Prime Bank and Bangladesh Association of Call Center and Outsourcing (BACCO) on Wednesday joined hands to facilitate financing for entrepreneurs in the field of call centere and outsourcing.
Managing Director and CEO of Prime Bank Rahel Ahmed and President of BACCO Wahidur Rahman Sharif formally launched the alliance through a virtual press meet where Minister for Planning M A Mannan MP was present as the chief guest.
The partnership titled “Prime Bank-BACCO Alliance for MSME Financing Solutions” will enable easy access to finance to BPO/Outsourcing companies as they strive for market expansion locally and globally.
It will be a big boost for the country’s BPO/Outsourcing sector as eligible BACCO members can now avail collateral free loan up to Tk 50 lakh and other tailor-made financing solutions. The entrepreneurs can make more contribution to the country’s economy.
Under the arrangement, the BPO/Outsourcing firms will get working capital (CC, OD and Demand Loan), Term Loans for Fixed Asset Purchase and Capital expenditures, International Trade solution- LC, LATR, IDBP etc., Bank Guarantee, Work Order etc. They can also avail a wide range of deposit products and free Internet Banking – ALTITUDE - for conducting broad range of e-transaction.
They will need two-year business experience and introduction letter from BACCO. The companies can apply for loan from the comfort of their office or home as Prime Bank has assigned dedicated Relationship Manager for exclusive service for valued BACCO members.
Commenting on the alliance, Managing Director and CEO, Prime Bank Rahel Ahmed, said: “Prime Bank is fully aligned with the government’s vision of making a Digital Bangladesh as the country sets sight to become a middle income country. BPO/Outsourcing sector holds huge potential as the developed countries resort to outsourcing the call center and other BPO services. We hope with the financing solution, the companies will be able to expand their services and grab more market share. Prime Bank is committed to be a part of the growth journey of this promising sector.”
President of BACCO Wahidur Rahman Sharif said: “BACCO has always been working to upturn the opportunities for member organizations and will continue to work for the development of the BPO industry by taking certain initiatives in the future. We will take all possible steps to ensure that the BACCO members are able to fully avail the financial incentives announced by the Government and also hope that other banks will also come forward to assist the organizations of this promising BPO industry.”
Senior Vice President of BACCO Md Abul Khair, BACCO Director Rashed Noman, Head of MSME Banking of Prime Bank Syed M Omar Tayub, Head of Brand and Communications Nazmul Karim Chowdhury were also present.
Bangladesh Bank will allow foreign investors to deposit their dividend with the foreign currency (FC) accounts maintained with banks in the country with certain conditions.
A Bangladesh Circular, issued on Tuesday by Foreign Exchange Policy Department, said that to bring smooth operations relating to foreign investment in Bangladesh, it has been decided that dividend payable to foreign shareholders may be credited to their FC accounts maintained in Bangladesh, subject to observance of some instructions.
These include that the authorised dealers (AD) designated banks shall satisfy themselves that the fund in equivalent foreign currency to be credited in FC accounts on account of dividend has arrived in accordance with the Guidelines for Foreign Exchange Transactions (GFET) and its reporting has been made.
“While crediting FC accounts, the transactions shall be treated as outward remittances and accordingly TM Form procedures need to be followed," said the BB circular.
Encasement of balances held in FC accounts shall be treated as inward remittances for bonafide local disbursements, subject to Form-C procedures, said the circular.
BB said that purchase of shares out of fund held in FC accounts shall be treated as foreign investment, subject to compliance with the instructions of the GFET.
Declared dividend may be used, with treatment as inward remittances in accordance
with GFET, for reinvestment in Bangladesh through purchase of shares in existing companies and/or other companies subject to observance of following certain instructions.
The circular said that the investor companies shall, within 14 days on issuance of shares in accordance with regulatory norms, arrange to report with attachment of relevant documents through their designated ADs to Foreign Exchange Investment Department and Statistics Department of Bangladesh Bank.
Ridesharing company Uber on Tuesday started 24/7 rentals service ‘Uber Rentals’ allowing riders to book a car and its driver for several hours at a stretch and make multiple stops on a journey.
The new rental service will start with a price of Tk 899 for 2hours/20km, said a press release.
During riding the Uber Rentals health safety guidelines and hygiene standards will be maintained, it said.
Riders can request a ride within minutes for a personal experience with greater flexibility and convenience after over two months.
The service will be available across UberX, which resumed services in Dhaka last week, at an affordable price point of Tk 899 for a 24hour/20 km package.
Riders will have the option of selecting from multiple hourly packages that can be booked up to a maximum of 10-hours.
The service allows riders to do more by the hour, providing great value in several situations, including when riders need to run several errands or want to attend a business appointment and get back without having to book multiple trips.
Ratul Ghosh, Head of Bangladesh and East India, Uber, said, “As Dhaka reopens, many of our riders will have new use cases and different needs from Uber, one of which will be keeping their Uber with them for a longer duration in the day.”
Users will be allowed to book their Uber for multiple hours with flexible and affordable packages and also gives them the option to make multiple stops on their journey, he added.
Uber has launched a comprehensive set of safety measures and have distributed safety kits consisting of masks, hand sanitisers, bar soaps, tissue paper to driver partners, along with placing rider safety placards in cars to create rider awareness in the last few weeks.
Using Uber Rentals is as easy as booking any other Uber trip. Riders only need to update their Uber app to the latest version if they are not able to see ‘Uber Rentals.’
Standard Chartered has committed further assistance to COVID-19 patients in Narayanganj.
The bank has pledged to bear the partial daily treatment cost of 80 COVID-19 patients at SAJIDA Hospital , Narayanganj, which has been converted into a dedicated COVID-19 treatment center, according to a press release.
The Bank had previously funded the daily treatment cost of 40 COVID-19 patients at the same hospital.
Head of Corporate Affairs, Brand & Marketing, Standard Chartered Bangladesh Bitopi Das Chowdhury said, “COVID-19 is first and foremost a health crisis of an unprecedented scale, requiring a concerted and sustained response. We are proud to be expanding our partnership with Sajida Foundation through this new initiative. I would also like to express my sincerest gratitude to all the health workers who are bravely leading the fight against COVID-19 from the front.”
SAJIDA Foundation CEO Zahida Fizza Kabir said, “We at SAJIDA, are working every day to improve our healthcare services. We will introduce a tiered treatment model which will support mildly and moderately affected patients through remote consultation, community health workers and address severely affected and critical patients through our hospital in Narayanganj."
Prior to this, Standard Chartered has contributed USD 300,000 to the Red Cross for the provision of urgent medical support and USD 1.3 million to UNICEF for the immediate protection and education of vulnerable children in Bangladesh.
The bank is also collaborating with BRAC to deliver support packages to 25,000 people from 5000 low-income families, residing in locked-down areas.
At the same time, Standard Chartered Bangladesh, Kumudini Welfare Trust and City Group are working together to deliver essential food items to 5000 distressed families from semi-urban and rural communities in Mirzapur, Tangail
Standard Chartered has announced a broad range of support measures for its retail customers and businesses, including loan repayment holidays, fee waivers or cancellations and loan extension facilities.
It has initiated a US$1 billion global financing program for companies that provide goods and services to help the fight against COVID-19. It has also launched a US$50 million fund aiding communities affected by the pandemic across its global footprint, including Bangladesh.
The government has chosen to use the lull in international trade caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to bring its Customs facility administered by the National Board of Revenue on par with global standards, so that it may facilitate a smoother, more efficient trading process to help the economy bounce back faster once health concerns are overcome.
Several measures like upgrading ASYCUDA World, National Single Window, Automated Customs Risk Management, Authorized Economic Operator, etc. have been undertaken by the state’s revenue collection agency to modernise Customs.
The Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) is a computerized system designed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to administer a country's customs. UNCTAD's aim was to build a computer system to assist customs authorities all over the world to automate and control their core processes and obtain timely, accurate and valuable information to support government projections and planning.
"The country's economy has come to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic halting the rapid progress of the economy. In order to overcome this situation, there is no alternative to upgrading Customs to international standards to facilitate import and export trade," it is stated in a budget document for the 2020-21 fiscal. .
It said that if these measures are implemented in due time, the ease of doing business ranking of Bangladesh will improve, investment will be facilitated, and the wheels of the country's economy will be further accelerated.
Besides, the Customs Modernisation Strategic Action Plan 2019-2022 has been adopted to facilitate trade and commerce in the country.
According to the document, modern scanners are being set up at customs ports and customs stations. The National Single Window (NSW) project has been taken up to connect all stakeholders in a single platform. It will provide the facilities of One Stop Service for import and export.
Also read: Coronavirus: Import duty on 12 items waived
Full implementation of the modern and technology-based NSW project will speed up trade and reduce business operating costs.
This will be an important step in the implementation of cross-border paperless trade. With the introduction of the Advance Ruling program, importers or new entrepreneurs can now be certain of the H.S. Codes and Rules of Origin of their products before importing them.
The National Single Window (NSW) by 2022 would speed up the export-import process by bringing the services of 39 public and private agencies under an integrated system.
After implementing the system by 2022, import time will be reduced to two days and export to one day. Currently, it takes eight days for releasing import goods while export goods need five days through different customs in the ports.
According to the NBR, a total of 319,000 importers and exporters are expected to be benefited from reduced time and cost for trade once the system becomes operational.
The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) system has been introduced to ensure faster delivery of goods, enabling traders to avail the Fast Track facility.
An AEO trader is a party involved in the international movement of goods with a record of satisfactory compliance to World Customs Organization (WCO) standards or an equivalent supply chain security standard certified by, or on behalf of, a national Customs administration. Achieving AEO recognition indicates supply chain security.
In addition, the government has taken IT-based risk management and post-clearance audit activities to speed up the delivery of goods for all but risky persons or organisations.
"If we can implement these projects it would be a great helpful for us for revenue collection," a senior NBR official said.
He said that automation would give a boost for the revenue collection as well as reduce the hassle for the export and import activities that ultimately will bring positive results in doing business.
The total revenue collection target for the proposed budget for 2020-21 fiscal is set at a steep Tk 378,000 crore where the NBR will contribute Tk 3,30,000 crore. The revenue from non-NBR sources was estimated at Tk 15,000 crore, while non-tax revenue at Tk. 33,000 crore.
Of the grand amount for the NBR, Tk 103,945 crore will come from income, profit and capital tax, while Tk 125,162 crore will be contributed by VAT, supplementary tax will provide Tk 57,815 crore, Tk 37,807 crore will come from import duty, Tk 55 crore from export duty, Tk 3,686 crore from the excise duty and Tk 1,530 crore as other taxes.