Monthly Archives: December 2011

Chinese cos to invest $ 5.048m in Uttara EPZ

Chinese cos to invest $ 5.048m in Uttara EPZ

Sayed Nurul Islam, member (investment promotion) of BEPZA and Chan Chi Wai, director of Trillion Gold Limited and Million Gold Limited exchanging documents after signing an agreement on behalf of their respective sides in the city recently.

News Report

Trillion Gold Limited and Million Gold Limited, two Chinese companies, will jointly set up a eyelashes, beard and wig manufacturing industry in the Uttara Export Processing Zone (EPZ).

This fully foreign owned company will invest about 5.048 million US Dollar in total in setting up their unit and will manufacture all kinds of eyelashes, beard and wig item.

The companies will also create employment opportunity for 226 Bangladeshi nationals.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) and Trillion Gold Limited and Million Gold Limited in BEPZA Complex in the city recently.

Sayed Nurul Islam, member (investment promotion) of BEPZA and Chan Chi Wai, director of Trillion Gold Limited and Million Gold Limited signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

Major General ATM Shahidul Islam, ndu, psc, executive chairman, A.Z.M. Azizur Rahman, general manager (investment promotion), Mahmud Hasan, general manager (public relations) and other officials of BEPZA were present at the signing ceremony.


Five-year plan targets monitoring, evaluation

Five-year plan targets monitoring, evaluation
Star Business Report

The government yesterday formally unveiled the sixth five-year plan with focus on result-based monitoring and evaluation of performances against the targets.

The government aims to attain more than 7 percent growth of the economy a year and limit inflation within 7 percent during the execution period until fiscal 2015.

With the goal of ensuring inclusive economic growth, the document has set a target of bringing down poverty to 22 percent by fiscal 2015 from 31.5 percent at present and create ten million new jobs.

To monitor the results and performances of ministries and various priority sectors against targets set in the plan, yardsticks of evaluation have been included in the plan. The government approved the plan in June this year.

“The plan offers scope to evaluate its targets and achievements in the backdrop of changing reality,” said economist Wahiduddin Mahmud, chair of a 16-member panel of economists who suggested priorities in the framing of the plan.

Mahmud shared it at the ceremony organised to unveil the documents of the plan at the Planning Commission in Dhaka.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Planning Minister AK Khandker also spoke on the occasion.

In line with the plan, performances of various sectors and ministries will be measured on the basis of 25-30 yardsticks. General Economic Division of the Planning Commission will publish the monitoring reports based on these indices.

“It is not going to be left in the shelf,” said Prof Shamsul Alam, a member of the Planning Commission, citing the scope of result-based monitoring.

The document, which comes after a decade following donor-prescribed Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper to realise development goals, targets an investment of Tk 13.5 trillion in five years.

Of the total investment, 77.2 percent is expected from the private sector, while the rest from the public sector.

Setting strategies for 10 priority sectors, the plan stressed the need for achieving self-sufficiency in food, accelerating industrialisation for increased exports, address power and energy crunch and upgrade infrastructure.

It also emphasises developing human resources through education, focusing on planned urbanisation and improving people’s health and nutrition condition.

“One of the main goals of the plan is to eliminate regional disparity in income and distribute the benefit of growth to all,” said Planning Minister AK Khandker.

The plan, drafted on the basis of consultation with various stakeholders, focuses on expansion of the manufacturing sector to create new jobs.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the plan is different from the past plans that focused more on investment. “It is an indicative document,” he said.

The plan is also reviewable in line with the changes in the context of domestic and global economy, he said.

Govt plans big on Ctg port: PM

Govt plans big on Ctg port: PM
Hasina opens computerised container terminal management

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks at the launch of a computerised container terminal management system and a radiation detection system at Chittagong Port yesterday.Photo: STAR

Unb, Chittagong

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said yesterday the government is working to make Chittagong Port a gateway of South Asia’s commercial hub.

“Steps are being taken to remove all the hassles facing by port users and ensure import-export activities with transparency,” Hasina said while inaugurating the computerised container terminal management system (CTMS) and radiation detection system at the port building in Chittagong.

Currently, more than 90 percent of the country’s export and import is done through the Chittagong Port.

The prime minister said bulk cargo handling has increased by 12 percent and the number of ship arrivals at the port went up by 8 percent during the last fiscal year.

She said the government has undertaken the task of constructing a deep-sea port at Sonadia in Cox’s Bazar to expand commercial activities in South Asia.

On completion of the deep-sea port, the lifestyle of the people of this region, including India, China and Myanmar, will improve, she added.

Hasina said dredging in the channel of the Pashur river will start soon to develop Mongla Port.

She said with the inauguration of the computerised CTMS and the radiation detector, the premier port has been digitalised replacing the manual management operation.

The prime minister said the Chittagong Port has been turned into a safe port in the world with the installation of the radiation detector with financial and technical cooperation from the US.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said illegal transportation of goods will be prevented through radiation pronunciation.

The Chittagong Port through its Mega Port Initiative has joined the international terrorism prevention activities.

Hasina said the Awami League-led government wants to root out terrorism and terrorists at any cost.

She said the improvement of service at the Chittagong Port to international standard will attract increased overseas investment and help expand trade and business.

“We want to become a maritime force in combination with Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Coastguard, and Bangladesh Shipping Corporation.”

The Prime Minister said the work on installing Global Maritime Distress and Safety System already began to ensure the protection of mariners and ships.

Besides, International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code has already been implemented.

According to the IMO Convention, she said, shipping and maritime culture has been built up in Bangladesh, which has emerged as a shipbuilding nation.

Bangladesh has been building and exporting oceangoing vessels to different countries, including Germany, Finland and Denmark, she added.

“The government has been able to build a peaceful and disciplined image of Bangladesh,” Hasina said, adding that those who were in power in the past had turned Bangladesh into a militant and extremist nation.

Mentioning the government’s firm commitment to turn Chittagong into the commercial capital of the country, Hasina said a tunnel would be built beneath the Karnaphuli river.

Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and Chairman of Chittagong Port Authority Commodore Anwarul Islam also spoke on the occasion.

Port officials said container handling capacity of the port will double with the new system introduced that is sure to help ease the complete container handling process and make the stakeholders anxiety-free while tracing out their containers at the yard.

With the implementation of the CTMS, the operational activities of the import and export containers and payment of charges and dues will come under online networking system.

Under the new system, loading and unloading activities of the container ships at the port, shifting of containers in the yard, stacking, tracking, delivery and gate control will be conducted through online billing.

Partial operation of the CTMS system began at the port’s Chittagong Container Terminal and New Mooring Container Terminal on October 10 and at the general cargo berths on October 12 last.

The equipment that will be added to the handling capacity of the port include six straddle carriers, three container movers, 10 low-mast fork lifts and four rubber-tyred gantry cranes worth Tk 117 crore.

The import consignments from Finland, Germany, South Korea, Japan and the USA include equipment for bulk cargo handling as well.

Country moving towards digitalisation despite poverty, population boom

Country moving towards digitalisation despite poverty, population boom
Nizam Ahmed

Despite persistent poverty, population explosion, lack of much needed economic reforms and frequent natural disasters, the country is moving ahead to become a digital Bangladesh, officials said on Wednesday.

“To achieve economic improvement by removing all these constraints the government has taken the plan to digitalise the country by 2021,” a senior official of the ministry of information and communication technology (MICT) told the FE.

Introduction of national web portal of Bangladesh, online admission and exam systems in major educational institutions, online banking transaction and online edition of newspapers, etc have become the hallmarks of digitalisation of the country, an IT expert said.

“However the government officials assigned to handle the information technology should be more prompt in responding to people’s query, otherwise the objectives may not be achieved in time,” IT expert Eng. Akhtar Hussain, technical manager of a multimedia wire service told the FE.

With fast penetration into the population by computers, internet and mobile telephones, the relevant operators and service providers are playing a leading role in digitalising Bangladesh, a report of the Telecom Market Overview and Forecasts (TMOF) said.

The regulatory reforms introduced by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) under the ministry of post and telecommunications and the Bangladesh Computer Council under the ministry of science, information and communication technology have played effective role in the telecom and the internet infrastructures, said the report of the TMOF, a global entity.

In a latest development the container handling at the country’s main Chittagong port was fully automated as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the automated operations on Tuesday, officials said.

“Bangladesh’s mobile market crossed 80 million subscribers by the middle of 2011 as penetration neared 50 per cent,” said the TMOF report released recently.

This had been preceded by a significant five-year period in which the country saw mobile subscriber numbers grew almost 20 times, the report said.

Use of international bandwidth rose some 200 per cent over the last three years and e-services capacity was expected to be upgraded by 500 over the next two years for completely turning the country into a digital Bangladesh by 2021, the report said.

Meanwhile, the country has started manufacturing and distributing low-cost laptops to popularise the use of internet for digitalising the country as per the schedule.

Of the six mobile operators, GrameenPhone is the leader, claiming close to 35 million subscribers, or 44 per cent of the total mobile subscriber base, as of mid-2011, despite the best commercial efforts of its competitors.

Airtel Bangladesh became the fastest growing mobile operator in the country, its subscriber base lifting 51 per cent in the 12 months to August 2011; in the previous year Orascom had been the fastest mover, the TMOF report said.

However the Internet penetration still remains low with some 0.4 per cent user penetration following the granting of a number of WiMAX licences, the report said.

There are early signs that the market was about to change as the new WiMAX services were rolled out and started to attract customers.

It includes the development of the ICT sector of the country and its implementation in sectors such as education, health and job placements.

Following all these actions taken by the government, Bangladesh has attracted a lot of international mobile players, said the TMOF.

Drilling at Sunetra structure in February

Drilling at Sunetra structure in February
1st well likely to supply 20mmcf of gas
Shamim Jahangir

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company (Bapex) Limited is going to mobilise an exploration rig at country’s potential Sunetra gas structure next month to begin drilling an exploratory well in February, 2012.

“We are preparing to move an exploration rig from Fenchuganj gas field in Sylhet to Sunetra structure late next month,” Bapex Managing Director Mortuza Ahmad Faruque told daily sun on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Bapex drilled a new well at Fenchuganj to produce 20mmcfd (million cubic feet gas per day) gas there.

Faruque said the Bapex drilling team is now preparing to drill the exploratory well at the potential gas structure.

The estimated cost to drill the exploratory well is Tk 800 million, which Bapex would receive from gas development fund, the Bapex chief said.

The Gas Development Fund has a fund of around Tk 8 billion, Petrobangla sources said.

In the middle of this year, Bapex had placed a Tk 2.79 billion development project proposal (DPP) before the government on drilling a total of four exploratory wells at Sunetra gas structure located in Sunamganj and Netrokona districts.

An estimated 2.5 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas was found at the structure.

The government has already decided to mobilise fund from the Gas Development Fund for the Sunetra project.

According to a previous DPP, the implementation period of the project was divides in two phases — exploration in the first phase from December this year to June next year and development of the structure in the second phases from July 2012 to June 2014.

The Energy and Mineral Resources Division, however, has sent back the DPP and asked the Bapex to submit a revised proposal immediately.

Bapex discovered the Sunetra structure last year through conducting a seismic survey on 260 square-kilometre area in the districts and estimated a gas reserve of over 2.5 TCF, enough to meet the existing gas demand for about three years or to meet the present supply shortage of 500 mmcfd for about 15 years.

To facilitate development works of the structure, a 3.5-kilometer driveway has already been reconstructed on an emergency basis.

The Bapex earlier had a plan to drill the exploratory well at Sunetra structure in the current month. But it was delayed as the construction firm allegedly failed to complete the driveway in time, a Petrobangla official said.

Bapex, the state owned exploration and production company, has already prepared a 20-year roadmap to explore oil and gas in 74 exploratory and development wells in 23 onshore block structures in the country, an official said.

According to the roadmap, Bapex would drill 13 exploratory wells between 2011 and 2015. By this time, it will drill four exploratory wells at Sunetra.

$877m remittance sent in 3 weeks$877m-remittance-sent-in-3-weeks_435_1_3_1_3.html

$877m remittance sent in 3 weeks
Staff Correspondent

The country fetched total US$ 877.21 million remittance in the last three weeks of the current month.

Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL), a private commercial bank, channelled US$ 210.05 million, the highest amount in the said period while the inflow of foreign exchange through four state-owned commercial banks, Sonali, Agrani, Janata and Rupali Bank totalled US$ 230.91 million.

The Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) sent US$ 78.84 million through Sonali Bank, while it was US$ 85.03 million through Agrani Bank, US$ 60.83 million through Janata Bank and US$ 6.21 million through Rupali Bank.

Among the specialised banks, Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB) has channelled US$ 8.98 million.

The remittance sent through nine foreign banks totalled US$ 9.75 million in the period while that through 30 private commercial banks was US$ 627.57 million.

Tax payment goes online in March

Tax payment goes online in March

Star Business Report

The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will introduce an e-payment system in March with an objective of reducing taxpayers’ hassles in paying taxes.

After the introduction of the e-payment method, people will be able to pay taxes through ATM booth, or online by debit or credit card from anywhere.

Taxpayers will need to use tax identification numbers (TINs) to log on to the website of the NBR and will get acknowledgement receipts as a proof to their payments.

“It will be a revolutionary step,” said NBR Chairman Nasiruddin Ahmed at a press meet at his office, organsied to share various achievements and future initiatives taken to boost revenue collection.

Revenue collection by the tax administrator rose 17 percent to Tk 31,605 crore in the July-November period of the current fiscal year from Tk 27,035 crore during the same period a year ago.

The latest collection is higher than the target of the tax administrator.

To boost collection further, the tax collector has already established 13 new income tax zones and four VAT (value added tax) commissionerates.

The NBR chief said the collection in the first five months is 35 percent of the total revenue collection target for fiscal 2011-12.

“We hope to collect the remaining 65 percent in the next seven months,” he said.

Ahmed said Sonali Bank is carrying out a trial run for the introduction of the e-payment system.

“We will get enough revenue once the method is introduced,” he said.

He said the NBR will launch alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in February to speed up the settlement of 25,000 pending cases involving Tk 20,000 crore.

Ahmed said the NBR will launch ASYCUDA World, a customs data software, in February for full automation of customs.

As per the initiative, the tax administrator has already inked an agreement with United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“The use of the technology (ASYCUDA World) will help prevent leakage in duty collection through various means such as under invoicing,” said Ahmed.

“From January we are starting an intensive monitoring to ensure tax compliance. We will begin a massive drive in the field level in this regard,” the NBR chief said.

The tax administrator has also taken steps to keep Chittagong Customs House open round the clock in a bid to facilitate overseas trade.

Beginning from February next year, the Chittagong customs office will initially remain open till 10pm instead of 5pm now. Banks will also remain open, he said.

Ahmed said the tax administrator has also taken steps to set up an Integrity Unit at the NBR to ensure accountability and transparency of tax officials.

“The Integrity Unit will work as an independent unit. We are now working on the framework,” he said.

For automation, the World Bank has given assurance to finance under its Program for Results arm.

Ahmed said the WB will provide $200-300 million for the automation of the NBR.