to achieve the more than 6 percent growth.
But the report did not fail to sound caution against political risks. It said a resurgence of political unrest, even if it is not as ferocious and as long as experienced in the last half of 2013, may jeopardise the near term growth.
“This will depress private investment, push up inflation and potentially put reserves under pressure,” the report said laying emphasis on maintaining political confidence to steer the economy to upward growth.   .
The Economic update said the 6.2 percent growth will fall short of targeted 7.2 percent growth and to achieve it the country should have to raise the stagnant investment-GDP ratio to 35 percent from the present 28.7 percent. It requires an investment boom, he said.
Hussain said the country should complete Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways, double-tracking of Dhaka-Chittagong Railway, end Padma bridge construction, Dhaka metro rail project and the two Bibiyana gas field-based large power plants. These investments will push the investment-GDP ratio by more than six percentage points to achieve the higher growth target.
Even 8 percent GDP growth is possible if these projects can be completed, he said.
He said agriculture is expected to grow by 2 percent this year down from last fiscal’s 3.3 percent. Industry will grow by 9.5 percent against 8.4 percent during last fiscal and the services sector may grow by 6.1 percent from 5.8 percent, according to the forecast presented by the World Bank.
The World Bank estimate suggests that poverty incidence, based on national poverty
line of $1.13 per capita per day, is projected to decline from 31.5 percent in 2010 to 24.47 percent by 2014.
This “remarkable progress” in poverty reduction is attributable to a decline in
population growth and changing age structure, increases in labour income, internal and external migration, improved connectivity and the government's targeted safety net programme.
“The expected decline in the poverty rate is not a result of any survey -- rather, it is
based on assumption. But, it is realistic,” he said. On the WB's assumption, he said the dynamism of the economy has remained the same or even improved compared to the performance between 2000 and 2010 when poverty was cut by 1.74 percentage points annually.
The WB also said the income of the bottom 40 percent is likely to have continued to increase because of increased employment and wages. It said lack of visible progress in upgrading labour and safety standards in garment factories could trigger loss of preferential access to the European Union markets.
The inability to reopen job opportunities in the Middle-East clouds the sustainability of remittance growth. “These are high impact risks, particularly when combined with the possibility of a protracted slowdown in advanced economies.”
The WB said even if all the conditions are growth friendly, growth may still elude unless there is enough confidence about political stability and policy continuity.
The global lender said the deterioration in state banks' financial solvency could challenge fiscal sustainability and constrain the availability of resources for public investment.
An oil price shock from heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, or a protracted slow growth in trading partner economies, may also adversely affect inflation and the balance of payments of Bangladesh, the report said.

Comment

Business Report

A strong domestic demand is at work this year in a relative political peace and the  economy is poised to grow by 6.2 percent under the current fiscal 2014-15 mainly pushed by revival in private investment activities and remittance flow.
World Bank (WB) chief economist at its Dhaka Office Zahid Hussain made the projection last week while speaking at a function to releasing the Bangladesh Development Update at the Bank’s local office in the city. The growth will come with the upward investment trend without any huge jump to investment, he said.
Earlier WB's country director for Bangladesh, Johannes Zutt unveiled the report to the newsmen attending the event. Hussain said the economy's natural capacity is sufficient to achieve the more than 6 percent growth.
But the report did not fail to sound caution against political risks. It said a resurgence of political unrest, even if it is not as ferocious and as long as experienced in the last half of 2013, may jeopardise the near term growth.
“This will depress private investment, push up inflation and potentially put reserves under pressure,” the report said laying emphasis on maintaining political confidence to steer the economy to upward growth.   .
The Economic update said the 6.2 percent growth will fall short of targeted 7.2 percent growth and to achieve it the country should have to raise the stagnant investment-GDP ratio to 35 percent from the present 28.7 percent. It requires an investment boom, he said.
Hussain said the country should complete Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways, double-tracking of Dhaka-Chittagong Railway, end Padma bridge construction, Dhaka metro rail project and the two Bibiyana gas field-based large power plants. These investments will push the investment-GDP ratio by more than six percentage points to achieve the higher growth target.
Even 8 percent GDP growth is possible if these projects can be completed, he said.
He said agriculture is expected to grow by 2 percent this year down from last fiscal’s 3.3 percent. Industry will grow by 9.5 percent against 8.4 percent during last fiscal and the services sector may grow by 6.1 percent from 5.8 percent, according to the forecast presented by the World Bank.
The World Bank estimate suggests that poverty incidence, based on national poverty
line of $1.13 per capita per day, is projected to decline from 31.5 percent in 2010 to 24.47 percent by 2014.
This “remarkable progress” in poverty reduction is attributable to a decline in
population growth and changing age structure, increases in labour income, internal and external migration, improved connectivity and the government's targeted safety net programme.
“The expected decline in the poverty rate is not a result of any survey -- rather, it is
based on assumption. But, it is realistic,” he said. On the WB's assumption, he said the dynamism of the economy has remained the same or even improved compared to the performance between 2000 and 2010 when poverty was cut by 1.74 percentage points annually.
The WB also said the income of the bottom 40 percent is likely to have continued to increase because of increased employment and wages. It said lack of visible progress in upgrading labour and safety standards in garment factories could trigger loss of preferential access to the European Union markets.
The inability to reopen job opportunities in the Middle-East clouds the sustainability of remittance growth. “These are high impact risks, particularly when combined with the possibility of a protracted slowdown in advanced economies.”
The WB said even if all the conditions are growth friendly, growth may still elude unless there is enough confidence about political stability and policy continuity.
The global lender said the deterioration in state banks' financial solvency could challenge fiscal sustainability and constrain the availability of resources for public investment.
An oil price shock from heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, or a protracted slow growth in trading partner economies, may also adversely affect inflation and the balance of payments of Bangladesh, the report said.


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Yunus launches Mary Robinson Centre in Ireland

Business Report

Prof Mohammad Yunus and Mary Anderson in a file photo at the opening the Mary Anderson Centre.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus opened the Mary Robinson Centre at Ballina town, in Mayo County, west of Dublin in Ireland on October 17. He was invited by former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to open the Center.
Prof Yunus made his inaugural human rights lecture at the center on the day which coincides the ‘International Day for Eradication of Poverty’ which is an annual event observed every year on October 17.
Many Anderson Center will work on promoting human fights and climate justice. It has been housed at her ancestral home where he was born and grew up as a child. This home was donated by the family to the City Council and now converted into Mary Robinson Centre, said a press release of the Yunus Center in Dhaka.
On October 18, Dublin City University, a top university of Ireland conferred Professor Yunus the Doctorate in Philosophy Honoris Causa. This is a dynamic Irish University focused on healthcare science and technology.
Chancellor of the University Dr Martin McAleese and President of the University Prof Brian McGraith conferred the degree in Prof Yunus in a special convocation organized for this purpose. It was attended by 400 faculty members, students and guests including many from the Bangladeshi community in Ireland.
Professor Yunus visited Ireland from October 17 to 20 on invitation from the One Young World Summit where he was a key note speaker. He was made a counselor of the young people aged 18-30, who attend the Summit every year from all over the world since the launching of the One Young World summit five years back.
Other Counselors of the Summit include Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson and Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales. Yunus also led an open air ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on the occasion in which 1,300 participants took part.
Professor Yunus has been invited by the City of Berlin to be the Chief Guest at the official 25th Anniversary of Fall of the Berlin Wall that will take place in Berlin on November 9.
Ten young people from various universities of Bangladesh took part in this year’s One Young World summit.

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Business Report

Prof Mohammad Yunus and Mary Anderson in a file photo at the opening the Mary Anderson Centre.

Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus opened the Mary Robinson Centre at Ballina town, in Mayo County, west of Dublin in Ireland on October 17. He was invited by former president of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to open the Center.
Prof Yunus made his inaugural human rights lecture at the center on the day which coincides the ‘International Day for Eradication of Poverty’ which is an annual event observed every year on October 17.
Many Anderson Center will work on promoting human fights and climate justice. It has been housed at her ancestral home where he was born and grew up as a child. This home was donated by the family to the City Council and now converted into Mary Robinson Centre, said a press release of the Yunus Center in Dhaka.
On October 18, Dublin City University, a top university of Ireland conferred Professor Yunus the Doctorate in Philosophy Honoris Causa. This is a dynamic Irish University focused on healthcare science and technology.
Chancellor of the University Dr Martin McAleese and President of the University Prof Brian McGraith conferred the degree in Prof Yunus in a special convocation organized for this purpose. It was attended by 400 faculty members, students and guests including many from the Bangladeshi community in Ireland.
Professor Yunus visited Ireland from October 17 to 20 on invitation from the One Young World Summit where he was a key note speaker. He was made a counselor of the young people aged 18-30, who attend the Summit every year from all over the world since the launching of the One Young World summit five years back.
Other Counselors of the Summit include Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson and Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales. Yunus also led an open air ceremony to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall on the occasion in which 1,300 participants took part.
Professor Yunus has been invited by the City of Berlin to be the Chief Guest at the official 25th Anniversary of Fall of the Berlin Wall that will take place in Berlin on November 9.
Ten young people from various universities of Bangladesh took part in this year’s One Young World summit.


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MTB opens Muradpur branch in the port city

Business Report

Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation Mohammed Monjur Alam inaugurating MTB’s new branch flanked by other guests on the occasion.

Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) opened its 99th branch recently at Muradpur K. Plaza, in Chittagong at a simple ceremony at the branch premises. Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation Mohammed Monjur Alam was the chief guest on the occasion.
Habib Mohiuddin, Managing Director of Asia Group and Al-Hajj Md. Mohsin, Managing Director and Chairman of Saad Musa Group were present as Special Guests at the function.
MTB Deputy Managing Directors, Md. Hashem Chowdhury and Md. Zakir Hussain, Head of MTB Chittagong Division branches, Md. Khurshed Ul Alam and MTB Group Chief Communications Officer, Sami Al Hafiz, among other elite, leaders of local business organization and managers of nearby MTB branches and other MTB senior officials were present.   
MTB is set to open its 100th branch on October 23 at its newly inaugurated MTB Tower in Dhaka city’s Bangla Motor area., said a press release.

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Business Report

Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation Mohammed Monjur Alam inaugurating MTB’s new branch flanked by other guests on the occasion.

Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) opened its 99th branch recently at Muradpur K. Plaza, in Chittagong at a simple ceremony at the branch premises. Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation Mohammed Monjur Alam was the chief guest on the occasion.
Habib Mohiuddin, Managing Director of Asia Group and Al-Hajj Md. Mohsin, Managing Director and Chairman of Saad Musa Group were present as Special Guests at the function.
MTB Deputy Managing Directors, Md. Hashem Chowdhury and Md. Zakir Hussain, Head of MTB Chittagong Division branches, Md. Khurshed Ul Alam and MTB Group Chief Communications Officer, Sami Al Hafiz, among other elite, leaders of local business organization and managers of nearby MTB branches and other MTB senior officials were present.   
MTB is set to open its 100th branch on October 23 at its newly inaugurated MTB Tower in Dhaka city’s Bangla Motor area., said a press release.


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IDLC chief made VP of merchant bankers assoc

Business Report

Managing Director of IDLC Investments Md Moniruzzaman has been selected as the second vice-president of Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association.
The decision came at the executive committee meeting of the association at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka early last week, IDLC said in a press release. Tanjil Chowdhury, president of the association was present at the meeting. Moniruzzaman has been working in banking and especially in investment banking industry for over 15 years. Prior to joining IDLC, he worked for Citi as financial controller and as chief finance officer for their merchant banking wing.

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Business Report

Managing Director of IDLC Investments Md Moniruzzaman has been selected as the second vice-president of Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association.
The decision came at the executive committee meeting of the association at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka early last week, IDLC said in a press release. Tanjil Chowdhury, president of the association was present at the meeting. Moniruzzaman has been working in banking and especially in investment banking industry for over 15 years. Prior to joining IDLC, he worked for Citi as financial controller and as chief finance officer for their merchant banking wing.


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Etihad offers discounts to EBL cardholders

Business Report

Debt and credit cardholders of Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL) will enjoy special discount on Etihad Airways air tickets to any destination of the airlines’ global network. Etihad will offer 12 percent discount on first class and business class tickets and 10 percent on economy class.
Head of Consumer Banking of EBL Nazeem A. Chowdhury, and Country Manager- Bangladesh, Etihad Airways Hanif  Zakaria, signed an agreement to this effect at EBL Head Office in Dhaka on October 16. Senior officials from both the organizations were present.
EBL cardholders can avail of the opportunity at any IATA travel agency in Bangladesh. Immediate relatives and friends of the cardholders are also eligible for the discount, but they have to travel with the cardholder. Outbound travel arrangement has to be made by 15 December of the current year.
Etihad presently operates 14 weekly flights to and from Dhaka and offers first, business class and economy class services to travelers.

Comment

Business Report

Debt and credit cardholders of Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL) will enjoy special discount on Etihad Airways air tickets to any destination of the airlines’ global network. Etihad will offer 12 percent discount on first class and business class tickets and 10 percent on economy class.
Head of Consumer Banking of EBL Nazeem A. Chowdhury, and Country Manager- Bangladesh, Etihad Airways Hanif  Zakaria, signed an agreement to this effect at EBL Head Office in Dhaka on October 16. Senior officials from both the organizations were present.
EBL cardholders can avail of the opportunity at any IATA travel agency in Bangladesh. Immediate relatives and friends of the cardholders are also eligible for the discount, but they have to travel with the cardholder. Outbound travel arrangement has to be made by 15 December of the current year.
Etihad presently operates 14 weekly flights to and from Dhaka and offers first, business class and economy class services to travelers.


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Bangladesh may produce machine parts for Japanese firms

Business Report

Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh Shiro Sadoshima said Bangladesh can manufacture some parts of industrial machines and supply them to Japanese factories in South-East Asia and India.
He said Bangladesh has great potential now to produce machine parts and work on sub-contracting to supply those spare parts to Japanese factories operating in regional countries.
The ambassador made the comments while speaking at a programme on “Japan-Bangladesh relations: comprehensive partnership” organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), at its conference room in the city last week.
Giving an example of Op-Seed Bangladesh, a firm in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, he said it is manufacturing pushbuttons of vending machines and exporting to Japan. Bangladesh is turning into a very important strategic corner, he said.
“The country should take steps now to diversify its export items. Japan could help Bangladesh in this regard,” he said
Diversification of industrial base is key to industrial development, he said.
Major exporting goods of Bangladesh, like garment go to North America and EU, he said, adding that very little of these exported goods go to the East Asian market.
There are other countries like China, South Korea and Japan that can be destinations of Bangladeshi products, he said.
Japan has started discussions with the government of Bangladesh to open an industrial park to invite potential Japanese investors, he said.
He said Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority has agreed to provide two buildings for the industrial park.
He also suggested Bangladesh to take good care of the pharmaceutical industry to boost export.
Japan is eager to help Bangladesh in the fields of energy efficiency, vocational training and maritime science.
Bangladesh's export to Japan has increased 2.5 times in the last five years, said AKM Abdur Rahman, director general of BIISS.
Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of the board of governors of BIISS, also spoke.

Comment

Business Report

Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh Shiro Sadoshima said Bangladesh can manufacture some parts of industrial machines and supply them to Japanese factories in South-East Asia and India.
He said Bangladesh has great potential now to produce machine parts and work on sub-contracting to supply those spare parts to Japanese factories operating in regional countries.
The ambassador made the comments while speaking at a programme on “Japan-Bangladesh relations: comprehensive partnership” organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), at its conference room in the city last week.
Giving an example of Op-Seed Bangladesh, a firm in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, he said it is manufacturing pushbuttons of vending machines and exporting to Japan. Bangladesh is turning into a very important strategic corner, he said.
“The country should take steps now to diversify its export items. Japan could help Bangladesh in this regard,” he said
Diversification of industrial base is key to industrial development, he said.
Major exporting goods of Bangladesh, like garment go to North America and EU, he said, adding that very little of these exported goods go to the East Asian market.
There are other countries like China, South Korea and Japan that can be destinations of Bangladeshi products, he said.
Japan has started discussions with the government of Bangladesh to open an industrial park to invite potential Japanese investors, he said.
He said Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority has agreed to provide two buildings for the industrial park.
He also suggested Bangladesh to take good care of the pharmaceutical industry to boost export.
Japan is eager to help Bangladesh in the fields of energy efficiency, vocational training and maritime science.
Bangladesh's export to Japan has increased 2.5 times in the last five years, said AKM Abdur Rahman, director general of BIISS.
Munshi Faiz Ahmad, chairman of the board of governors of BIISS, also spoke.


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Showcasing Bangladesh-2014 opens in KL on Nov 14

Business Report

Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) is scheduled  to hold a ‘Showcasing Bangladesh-2014’ event at Putra World Trade Centre in Malaysian capital Kuala Lampur on November 14.
Minister for International Trade and Industry (MITI) of Malaysian government will open the trade fair titled as ‘Branding Bangladesh’ as the chief guest which will run for few days. Bangladesh Minister for Industries Amir Hussain Amu will attend the function as special guest.
The event will showcase Bangladesh’s achievements in various sectors and its products and services to visitors at the trade fair. There will be 60 to 70 stalls representing leading business houses, banks and financial institutions, RMG, knitwear ceramic, leather goods, food industry, tourism and hotel industry.
About 150 businessmen, chamber leaders, industrialists, government officials, bankers and SME entrepreneurs from Bangladesh are going to Kuala Lumpur to make the event a success.
Almost 10,000 Malaysian Business houses have been contacted to attend the trade fair. Chinese Chamber and other trade associations also have been invited. Leaders of various Malaysian chamber bodies, business organizations, diplomats, political leaders and government officials are expected to visit the event.
BMCCI is set to organize a seminar on investment opportunities in Bangladesh on the occasion to highlight investment opportunities in the country’s Special Economic Zone.
The event will also facilitate one-to-one business meetings between entrepreneurs from Bangladesh and Malaysia to expand bilateral trade and open joint venture industries.
Bangladeshi artistes will present cultural evening for Malaysian guests to be followed by dinner made of Bangladeshi dishes. Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmiid Ali is expected to be present in the cultural evening.
Green Delta Insurance, Dhaka Bank, Robi Axiata Limited, Pubali Bank, CBL Money Transfer Sdn. Bhd., AB Bank, NCC Bank and BBS Cables Ltd are sponsoring the event.
The Royale Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, a 5-star hotel is the official hospitality partner of the trade show. Malaysia Airlines is the official Travel Partner. Qube Integrated Malaysia Sdn. Bhd - a highly skilled entertainer has been assigned to act as the event manager for the trade show.

Comment

Business Report

Bangladesh-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BMCCI) is scheduled  to hold a ‘Showcasing Bangladesh-2014’ event at Putra World Trade Centre in Malaysian capital Kuala Lampur on November 14.
Minister for International Trade and Industry (MITI) of Malaysian government will open the trade fair titled as ‘Branding Bangladesh’ as the chief guest which will run for few days. Bangladesh Minister for Industries Amir Hussain Amu will attend the function as special guest.
The event will showcase Bangladesh’s achievements in various sectors and its products and services to visitors at the trade fair. There will be 60 to 70 stalls representing leading business houses, banks and financial institutions, RMG, knitwear ceramic, leather goods, food industry, tourism and hotel industry.
About 150 businessmen, chamber leaders, industrialists, government officials, bankers and SME entrepreneurs from Bangladesh are going to Kuala Lumpur to make the event a success.
Almost 10,000 Malaysian Business houses have been contacted to attend the trade fair. Chinese Chamber and other trade associations also have been invited. Leaders of various Malaysian chamber bodies, business organizations, diplomats, political leaders and government officials are expected to visit the event.
BMCCI is set to organize a seminar on investment opportunities in Bangladesh on the occasion to highlight investment opportunities in the country’s Special Economic Zone.
The event will also facilitate one-to-one business meetings between entrepreneurs from Bangladesh and Malaysia to expand bilateral trade and open joint venture industries.
Bangladeshi artistes will present cultural evening for Malaysian guests to be followed by dinner made of Bangladeshi dishes. Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmiid Ali is expected to be present in the cultural evening.
Green Delta Insurance, Dhaka Bank, Robi Axiata Limited, Pubali Bank, CBL Money Transfer Sdn. Bhd., AB Bank, NCC Bank and BBS Cables Ltd are sponsoring the event.
The Royale Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, a 5-star hotel is the official hospitality partner of the trade show. Malaysia Airlines is the official Travel Partner. Qube Integrated Malaysia Sdn. Bhd - a highly skilled entertainer has been assigned to act as the event manager for the trade show.


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