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Bangladesh, ADB Ink $400M Deal for Inclusive Climate Development

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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Bangladesh have officially signed a policy-based loan agreement amounting to US$400 million. This financial support is directed towards assisting Bangladesh in the implementation of its National Adaptation Plan for the period 2023-2050. Additionally, the loan aims to facilitate the achievement of Bangladesh’s Nationally Determined Contributions 2021 Update to the Paris Agreement, focusing on fostering climate-resilient and inclusive development.

Md. Shahriar Kader Siddiky, Secretary of the Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Edimon Ginting, ADB’s Country Director, signed the agreement on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB, respectively. The signing ceremony took place at the ERD in the capital.

This funding marks the initial phase of the broader $700 million Climate-Resilient Inclusive Development Program. Bangladesh, identified as one of the world’s most vulnerable nations to the adverse effects of climate change, experiences an annual average loss of around US$3 billion, as stated in a press release.

Edimon Ginting, ADB Country Director, emphasized the institution’s commitment to supporting Bangladesh in strengthening its climate resilience, transitioning to a low-carbon economy, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and integrating gender equality and social inclusion in climate actions.

The program’s objectives include creating a conducive institutional and policy environment to mobilize climate finance, prioritizing climate actions in the national development agenda, and facilitating government-led reforms in critical climate sectors such as agriculture, disaster management, transport and infrastructure, urban development, and energy.

Part of the initiative involves establishing the National Committee for Environment and Climate Change, headed by the Prime Minister, to holistically implement the government’s climate priorities across ministries. The program is set to actively support the operationalization of the Bangladesh Climate and Development Partnership, introduced at COP 28.

Furthermore, the program focuses on mainstreaming climate priorities in government planning and resource allocation, as well as mobilizing climate finance through instruments like green bonds and sustainable finance policies.

At the sectoral level, the program promotes climate-smart and resilient agricultural practices, particularly those beneficial for female farmers. It also supports the adaptation of solar irrigation pumps, the implementation of climate-resilient infrastructure design and planning, and the development of a regulatory framework for the adoption of electric vehicles, including the introduction of electric buses in public transport fleets.

In line with ADB’s increased climate financing ambition, announced in October 2021 to deliver $100 billion from 2019 to 2030, this program seeks to expand access to climate-focused technologies and mobilize private capital for climate finance.

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Top Bank Executives Ordered to Address Currency Exchange Scandal

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The Bangladesh Bank has issued orders to the top executives of nine commercial banks, instructing them to transfer officials allegedly involved in foreign currency exchange irregularities at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. In a Thursday meeting, Deputy Governor Kazi Sayedur Rahman cautioned CEOs against the recurrence of such incidents, urging heightened oversight and security measures at airport booths.

Bangladeshi expatriate workers and travelers typically convert foreign currencies to Taka at bank booths and money exchangers upon returning to Bangladesh. However, some officials were found to be involved in exchanging foreign currencies directly without issuing proper vouchers or with fake vouchers, a practice considered money laundering.

The implicated banks include state-run Sonali, Janata, Agrani, and Probashi Kallyan, along with five private banks: Pubali, Jamuna, City, Mutual Trust, and Standard. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) verified the allegations following a formal complaint, conducting a raid and investigation at Shahjalal Airport on Monday.

ACC officials discovered that foreign currency arriving at Shahjalal Airport, meant to be deposited through the banking channel, was being manipulated by unscrupulous officials. Some were purchasing dollars and selling them in the open market without proper documentation, and in certain cases, currencies were being smuggled abroad.

In-bound passengers frequently exchange US dollars, euros, riyals, ringgits, pounds, and dinars at the airport, according to ACC officials. The central bank’s directive aims to curb malpractices and ensure the proper handling of foreign currency transactions at the airport.

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Cenbank Grants Approval to 8 Additional CA Firms for Auditing

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Following a thorough assessment of appeals from various audit firms in alignment with the enlistment policy, Bangladesh Bank (BB) has opted to augment the existing roster by incorporating eight additional chartered accountant (CA) firms.

With this recent inclusion, a total of 39 audit firms now meet the criteria for auditing banks and finance companies, according to a circular issued by BB today.

This circular has been disseminated by Bangladesh Bank, exercising its authority as stipulated under section-39(1) of the Bank Company Act, 1991 (Amended up to 2023) and section-37(1) of the Finance Company Act, 2023.

As per the circular, a single firm is permitted to audit a maximum of six banks and finance companies within a financial year.

The enlisted audit firms (Chartered Accountants) are: Qasem & Co; Wahab & Co; ACNABIN; Ahmed Zaker & Co; Ahsan Manzur & Co; Anil Salam Idris & Co; Arun & Company; Aziz Halim Khair Choudhury; Basu Banerjee Nath & Co; Chowdhury Bhattacharjee & Co; Das Chowdhury Dutta & Co; Dewan Nazrul Islam & Co; G Kibria & Co; Hoda Vasi Chowdhury & Co; Hoque Bhattacharjee Das & Co; Howladar Yunus & Co; Hussain Farhad & Co; Islam Aftab Kamrul & Co; Islam Jahid & Co; K M Alam & Co; Kazi Zahir Khan & Co; Khan Wahab Shafique Rahman & Co; M J Abedin & Co; M M Rahman & Co; M Z Islam & Co; MABS & J Partners; Mahamud Sabuj & Co; Mahfel Huq & Co; Malek Siddiqui Wali; Masih Muhith Haque & Co; MRH Dey & Co; Nurul Faruk Hasan & Co; Pinaki & Company; Rahman Rahman Huq (KPMG); S. K. Barua & Co; Shafiq Basak & Co; Snehasish Mahmud & Co; Syful Shamsul Alam & Co; Zoha Zaman Kabir Rashid & Co.

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Cenbank Unveils Roadmap to Slash Default Loans Below 8% by 2026

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The Bangladesh Bank has unveiled a roadmap aiming to reduce default loans to below 8% by June 2026. As of September last year, default loans in the banking sector amounted to Tk1.55 lakh crore, approximately 10% of the total outstanding, according to Bangladesh Bank data.

he new roadmap is in line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions as part of a $4.7 billion loan package. It emphasizes the pivotal role of shareholder directors and managing directors in the recovery process. Furthermore, the central bank has modified the loan write-off policy, allowing banks to write off loans in two years instead of the previous three, potentially reducing default loans by 2.76%, equivalent to Tk43,300 crore.

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