• Monday, November 24, 2014

Business

Stand by start-ups with policy support: analysts

Stand by start-ups with policy support: analysts

Friendly policies, tax breaks and a change in the educational curriculum and people's mindset are crucial to promoting start-ups in Bangladesh, young entrepreneurs said yesterday. "There needs to be a fundamental shift in terms of how the academic structure is designed for the new world," said Mustafizur Rahman Khan, founder and chief executive of StartupDhaka.org, a content and event platform. Kalsoom Lakhani, CEO of Invest2Innovate, which supports start-ups, does not think that academics in countries like Bangladesh...

BB honours top remitters

BB honours top remitters

Bangladesh Bank yesterday honoured 24 non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) for sending the...

Still suffering

Still suffering

They never knew the dark of the grisly night could be...

Safety standards improve

Workplace safety in the garment sector have improved since the Tazreen fire disaster two years ago, but the absence of justice...

Banks' capital rises

Banks' overall capital increased 1.94 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous quarter, as asset quality of most banks improved. On September 30, their capital was Tk 64,932 crore, which is 10.57 percent of their total risk-weighted assets. The amount was Tk 63,694 crore on June 31. In line with international standards, banks have to maintain a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of 10 percent against their risk-weighted assets. The total capital of state-owned commercial banks increased around 3 percent to...

Punish Tazreen owner, say labour leaders

Labour leaders yesterday reiterated their demand for exemplary punishment to those responsible for the Tazreen Fashions. The fire at the Tuba Group factory in Savar killed at least 112 people, mostly garment workers, on this day two years ago.     “The fire was not an accident. It was a murder,” said Tapon Saha, general secretary of Textile Garments Workers Federation. The loss of lives could have been minimised, had the factory' doors not been locked, he said at a human chain formed...

FAS Finance gets new MD

FAS Finance gets new MD

Md Russel Shahrior has joined FAS Finance and Investment as its managing director and chief executive officer, the company said yesterday. Prior to the appointment, he served MIDAS Financing as its deputy managing director, it said. Shahrior has experience in SME finance, green banking and IT division from his work with the IIDFC, and as...

Fuel price rise tests Indonesia leader's poverty pledge

Fuel price rise tests Indonesia leader's poverty pledge

In an old cemetery in the Indonesian capital, Enur's family and others live in makeshift houses between tombstones, a handful of the millions of poor people that new President Joko Widodo has pledged to help. But Widodo's promise to close a fast-growing wealth gap is looking tougher after his decision last week to hike...

German finance minister wants EU to have budget veto powers

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Sunday the European economic and monetary affairs commissioner should have veto powers over national budgets that breach eurozone criteria. Such a reform would send "a strong signal that we truly honour our commitments", the veteran minister said ahead of a European summit in Brussels next month, in an interview published in news weekly Focus. The comments come amid tensions between Berlin, which has preached fiscal discipline, and Paris, which is running a budget deficit and...

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Coal India trade unions call off strike in victory for Modi

The labour unions of state-run Coal India have called off a strike planned for Monday in protest against a stake sale and opening up of the industry, setting the stage for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press ahead with energy reforms. Coal India holds a monopoly on commercial coal mining, accounting for more than 80 percent of India's total production. Union leaders met a senior coal ministry official on Saturday and the strike was postponed until a meeting with the power...

Opec divided on oil output before crucial meeting

The Opec oil producers cartel will hold one of its toughest and most significant meetings in recent years as, faced with sliding prices, its members must contemplate whether to cut output. Ahead of Thursday's meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Vienna, home to the cartel's headquarters, its dozen member countries are split on what direction to take after a 30 percent drop in crude prices since June has slashed revenues. Opec's poorer members, led by Venezuela and Ecuador,...

India's Jaitley pledges second-generation reforms

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised on Sunday to unveil a whole series of "second-generation" reforms to try to kickstart the stuttering economy. In an interview with the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, Jaitley said the reforms that would be unveiled in the budget early next year would help the country cross the six percent growth mark in 2015-16. "The country needs a larger opening out in more sectors... I think we have a lot of exciting times ahead...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Cotton use to rise fast, led by textile growth

Cotton use to rise fast, led by textile growth

Bangladesh's annual cotton consumption will accelerate 50 percent to six million bales in four years as garment exports are on the rise, the International Cotton Association (ICA) said yesterday. Bangladeshi spinners now consume more than four million bales of imported cotton a year, with the growth in consumption rate being between 10 percent and...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Construction brings highest worker deaths this year: survey

Construction brings highest worker deaths this year: survey

The construction sector brought about the highest number of worker deaths so far this year, a recent survey found. Of the total of 260 deaths from workplace accidents in the first ten months of the year, 105 were in the construction sector, according to the survey conducted by Safety and Rights Society, a local non-government organisation that works for improving workplace safety in Bangladesh. Dhaka saw the highest number of deaths: 72. The services sector which includes hotels, workshops and power supply organisations had 70 deaths, while 60 workers died in factories and other manufacturing organisations. After the Tazreen fire and Rana Plaza collapse, the factory owners, buyers and the government have...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
LDCs must participate more in world economy

   The least-developed countries, including Bangladesh, should re-evaluate their domestic policies to improve investment climate to better integrate with the global value chain, analysts said yesterday. “You have to improve your investment environment. If you just stick there with traditional issues you will miss the opportunities,” Longyue Zhao, director of China Centre for International Development, said at a seminar in Dhaka. The Centre for Policy Dialogue and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung jointly organised the event, which focused on the issues of the LDCs following the...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Horlicks the best brand

Horlicks the best brand

Horlicks, a health food drink from GlaxoSmithKline, came out as the best brand in the country, beating last year's winner Fair & Lovely, at an awards ceremony yesterday. Fair & Lovely, the fairness cream brand of Unilever Bangladesh, was the second best and Radhuni, the flagship spice brand of Square Consumer Products, the third among the top 10 brands from all categories.  Radhuni was also the top local brand, followed by Teer Soyabean Oil and Milk Vita at Best Brand Award Bangladesh 2014.  Seventy-eight awards were given in 29 categories at the event at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka. Bangladesh Brand Forum (BBF) in collaboration with world's leading brand research company, Millward Brown, hosted...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Trade deficit doubles in Q1

Trade deficit almost doubled to $2.4 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year due to rising imports and falling exports. Import growth—13.62 percent—outpaced export growth, which was 0.94 percent. In the period, food grain imports fell 32.90 percent year-on-year, but capital machinery imports rose 22 percent and petroleum 53 percent, according to data on letters of credit settlement. Although trade deficit widened, the overall surplus was significant in the first quarter, as remittances, foreign direct investment and medium- and...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
India targets reforms in new parliament session

India targets reforms in new parliament session

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised Friday to make progress during the upcoming parliamentary session on a string of economic reforms, including a national tax to create a single internal market. The right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May with the biggest parliamentary mandate in three decades on a...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Sanofi still has a 'driver in the seat' after shakeup

The temporary head of French drugmaker Sanofi insisted the firm still had a bright future Thursday, declaring there was still "a driver in the seat" despite a sudden change in leadership. Sanofi, one of France's largest companies, fired its chief executive three weeks ago after a row over his management style, troubling investors and sending stocks plummeting. Serge Weinberg, appointed as a temporary replacement, sought to dispel doubts Thursday, presenting what he said was an accelerated launch of 18 new drugs...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Apple $450m e-book settlement gets final court approval

A US judge on Friday gave final approval to Apple Inc's agreement to pay $450 million to resolve claims it harmed consumers by conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices. During a hearing in Manhattan, US District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called a "highly unusual" accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company is unsuccessful in appealing a ruling that found it liable for antitrust violations. The...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Amazon plans ad-supported video streaming service

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc will release a new ad-supported video streaming service early next year, the New York Post reported, citing sources. The service will be separate from the company's $99-a-year Prime membership, which includes a video service, the Post reported. The Post did not say if the new service would be free or chargeable. Amazon's Prime service costs $99 a year. Amazon was not immediately available for comment. The new service will compete directly with Hulu and Netflix Inc, whose charges...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
EU could give France until 2015 on budget

The EU could delay a decision on France's budget overshoot until early 2015 instead of making a ruling next week as expected, sources said on Friday. Under new powers given to Brussels during the eurozone debt crisis, the European Commission is set to deliver official opinions on euro government budget plans for next year. Last month, France and Italy barely avoided having their budgets humiliatingly sent back for serious breaches, with France set for a deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Once a stopover, Morocco becoming home for migrants

Once a stopover, Morocco becoming home for migrants

In a back alley in the Moroccan capital, the small household repair shop opened by Moctar Toure since escaping conflict in his native Ivory Coast is doing a brisk business. At the gates of Europe, Morocco has long been a transit point for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa looking to make the dangerous journey across...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Europe may propose Google break-up

The European Parliament is preparing a non-binding resolution that proposes splitting Google Inc's search engine operations in Europe from the rest of its business as one possible option to rein in the Internet company's dominance in the search market. European politicians have grown increasingly concerned about Google's and other American companies' command of the Internet industry, and have sought ways to curb their power. A public call for a break-up would be the most far-reaching action proposed and a significant...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
Form a support institute for SMEs: analysts

An apex body should be formed for facilitating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such that the sector's contribution towards economic growth and development is enhanced, speakers said at a seminar yesterday. The association will promote SME entrepreneurs by providing various services such as credit facilitation, skill development, technology transfer, exhibitions and trainings, export-import facilitation, risk management service and solutions to problems. It may be similar to the Integrated Association of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises of India, popularly known as 'IamSME...

Published Date: November 23, 2014
British insurer Aviva reveals talks to buy rival for £5.5b

British insurer Aviva said late Friday that it is in advanced talks to buy rival Friends Life for £5.5 billion ($8.6 billion, 6.9 billion euros) to create the nation's biggest insurance, savings and asset management firm. The pair said in a statement that they have reached agreement on key terms of a "possible" deal, under which Friends Life shareholders would receive 0.74 Aviva ordinary shares for each Friends Life ordinary share. The possible offer is worth 398.9 pence per Friends Life...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
NBR's intelligence efforts pay off

The central intelligence cell (CIC) of the National Board of Revenue has detected tax evasion of Tk 1,581 crore by individuals and firms in nine years to fiscal 2013-14. The intelligence unit, which was formed in January 2004, has so far collected Tk 725 crore from these tax dodgers, according to a report by the CIC. The amount detected is insignificant given the culture of rampant tax dodging in the country, said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Hopes for better business climate

Hopes for better business climate

Bangladesh's business environment looks set to improve in the next five years, according to a global ranking report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) yesterday. The EIU in its Business Environment Rankings graded Bangladesh as the 69th investor-friendly location among 82 nations for 2014-18 as the country advanced by two notches from the...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
New chief executive for GP

New chief executive for GP

Rajeev Sethi has been appointed as the chief executive of Grameenphone, the country's biggest mobile operator said in a statement yesterday. Sethi is scheduled to join office on December 1, replacing Vivek Sood. Sood, who took charge of GP in January 2013, will move back to India to join Uninor as its CEO. Prior to his Bangladesh assignment, Sood served Uninor as its chief financial officer. “I'm honoured to join Grameenphone and become part of the efforts to provide 'internet for all' in Bangladesh,” Sethi said in his message. “I'm humble and grateful for the opportunity to join the team and serving more than 50 million customers with critical mobile services.” Prior to the...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Solar panel makers urge govt to curb cheap imports

Manufacturers of solar panels can meet the entire demand of the country, but competition from low quality and cheaper Chinese imports is holding them back. An increased use of local products in solar home systems will help save foreign currency and boost the renewable energy sector, the manufacturers said. “We are now fully capable of meeting the country's demand for solar panels,” said Tanjil Chowdhury, president of Solar Module Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh. Currently, nine local companies produce solar panels with a...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Merger fever back on Wall Street

Mega-merger fever is back on Wall Street, six years after the financial crisis, and 2014 is shaping up as a record year for takeovers in a sign of US corporate optimism. In rapid succession on Monday, pharmaceutical giant Actavis said it would pay $66 billion for Allergan, which makes the wrinkle-eraser Botox, and oilfield services company Halliburton said it would take over rival Baker Hughes for $34.6 billion. Times have never been riper for big deals, mergers-and-acquisitions bankers told AFP. "A number...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Apple, Xiaomi trade smartphone barbs in China

Top executives from US technology giant Apple and Chinese smartphone upstart Xiaomi traded light-hearted barbs on Thursday at a Chinese Internet conference, acknowledging the fierce competition between the rivals. Apple's iPhones and iPads are wildly popular in China, encouraging smuggling and crowds at the company's stores as consumers try to lay their hands on the latest products. Yet Apple stood in sixth place in China's fractured smartphone market with only a 6.9 percent share in the March-June period according to consultancy...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Modi's divide and rule weakens Coal India unions as strike looms

A rift between the five powerful labour unions at Coal India Ltd is set to clear the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to complete a stake sale in the state company that is critical to hitting budget targets. One of the unions, close to Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), says it has the backing of half of Coal India's 370,000 workers and will not join a strike on Monday to oppose plans to sell 10 percent of the...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Indians get taste for branded edible oil as prices drop

Indians get taste for branded edible oil as prices drop

After years of buying cooking oil sold in plastic bags at a village store, farmer Kisan Pawar has made the jump to branded packs of soyoil from a retail chain. Falling prices of imported oil and a marketing drive that often plays on health concerns over unbranded sales are prompting more Indians like Pawar...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Hyundai shipyard union stages first strike in 18yrs

Unionised workers at South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries staged their first walkout in 18 years Thursday as the world's largest shipbuilder reels from a protracted business slump. The shipyard's union said thousands walked out from a scheduled one hour of extra work after their regular eight-hour shift over pay. It added warned it would consider an all-out strike unless its demands are met. "After today's walkout, we will step up our action and may launch a strike involving all our members...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Gulf to reject Opec cuts to guard oil market share: analysts

Gulf oil producers led by Saudi Arabia will likely reject output cuts at an Opec meeting next week unless they are guaranteed their market share in a highly competitive market, analysts say. The stance of Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is seen as crucial for a positive Opec decision on reducing supplies to boost crude prices, which have shed a third of their value since June. The four pump a total 16.2 million barrels per day, or 52...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Tk 500cr social obligation fund sits idle

Tk 500cr social obligation fund sits idle

The telecom regulator has so far collected Tk 500 crore from mobile operators for a "social obligation fund", but the government is yet to start spending the money in absence of rules on how to use the fund. The telecom ministry said it has almost finalised the rules. But analysts and some officials of the ministry termed the proposed rules ambiguous, saying those will create complexities in utilising the fund. Law binds Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission to create the fund "for extending telecommunication facility in the areas deprived of such facility." The law does not mention any other purpose of the fund. However, six mobile operators now cover 99 percent areas of...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Next 5-year plan to boost growth, says minister

The next five-year development plan will boost growth and investment and attach importance to the country's impoverished regions, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said yesterday. "We will have to include the poor living in char, coastal and haor areas in the plan," he said while speaking at a meeting with businesspeople and bankers, at the National Economic Council in the city. He said the seventh development plan must take into consideration the growing number of population in urban cities. At present, 54...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Women face glass ceiling in garment sector

Women face glass ceiling in garment sector

Traditional gender bias limits the career prospects of female production workers in Bangladesh's garment industry, a recent study found. Around 85 percent of the machines in the garment industry are operated by women, but they hardly have scope to graduate to managerial posts as their male counterparts overwhelmingly dominate those positions.  The findings of the...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
The poor coming out of food price shock: study

The poor are gradually coming out of the shock from food price spirals but they remain concerned about the safety and nutritional quality of their diet, a recent study found. The Development Research Initiative, Oxfam and the Institute of Development Studies jointly conducted the study. The survey, which took place between 2009 and 2014 following the global food price crisis in 2007-08, was carried out on the poor living in Dhaka and its outskirts, Koira of Khulna, Dhamoirhat of...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Shahjibazar hits the lower price band spot market debut

Shahjibazar Power Company yesterday made its trading debut on the spot market and along the way, hit the lower end of the price band and the circuit breaker. The power company's entrance in the spot market comes after a decision by Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, taken to contain the stock's price spiralling. Spot market trading means investors will have to pay cash for the transaction and the settlement period would be just one day. The BSEC also marked Shahjibazar stocks...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Bangladesh-based projects win Holcim sustainable construction award

Bangladesh-based projects win Holcim sustainable construction award

Two construction projects based in Bangladesh have recently won the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction 2014. At the ceremony held in Indonesia, Nusrat Jahan Mim, an architect and lecturer at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, was awarded for her project titled “Portable housing for urban poor in Bangladesh”. This is for the first time...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Modi pledges $70m credit for Fiji sugar industry

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday pledged a multi-million dollar line of credit for Fiji's struggling sugar industry, once worked by thousands of indentured labourers from India under appalling conditions. Sugar was the mainstay of the island economy under British colonial rule before falling into disarray during decades of political upheaval and racial tension between the descendants of early cane field workers and indigenous Fijians. India will provide a $70 million line of credit to build a co-generation power plant at...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Bangladesh envoy meets US Congresswoman

Bangladesh has been implementing the commitments it made to all partners, including the EU and USA, to ensure the workers' rights and safety in the garment sector, Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin said. “The government and the people in Bangladesh are committed to sustaining the changes to make the garment sector clean, dignified and productive and thus offering a win-win proposition for all,” said Ziauddin, Bangladesh ambassador to the US. Significant progress has already been made in the garment sector, the envoy said...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Despite tourism boom, Greek recovery hampered by exports

Despite tourism boom, Greek recovery hampered by exports

The Greek economy may be basking in the glow of a record summer tourism season, but it is just one bright spot in a fragile recovery overshadowed by weak exports, economists say. After six years of recession, Greece got an economic boost from the May through September tourist season, welcoming more than 20 million...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Quantum aims to build up foothold

Quantum aims to build up foothold

Quantum Consumer Solutions, a leading market research company, aims to more than double its earnings in Bangladesh in the next three years by conducting lots of qualitative studies, two senior officials of the company said yesterday. The Mumbai-based company wants to increase its annual revenue in Bangladesh to Tk 10 crore by 2017 from...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Australia PM warns global climate deal must not hit economy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday backed an "effective" climate pact being struck at global talks in France next year, but warned it could not come at the expense of the economy or jobs. French President Francois Hollande, on a state visit to Australia, also laid out his aim of seeking the worldwide, binding agreement in Paris after world leaders failed to agree new curbs in Copenhagen in 2009. "Yes, each country has to do its bit to tackle the...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Under Modi, Israel and India forge deeper business ties

Under Modi, Israel and India forge deeper business ties

At the UN General Assembly in New York last September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set aside time for a critical meeting. But it wasn't President Barack Obama he was keen to see. It was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since Modi came to power in May, ties between Israel and India have been...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Risky rewards for China's overseas investment boom

Risky rewards for China's overseas investment boom

China's inexorable economic rise is set to see it become a net global investor after decades of Western money flowing into the country, but analysts warn the change offers risks as well as profits. Chinese oil behemoth CNOOC's $15 billion acquisition of Canada's Nexen, completed last year, was just a fraction of the $625...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Facebook launches tech news page

Facebook on Tuesday launched FB Techwire, billed as a showplace for technology talk shared by influential sources. "The goal of FB Techwire is to aid in the discovery of original content including breaking news, first-person analysis, photos and videos for journalists that care about and cover tech," Facebook said in an email to AFP. "With every breaking tech story, debate, launch or event we will find, verify and share the most relevant and high-value content to the tech community on Facebook...