Nation this week
The opening of letters of credit for imports dropped by 26.8 percent in the July-April period of the financial year 2022-23 as Bangladesh Bank strengthened monitoring over it, according to a central bank report. According to the central bank's data, LC opening dropped to $56.36 billion in July-April of FY23, a substantial fall of $20.64 billion from the $77 billion recorded in the same period of FY22. Bankers said that imports declined drastically as the central bank asked banks to provide advance notifications for any LCs worth more than $3 million and increased monitoring on imports to check any misuses of the facility.
Besides, the persisting dollar shortage compelled many businesses to reduce their imports, they said. Moreover, several banks facing the dollar crisis were unable to meet their LC payment obligations, leading to a decrease in new LC opening. LC opening for various imports, including capital machinery, intermediate goods, consumer goods, and industrial raw materials, showed significant declines in July-April of FY23.
The BNP's Rajshahi district unit convener Abu Sayeed Chand was arrested for issuing a "death threat" to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and placed on a five-day remand. Awami League's Baneswar union unit General Secretary Abul Kalam Azad sued Chand, also a member of BNP's central committee, under the Anti-Terrorism Act at Puthia police station. In his case, Azad alleged that Chand threatened the PM while addressing a public rally held at Shibpirhat School field in Puthia upazila on Friday.
During his speech, Chand said BNP has no other demand except to ensure that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina goes to her grave, Azad claimed in the case. According to police, Chand went into hiding and was constantly on the move to evade arrest. On information, a joint team of Rajshahi range and metropolitan police set up the checkpost in Bheripara and arrested Chand as he was fleeing in a private car. The BNP termed Chand's remark as "an unwanted slip of the tongue".
United Arab Emirates-vased BTA Wealth Management has purchased 3.4 crore shares of Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd (IBBL) at a cost of Tk 111 crore. The shares were traded at a price of Tk 32.6 each through the block market, according to the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) data. With the share purchase, the Emirati asset management company--which also offers investment banking services--now holds over 2 percent stakes in Islami Bank.
According to the Banking Companies Act, a director of a bank needs to hold at least 2 percent shares of a company in Bangladesh, which means the BTA Wealth Management is now eligible to sit in the board of directors of Islami Bank. The bank's paid-up capital is Tk 1,610 crore. Sponsors hold 55.06 percent shares of IBBL, institutional investors 14.59 percent, foreign investors 20.24 percent and general investors 10.11 percent, as of December 31 of 2022.
Independent Zaida Khatun, the mother of ousted mayor Zahangir Alam, defeated ruling Awami League candidate Azmat Ullah Khan by a margin of 16,197 votes in the Gazipur City Corporation polls. According to the returning officer Faridul Islam, Zaida bagged 2,38,934 votes while Azmat got 2,22,737 votes. The voter turnout was 48.75 percent at the 480 polling centres of Gazipur city.
Election Commissioner Md Alamgir said that they got information from their observers, law enforcement agencies, returning officers, election officials, and the media that the polls to Gazipur City Corporation was "very fair and peaceful". However some media reported the presence of the ruling Awami League activists was overwhelming inside and outside some polling centres. Zahangir, who was also expelled from the party last year under controversial circumstances, declared it a victory for AL, and pledged to go meet the prime minister with his mother.
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