Earnings from merchandise shipments continued to soar in February, registering growth of 34.5 percent year-on-year to reach $4.29 billion on the back of increased garment exports. This February's earnings were the highest for the month in the past 10 years. The February receipts are also 18.8 percent higher than the target of $3.61 billion. In February last year, Bangladesh recorded merchandise shipments amounting to $3.19 billion, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.

In January this year, earnings from merchandise shipments stood at $4.85 billion, the second-highest single-month receipts. In December, exporters raked in $4.9 billion, an all-time high for single-month earnings. Meanwhile, the takings were $4.16 billion in September, $4.72 billion in October, and $4.04 billion in November. Between July and February, the first eight months of the current fiscal year, receipts from merchandise shipments grew 30.86 per cent to $33.84 billion. The July-February earnings are also 16.5 per cent higher than the target of $29.05 billion.

Three mobile phone operators - Grameenphone, Robi and Teletalk - failed to maintain 4G internet speed standards in terms of downloading speed in the Dhaka division, according to a Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission test report. The test, which was conducted on December 13-31 of 2021, however, did not cover the areas in the Dhaka North City Corporation and the Dhaka South City Corporation, it said. The test covered Gazipur and Narayanganj city corporations, 13 districts and 39 upazilas in the Dhaka division.

As per the BTRC's 4G guidelines, the telecom operators are supposed to provide 4G internet speed at the rate of 7Mbps. The test report was prepared based on 3,502 samples of downloading speed of the country's four mobile operators. During the test, the BTRC covered approximately 1,309 kilometres of the division. Based on 1,062 samples of downloading speed, the leading mobile phone operator GP's 4G downloading speed stood at 6.99Mbps.

Students joined in-person classes at primary schools across the country amid festive mood on Wednesday after over a month of Covid closure. The students of five classes - Class I to Class V - are joining in-person classes in two shifts - morning and day - five days per week with one extra makeup class for each classes to fill up learning gaps. However, the primary and mass education ministry also decided to resume in-person classes at the pre-primary level from March 20.

Students, their guardians and teachers of different schools in the capital welcomed the decision of resumption of classroom activities while teachers of different schools said that some students were already dropped out especially due to poverty. The in-person classes in all the educational institutions remained suspended between January 21 and February 21 following a government order due to increase in the coronavirus infections, specially, the omicron variant.

The amount of defaulted loans in the country's banking system increased by Tk 14,990 crore in 2021, despite regulatory forbearance. According to Bangladesh Bank data released on Wednesday, the amount of defaulted loans in the country's banks increased to Tk 1, 03,274 crore at the end of December 2021 from Tk 88,284 crore a year ago. Economists fear for a further deterioration in the default loan situation as regulatory forbearances made a large volume of unrecovered loans categorised as unclassified.

Of the amount, the defaulted loans in the private commercial banks increased by Tk 11,605 crore to Tk 51,521 crore in December 2021 from Tk 39,916 crore in December 2020. The amount of defaulted loans in the private commercial banks represents 49.89 per cent of the total defaulted loans while the ratio was 45.21 per cent a year ago. In the state-owned banks, the defaulted loans increased by Tk 2,703 crore to Tk 44,977 crore in December 2021, from Tk 42,274 crore a year ago.

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