Banks in Bangladesh will have to maintain a net non-performing loan ratio of no more than 5 percent to get approval for bancassurance, the selling of life assurance and other insurance products and services by banking institutions, according to related guidelines released by Bangladesh Bank. The banks will also have to show positive net profit for three consecutive years to be considered eligible while their capital to risk-weighted asset ratio with capital conservation buffer cannot be less than 12.5 percent. However, the percentage may be readjusted by the central bank from time to time, it added.

Besides, the banks will have to meet a credit rating of no less than grade-2 as defined by Bangladesh Bank guidelines on risk-based capital adequacy. Additionally, no bank shall engage in selling bancassurance without getting prior approval from Bangladesh Bank, and obtaining a corporate agent licence from the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA). The key objective of this guideline is to provide banks with a regulatory and supervisory framework for bancassurance.

The taka is expected to depreciate further against the US dollar due to huge outflows, said the Bangladesh Bank in its quarterly report leased this week. The observation comes as Bangladesh registered a higher deficit in its external account stemming primarily from an elevated level of deficit in the financial account driven by negative trade credit and increased outflow of other investments.

The deficit in the financial account stood at $3.9 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year of 2023-24, down from a surplus of $839 million during the same period a year ago. In the four months to October, the deficit in the financial account, which includes foreign investments, trade credits and loans, was $3.96 billion though the nation recorded an improvement in the current account, which shows the difference in value between exports and imports. As a result of the consistent pressure of external payments, the local currency has lost its value by about 28 percent since January 2022.

Bangladesh has secured the 105th position out of 145 countries despite making progress in its ranking in terms of mobile internet speed performance on the global stage, according to the Ookla's Speedtest Global Index for November. In the previous report, the country held the 111th position among 142 nations. As per the latest report, the median download speed in Bangladesh stood at 23Mbps, which was 20.66Mbps in the previous report published in October.

The top position in the ranking was claimed by the United Arab Emirates, with a median download speed of 324.92Mbps, which was 269.41Mbps in the previous report. Among the five mobile network providers in Bangladesh, Banglalink emerged as the fastest, according to Ookla's report. When measuring the consistency of each operator's performance, Banglalink's 85.3 percent of results indicated at least a 5Mbps minimum download speed and 1Mbps minimum upload speed.

Natural gas is going to be supplied to different industries in Dhaka and adjoining areas from Bhola in the current month in CNG (compressed natural gas) form. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid inaugurated the launching of the venture by private firm Intraco, a leading CNG station operator in the country, at a function on Thursday (Dec. 21). Intraco signed a contract with state-owned Sundarban Gas Company Limited (SGCL) to supply gas to different industries in Dhaka and adjoining areas including Gazipur and Tangail.

Under a 10-year contract, the Intraco Refuelling Station Ltd will bring the gas from southern district Bhola in CNG form by large trailers, each having 4000 cubic metres and sell it to the industries at Tk 47.50 per unit (1000 cubic feet). As per the contract, local firm Intraco Refuelling Station Ltd will initially supply 5 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas and later 20 mmcfd gas to the private industries.

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