UBID introduced to bring back discipline in e-commerce sector

Senior Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Unique Business Identification (UBID) has been launched to restore order in the country's e-commerce sector. As a result, those who do business online, including Facebook, will have to take a mandatory registration.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi inaugurated the app on Sunday (February 6) after a review meeting on the overall digital commerce business at the Secretariat.

"We are trying to get the e-commerce money back," he said. Some of the money has already been refunded. We are trying the rest.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Private Industry and Investment Salman F Rahman and State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Junaid Ahmed Palak and Commerce Secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh were present on the occasion.

Also, the head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) Masud Biswas, FBCCI President Jasim Uddin, President of E-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (ECAB) Shami Kaiser, President of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Syed Almas Kabir, CID of Police, SB, Digital Security Agency, National Consumer Rights Protection Representatives of 16 organizations including the Postal Department were present on the occasion. During the inauguration of Unique Business ID, 11 companies including Chaldal Limited, Ajker Deal, Rokmari.com were registered. Certificates were issued to five of them.

Operation of Counterfeit Giordano products on the market!

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
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, Barta24.com  
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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, Barta24.com
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


Government directs closure of KSRM shipyard

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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The Ministry of Industries has ordered the temporary closure of Kabir Steel Limited's (KSRM) shipyard in Chattogram's Sitakunda.

The ministry issued the directive after repeated allegations of worker deaths.

In addition to the closure of the shipyard, a five-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident.

The information was given in a letter signed by Sohela Nasreen, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Industries, on Monday (February 14).

On the night of February 1, Ariful Islam Sujan, 27, a worker at KSRM's shipyard, died. According to the preliminary inquest report, Arif died while working on the ship. But the company was trying to prove that the worker had died of a heart attack to avoid this responsibility. Immediately after this incident, the Ministry of Industry moved seriously to deal the matter.

The ministry has directed the suspension in the case of hiring unskilled workers, not ensuring safety of workers and frequent deaths of workers in accidents.

A letter from the industry ministry said a worker was killed at KSRM's shipbreaking yard on February 1. As a result, negative perceptions are being created about the ship recycling industry at home and abroad. In this case, the shipyard of Kabir Steel Limited will be temporarily closed till further notice.

The Ministry of Industries has also sought an explanation from Kabir Steel Limited within the next seven working days regarding the deaths of workers.

The investigation committee will submit the report within seven working days after investigating the cause of the accident and determining the responsibility.

Earlier, in March 2020, the Ministry of Industries had banned the import of ships due to lack of adequate security, unskilled workers and repeated accidents at the Khwaja Yard owned by the KSRM Group.

The death of a worker at KSRM's shipyard is imminent. .However, the ministry thinks that the incident of deaths of workers at KSRM's shipyard on February 1 has had a negative impact on Bangladesh's ship recycling industry at home and abroad. That is why this directive has been issued.