Bangladesh and Brunei signed seven instruments for strengthening cooperation mainly in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, livestock, culture and sports, and LNG supply. The instruments were signed after an official bilateral meeting held between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Brunei's Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei, here. Of the seven instruments, six are MoUs and one is the exchange of notes.
One MoU is on scientific and technical cooperation in the field of agriculture, while another is on cooperation in the field of fisheries. The other MoUs are on cooperation in the field of livestock; cooperation in the field of youth and sports; cooperation in the supply of LNG, and the exchange of notes on exemption of visa for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
Per minute call charge of using mobile phone service of Grameenphone is set to increase, in a further development to their being declared as a significant market power (SMP) operator, the telecom ministry decided in a meeting on April 18. The decision was reached in a meeting attended by Prime Minister’s ICT Advisor (also her son) Sajeeb Wazed Joy and presided over by Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar.
Grameenphone’s minimum call rate will be increased as part of the restrictions being placed on them after being declared an SMP operator, presumably to prevent them from attracting more customers by offering lower call rates. The SMP is a regulation that imposes restrictions on an operator once it corners 40 percent of the subscribers, revenues and spectrum. On February 11, the telecom regulator declared Grameenphone as SMP, and announced an initial set of four restrictions on them.
Bangladesh Bank has relaxed its loan classification policy extending time for repayment with a view to bringing down the huge amount of defaulted loans, which has reached nearly Tk100,000 crore. The central bank issued a circular on April 21 to the managing directors and chief executive officers of all scheduled banks in this regard.
In 2012, the loan classification policy was tightened in compliance with global standards, reducing to three months from the previous six months the timeframe beyond which non-repayment of a loan would be classified as sub-standard. As per the current policy, loans overdue for six and nine months are classified as doubtful and bad respectively. But in the new policy, the timeline has been pushed back by three months for each of the categories.
Summit LNG, the Summit Group’s floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU), has arrived in the Bay of Bengal ahead of schedule to supply 500 million cubic feet of re-gasified LNG to the national grid. It is now moored 6 kilometres off the island of Moheshkhali in Cox's Bazar.
Summit has hired the vessel from USA's Excelerate Energy for 15 years and carried liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar. If weather permits and depending on Petrobanglas requirements, Summit LNG will be able to send out the gas to the national grid in seven days, said an official of Summit Group. This is the second FSRU that will re-gasify and supply gas to Bangladesh, after Excelerate Energy began supplying re-gasified LNG to Bangladesh from its terminal in Moheshkhali in August last year.