Page 19

B2 ‘Govt to take fresh

initiative to enlist SOEs with stock exchanges’

B3 Price hike belies

regulatory efforts

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2013

Business www.dhakatribune.com/business

BB swaps Islami Bank, ICB observers Islami bank now under regulatory scanner after allegations of terrorist financing He served three years as observer in the regulator’s observer in ICB Islamic Bank. n Jebun Nesa Alo ICB Islamic Bank. On the other hand Kazi Sayedur Rahman,

According to sources, Governor Dr Atiur Rahman had to remove Abdul Wadood from ICB Islamic Bank due to pressure from the bank’s directors. On the other hand, Abul Kalam Ajad, general manager of inspection department of the central bank, performed as observer in Islami Bank prior to Kazi Sayedur Rahman. Earlier on November 27, Bangladesh Bank posted an observer in the trouble-hit BASIC Bank Ltd to ensure enforcement of regulations and help revive the bank from continuous financial deterioration. Ashok Kumar Dey, general manager the department of banking inspection, has been posted as BASIC Bank observer and assigned to attend all the board meetings of the bank and observe the audit reports. l

Bangladesh Bank has exchanged observers between ICB Islamic Bank Ltd and Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd. The decision on exchange was taken at a meeting held on Tuesday with Governor Dr Atiur Rahman in the chair. Recently, Bangladesh Bank has increased surveillance on financial activities of Islami Bank after allegations of militancy financing. The central bank however has found no clue yet regarding such financing, said the central bank officials. According to the decision, Shafiqul Islam, general manager of Bangladesh Bank’s foreign exchange operation department, has been shifted to the Islami Bank as observer. Shafiqul Islam was serving as the

general manager of foreign exchange and treasury management department of central bank, has been placed at the ICB Islami Bank as observer. He was working as observer in the Islami Bank. Bangladesh Bank sent a letter to both of banks in this respect, said official sources. According to sources, Shafiqul Islam was reluctant to continue as observer in ICB Islamic Bank. Earlier, KM Abdul Wadood, general manager of banking regulation and policy department of Bangladesh Bank, was deployed as observer in the ICB Islamic Bank. But he was withdrawn from that bank a month earlier and transferred to Housing Fund and Fund Management Unit.

No fund for state banks this month

FIXING BANDWIDTH PRICE

n Asif Showkat Kallol

The government has decided not to disburse in December the fund from the national budget to meet the capital shortfall of four state-owned commercial banks during the present interim government tenure, officials said. Finance Division yesterday informed the decision to the banking division at a meeting on setting priority to disburse the fund. Additional Secretary of the finance division Ranjit Kumar Chakraborty presided over the meeting at the finance ministry. The Banking and Financial Institutions Division wanted to disburse the fund this month, but the Finance Division argued International Monetary Fund imposed a condition to disburse the Tk4,100cr fund under its Extended Credit Facility programme, said a senior official. Sources said the government does not want to disburse any budget fund in December as the fund will be required to meet other expenditure while the economy is in shock due to the prolong violence and political deadlock. The banking division proposed to disburse the amount to the banks, but the division is not interested to disburse any fund for three of them – Bangladesh Commerce Bank, Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Basic Bank, source in the meeting said. Sonali Bank will get highest amount of Tk2,000cr and rest of the fund would go to three banks, officials said . Banking Secretary Dr Aslam Alam told Dhaka Tribune the budget division will also impose their conditions to disburse fund for the state owned banks. l

Airtel supports while others reluctant n Muhammad Zahidul Islam While some other mobile phone operators are not interested in, Airtel says it will favour fixing of mobile internet bandwidth prices. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has recently decided to set the bandwidth prices like voice and SMS tariffs. It will be especially for mini packs, which will protect end-users, said sources. “Currently, we are the price leader in data and voice market. So, we always welcome price packaging,” said Adnan Bin Taj, head of data of Airtel, while talking to the Dhaka Tribune on the sideline of a workshop yesterday in Dhaka. Airtel and Telecom Reporters’ Network, Bangladesh jointly organised the workshop on “Prospect of 3G in Bangladesh” at a hotel. BTRC already held a meeting with the mobile phone operators while the tariffs are likely to be finalised after another meeting next week. The country’s telecom watchdog has compared different packages of the operators and decided to fix the bandwidth prices per 100 Megabits (MB) below Tk20. The prices will be applicable for both 2G and 3G users simultaneously, said BTRC sources. BTRC also wants to reduce the number of packages to “protect users from different traps.” But three leading mobile phone operators are not currently willing to accept such price

regulation as they said the action will make them lose revenue. “We’ve just entered 3G era. The service and also the data market need some time to get matured,” said a senior executive of a mobile phone operator. But the telecom watchdog argued price regulation is necessary for “the betterment of the industry” and such action is a continuous process. Airtel said it wished to be the leader in data service in the market. “We want to be the data service leader in the market,” said Airtel’s public relations head Shamit Shahabuddin. “Airtel has a large number of users from young generation. We need to take care of their demands.” Earlier, BTRC fixed a ceiling for call tariff at Tk0.25-2 per minute in 2008. The regulator also directed operators to charge off-net call (from one operator to another) not less than Tk0.60. In 2011, BTRC fixed the local SMS tariff at the maximum Tk0.50 and for international operators at Tk2. BTRC introduced 10-second pulse in any type of calls last year amid opposition from the operators. Grameenphone, the leading operator, currently offers 500MB bandwidth at only Tk50 with 512Kbps (kilobits per second) speed in 3G for a five-day use. Another operator Banglalink offers 50MB bandwidth for Tk50 with 1Mbps speed which can be used 15 days. Robi offers 200MB bandwidth for Tk100 with 512Kbps speed for a seven-day use. l

5 insurance licences awarded under political pressure n Tribune Report The insurance regulator yesterday approved five new life insurance companies under political consideration. The approval was given five months since Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) issued 11 licences. The new companies are Alfa Islami Life, Shawdesh Life, Trust Islami Life, Jamuna Life and Diamond Life Insurances. Nazimuddin Ahmed, an apparel exporter and manufacturers, received licence of Alfa Islami Life in recommendation of Shahriair Alam, Member of the Parliament (MP) elected from Rajshahi-6 constitution, sources said. The regulator issued licence of Diamond Life Insurance to former Chhatra League former General Secretary Ishaq Ali Khan, Jamuna Life Insurance to MP of AL Mosharraf Hossain, Shawdesh Life Insurance to president of the Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra Nurul Alam Chowdhury and Trust Islami Life Insurance to AL leader living in Australia Zaker Ahmed Bhuiyan, according to them. “Licences of five new insurance companies were issued,” said IDRA Chairman M Shefaq Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune. “IDRA is an autonomous body, so there is no room for political consideration in issuing licence.” The approval was given in line with the finance ministry’s instruction, said a source in the IDRA. Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA) President Sheikh Kobir Hossain said insurance sector suffered for skilled manpower. “As a result 11 companies are yet to take off. In this context, the government should take the decision taking the present situation into the account.” Earlier the IDRA issued licences to nine new life insurance companies and two general insurance companies. The companies were- Mercantile Islami Life Insurance Ltd, Taiyo Summit Life Insurance Co Ltd, Sonali Life Insurance Co Ltd, NRB Global Life Insurance Co Ltd, Protective Life Insurance Co Ltd, Guardian Life Insurance Ltd, Chartered Life Insurance Co Ltd, Best Life Insurance and Zenith Islami Life Insurance Ltd. Sikder Insurance and Sena Kalyan General Insurance got licenses for setting up general insurance companies. l

December 19, 2013  
December 19, 2013  
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