The government is going to introduce a pension scheme for all citizens over the age of 60 within the next one year. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal briefed the media this week on the details of the proposed universal pension scheme after a meeting of the Cabinet Committees on Public Purchase and Economic Affairs. The pension scheme will be introduced within six months to one year, Kamal said. Laws and regulations will be formulated within this period and a body will be formed to oversee it.

Any citizen, including expatriate Bangladeshis, aged between 18 and 50 can sign up for the scheme. A beneficiary can receive a monthly pension of Tk 64,776 after the age of 60 and start to contribute towards the scheme with a monthly instalment of Tk 1,000 from the age of 18. The Awami League had promised to introduce a universal pension scheme in Bangladesh in its manifesto for the 11th parliamentary elections.

The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase approved the procurement of 3.36 million metric million British thermal units (mmBtu) of LNG from Singapore's Vitol Asia, at four times the price the government paid only a year ago as global prices skyrocket amid strong growth and tension over Ukraine. The price for the cargo has been set at $29.7 per unit, up from $7.21, the rate at which Bangladesh bought LNG from the same company in March 2021.

Bangladesh will have to spend more than Tk 10 billion (Tk 1,004.69 crore) in total for the shipment, said Additional Cabinet Secretary Zillur Rahman Chowdhury. Vitol was the only firm that took part in the tender. LNG prices have lurched from record lows under $2 per mmBtu in 2020 to record highs of $56 in October 2021. Benchmark prices stood at about $25 per mmBtu this week, after Germany halted certification of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline from Russia.

The search committee, tasked with making recommendations for appointments to the next Election Commission, finalised the names of 10 people to submit to the president for picking the chief election commissioner and four other commissioners. They will now be submitted to the president. It was decided not to publish the final ten names, even though the initial recommendations it received from different quarters were.

The names discussed for the next EC are former cabinet secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, former cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam, former secretary Habibul Awal, ex-army chief Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, former secretary Ujjwal Bikash Dutta, justice (retd) Nazmun Ara Sultana, former Dhaka University VC AAMS Arefin Siddique, DU teacher Sadeka Halim, local government expert Tofail Ahmed, President of Fair Election Monitoring Alliance (FEMA) Munira Khan, Economist Mansur Ahmed and former principal secretary Abdul Karim.

Bangladesh Bank eased its credit rating system further so that borrowers who have suffered economic shock amid the Covid outbreak can have easy access to bank loans to revive their business. To this end, the central bank amended its Internal Credit Risk Rating System, a mandatory rating system for the banks in issuing credit to their customers. Under the new circular, borrowers would be rated under the relaxed credit rating system till December 31, 2023.

In February 2021, the BB relaxed the rating system for the year 2021. Under the latest changes, the credit rating for the banks has been made easier than the past year's one. The central bank said that the impact of Covid pandemic was still evident in different sectors of the country's economy. Under the circumstances, the central bank relaxed the Internal Credit Risk Rating Scores to expedite business activities so that the entities can take fresh loans and renew their existing loans.

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