Business cost will be reduced by 5 percent if the capacity of Chattogram port is enhanced

Staff Correspondent,, Dhaka
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If the capacity of Chattogram port is increased, it will be possible to reduce the cost of doing business in the country by at least 5 percent. At the same time, the interest of foreign entrepreneurs to invest in this country will also increase. Moreover, if production starts in full swing in Bangabandhu Industrial City and other economic zones of the country, the pressure on Chattogram port will increase several times. So now the FBCCI President Jasimuddin has called for increasing the capacity of the port.

He made the call at the first meeting of the FBCCI Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping on Thursday (January 6) at noon.

Speaking as the chief guest, Jasim Uddin said that at present the speed of cargo vehicles on the Dhaka-Chattogram highway is 40 kilometers per hour. If this speed is doubled, the competitiveness of the export sector will increase by 6 percent.

Chemicals imported through Chattogram port have to be tested separately before unloading. However, Chattogram Customs does not have adequate laboratory. It takes traders 10 to 12 days to get the test done. Quick steps should be taken to solve these port problems.

FBCCI President Md. Jasimuddin urged the standing committee to find short, medium and long term solutions by identifying the port-centric problems.

At this time, FBCCI's vice-president Md. Amin Helali said some more ports will be opened in the future. If we can work according to the plan, the progress of the country can be further accelerated by utilizing the potentials of these ports.

FBCCI vice-president Md. Habib Ullah Don alleged that importing vehicles through Chattogram port would cost double the fare as compared to Mongla port. He remarked that different fares in different ports of the same country are unreasonable.

Standing Committee Director-in-Charge A.M. Mahbub Chowdhury said the profit of Chattogram port has increased several times in the last few years. He alleged that despite being a non-profit service organization, it was taking steps to increase the tariff again to increase the amount of profit.

The chairman of the committee Md. Parvez Sajjad Akhtar called for not increasing the tariff in order to create a business-friendly environment. At the same time, he said, most tariffs have to be paid in dollars. So if the tariff increases, the cost of foreign exchange will also increase. Moreover, foreign ship owners can also increase the fare in this opportunity. In that case, there will be fear of an increase in the price of imported goods.

In the open discussion, the members of the standing committee hoped for the cooperation of the port and customs officials to speed up the import-export activities.

City Bank avails USD 45 million Syndicated Loan from Bank Muscat

Staff Correspondent,
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The City Bank has successfully closed a USD 45 million syndicated loan, which was arranged by Bank Muscat, the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate of Oman. The transaction, which was initially launched for USD 25 million with a Greenshoe option, received strong participation from reputed international banks across different geographical locations including Europe, Middle East and Africa. It was subsequently scaled up by 80%, finally closing at USD 45 million. Bank Muscat is a leading Syndicated loan arranger in Emerging Markets. This is the third successful syndicated loan facility arranged by Bank Muscat for City Bank, and the first one, which is SOFR-linked. In addition to being the arranger, Bank Muscat also acted as the book runner for this transaction.

With the world still recovering from the pandemic and economies impacted heavily by the current geo-political tension, this loan facility will provide crucial support to City Bank’s foreign currency liquidity. City Bank, which is one of the top banks in the trade sector of the country, will be able to use the loan to finance its trade transactions. This will in turn assist the country’s trade activities in the current world scenario, and support the growth of the economy.

Sheikh Mohammad Maroof, Additional Managing Director & Chief Business Officer expressed delight on the closure of the syndicated loan and said, “We are extremely happy to see the overwhelming response from global banks to City Bank’s syndication loan. Being oversubscribed by 80% portrays City Bank’s strength and acceptance in global financial markets. In the current global scenario, we have taken multiple initiatives including this loan to ensure strong liquidity for the bank and cater to increasing trade requirements of our clients. I would like to thank Bank Muscat for the longstanding relationship with City Bank and for helping us close this deal.”

It must be noted that City Bank availed the first syndicated loan of EUR 20 million from Bank Muscat in 2019, which was the first such loan by a Bangladeshi bank that was arranged by an Omani bank. In 2020, City Bank followed up its initial loan with a USD 30 million syndicated loan.

With assets worth over US$ 33 billion, Bank Muscat is the leading bank in the Sultanate of Oman with the largest banking network and a 35 per cent market share. The bank has an extensive network of correspondent banking relationships across the world, which is instrumental in channelising trade business and raising funds on favorable financing terms from lenders across the GCC, Europe, USA, Asia and Africa.


Operation of Counterfeit Giordano products on the market!

Staff Correspondent,
Operation of Counterfeit Giordano products on the market!

Operation of Counterfeit Giordano products on the market!

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The Giordano Bangladesh team has launched an operation against the production and marketing of counterfeit Giordano products.

The operation was carried out on Monday (June 20) evening in several shopping malls in the capital.  During this time, a large number of counterfeit Giordano merchandise including counterfeit Lycra (LYCRA) tags, were recovered and destroyed.

It is to be noted that a case including GD is being processed at Dhanmondi Police Station against unscrupulous traders for preventing counterfeiting of world famous lifestyle brand Giordano.

Giordano's Bangladesh Country Manager and CEO Shah Eskander Ali Swapan was present there.

He said Giordano is an international quality brand.  Its sole distributor is Neera International.  But fake Giordano products are being sold in different shopping malls claiming Giordano,which is very sad.  We are against all kinds of counterfeit products.Bangladesh is at a forefront of development.Many international brands and companies and businesses are thriving.If we allow counterfeiters and imposters it will ruin the image of Bangladesh and hamper its progress as a proud nation with many untapped opportunities.So an operation was conducted today by Giordano team and further will be carried out against unauthorized online sellers.  At the time, counterfeit Giordano products were found in several shopping malls.

He said legal action would be taken if such counterfeit products were found in the future.

Meanwhile, all Giordano products are made in its own factory and sold in Giordano's own 6 stores in Bangladesh.  No wholesale or wholesalers are permitted.

Giordano's stores in Bangladesh are- Anam Rangs Plaza, Shat Masjid Road Dhanmondi.  Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, Shop-41, Block A Level- 1 panthapath.  Police Plaza Concord , Hatirjheel, Gulshan.  Road 11, House-54, Banani.  SKS Tower, VIP Road, DOHS, Mohakhali, and Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, Level 8, Block A, Panthapath.  Giordano products can also be ordered online by contacting GIORDANO Bangladesh page on Facebook.

Giordano's use of trademarks, symbols, logos and other words as such amount to is unauthorized and illegal and a civil and criminal offense.  Only Neera International reserves exclusive rights of Giordano in Bangladesh.  Giordano's operations in Bangladesh are conducted under a joint venture between Neera International, Giordano Middle East FZE, Dubai and Giordano International Limited, Kowloon, Hong Kong.  Only Giordano International Limited retains all rights relating to trademarks worldwide.


BB dismisses news of scrapping Tk 1000 red notes as rumour

News Desk,  
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Bangladesh Bank (BB) has brushed aside as simply a rumour the news that the Tk 1,000 bank red note or any other note has been scrapped.

"Bangladesh Bank has not declared red note of Taka 1000 or any other note as obsolete. Accordingly, the public is being requested not to be taken into account of such rumours or misleading information," as per a BB press release issued today.


Where will $ stop?

News desk,
ছবি: সংগৃহীত

ছবি: সংগৃহীত

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The rising rate of the US dollar against the local currency has placed a huge burden on local importers and triggered a spillover effect on the local market over the last several months.

The Bangladeshi Taka devalued further against the greenback on Wednesday in the wake of dollar shortage in the banking sector.

The interbank exchange rate hit Tk 86.20 per dollar for the first time on the day, up from Tk 86 on the previous day, according to the data from the central bank. The exchange rate increased after a couple of months.

Importers also accused some banks of ‘manipulating’ a dollar crisis and imposing a high rate in case of opening letters of credit for import.

They said the Bangladesh Bank should look into the matter as commercial banks should not charge dollar rates exorbitantly against L/C opening.

The interbank exchange rate of the US dollar started rising since July last year due mainly to the sharp rise of import payment when the exchange rate of the American greenback was Tk 84.80.

A high official of a Chattogram-based industrial group told The Business Post that banks are imposing Tk 89 per dollar in case of opening letter of credit despite the interbank exchange rate being Tk 86.20 per dollar.

“As a result, we have been suffering much to pay import bills.”

“What is the Bangladesh Bank doing now to cool the market,” he posed a question, saying the regulator should intervene in the foreign exchange market by releasing the US dollar from the reserves, or else it would be prejudicial to industrialisation.

Mohammad Mustafa Haider, Group Director of TK Group of Industries, recently told The Business Post that the price of consumer goods would increase further in the local market as the import cost had risen drastically due to the hike of US dollar rate.

He said now most banks are imposing a high rate in case of opening a Letter of Credit (LC) by taking the advantage of an ongoing dollar crisis.

The Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry president MdJashimUddin attributed the price hike of industrial raw materials and essential commodities to the rise in import cost as the dollar rate has appreciated against Taka.

“The high import cost is creating pressure on importers; the central bank should pump US dollar into the market from the reserves, which will help cool the situation,” opined the chamber leader.

“We are continually injecting US dollar into the market. But, how much more can it be drawn from the reserves?” Bangladesh Bank Chief Economist HabiburRahman posed the question.

The banking regulator sold more than $ 3.73 billion to the country’s banks as of March 23, this fiscal year, as per the data.

Foreign exchange reserves stood at $ 44 billion on March 15, down from $ 46 billion on February 28 this year due to the US dollar selling spree of the central bank.

The BB chief economist said there was no other way without devaluing the local currency.

“However, we are also concerned about the current state of the foreign exchange market,” he argued.

Asked about the mercenary role of the country’s banks when it comes to letter of credit (L/C) opening, the central bank economist said the BB cannot interrupt on banks on rates against dollar.

“We simply cannot intervene in banks’ L/C rate in an open market,” HabiburRahman said.

Many banks are charging even more than Tk90 against each dollar, more Tk 4 than the BB-set exchange rate.

The mercenary attitudes of banks have left industrialists and importers in a dire situation stoking price hike for both essential food items and industrial raw materials.

An industrialist, however, said the BB’s stance on free-market, or open market is nothing but a vague term, as the central bank’s dictated deposit and lending rates do not go with its stated position.

“Open market formula should not apply only for exchange rate. The BB should fix the dollar rate against Taka to be complied by the country’s all commercial banks,” an aggrieved industrialist told The Business Post.

Why do banks face US dollar shortage?

Economists and bankers said the increasing trend in import payment due to the price hike in the global market, declining trend of remittance and the end of deferral support on payments for imports are the key reasons behind the dollar shortage.

The inflow of remittance to Bangladesh has fallen further this February despite increased incentives from the government, and experts blamed the return of “hundi” system – an illegal method of cross-border transaction – for this decline.

Bangladeshi expatriates sent $ 1.5 billion in February 2022, a 16 per cent drop when compared year on year.

February’s figure is 12.22 per cent lower than that in the previous month when remittance inflow stood at $ 1.7 billion, as per the latest data from the central bank.

Agrani Bank Managing Director and CEO Mohammad Shams-Ul Islam told that import payments have gone up sharply as the country’s business and the economy started to revive from the pandemic fallout.

Asked why banks are charging more than the interbank exchange rate, Agrani Bank Managing Director said that the public sector banks are not imposing higher rate than the declared buying/ selling rates. But, a number of private commercial banks are imposing higher dollar rates on importers than the BB declared rate, he blamed.

The US dollar was traded at more than Tk90 against each US dollar in the kerb market on Wednesday.

The BB purchased $7.93 billion from local banks in the last fiscal year.

During the July-January period of this fiscal, import payments rose by 46.23 per cent to $ 46.67 billion. However, ZahidHussain, former lead economist of the World Bank, Dhaka office, said the import payment is rising sharply due to price hikes in the global market.

“Not only Bangladesh, but all the import-dependent countries are also facing pressure due to such price hike. The Russia-Ukraine war also impacted the price of commodities in the global market,” added the noted economist.

Zahid observed that the high import payment and price hike in the global market hit the general people hard.

Courtesy: The Business Post