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BBA Discussion Forum / Bashundhara launches country's first bitumen plant
« on: February 22, 2020, 10:53:12 PM »
As of now, Bangladesh consumes five lakh tons of bitumen per annum, which is increasing by 10% to 15%

Bashundhara Group, a leading local conglomerate, on Saturday launched the country's first private bitumen plant at Pangoan of Keraniganj in Dhaka with a view to meeting the rising demand for bitumen in domestic market.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal inaugurated plant as chief guest, where Ahmed Akbar Subhan, chairman of Bashundhara Group, was present. State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid was present as special guest.

As of now, Bangladesh consumes five lakh tons of bitumen per annum, which is increasing by 10% to 15%.

With an investment of $200 million, the company has established the plant on 63 acres of land and the yearly production capacity will be nine lakh tons.   

"We did not have a bitumen solution which matches our weather. So our roads were not durable. Now Bashundhara has come up with a solution. We don't have to import anymore,” said AHM Mustafa Kamal.

"The company is also planning to export bitumen after meeting the country's demand. This is a big achievement for Bangladesh," he added.

Bitumen used in road construction is essentially a hydrocarbon product. It is a by-product of fuel oil which is used for road construction because it is easy to produce, reusable, non-toxic, and a strong binder.

“By 2021 we will become exporter of 4,00,000 tons, reaching the highest production capacity in Bangladesh with 9,00,000 tons annually,” said Ahmed Akbar Subhan, chairman of Basundhara Group.

"Apart from brightening the country's image in the global market, Bashundhara will do both saving and earning foreign currency for the country by exporting after meeting the demand of the country," he said.

At present, the demand for bitumen in the country is around five lakh tones, of which 90 percent is imported. The rest 10 percent is supplied by the state-run Eastern Refinery. The demand for bitumen is about 42,000 tonnes per month in Bangladesh.

Of these, Eastern Refinery under Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) produces 70,000 tons of bitumen. The rest is imported from various countries in the Middle East.

At the launching program, M Shamim Z Basunia, former professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering, said that the penetration grade of Basundhara bitumen would be 60-70 which was suitable for the weather of Bangladesh.

“We were searching for this weather-friendly product for long. This grade bitumen is being used to construct our Padma Bridge,” he said.

He also said that this plant generated employment.

According to the project description, the bitumen plant has largest drumming capacity, capable of producing 6,000 drums daily.

International hotels in Dhaka are facing cancellation of bookings amid concerns over the spread of the deadly virus, which has so far claimed more than 2,000 lives

If the city is on fire, the temple in it cannot remain safe. So is the case with the hospitality business of Bangladesh, which has shown signs of slowdown as coronavirus spread in China casts a long shadow on the overall economy.

The dwindling number of international tourists checking in hotels during this peak season spanning January and February and a good number of international expositions being postponed bear out adequately the prevailing situation.

International hotels in Dhaka are facing cancellation of bookings amid concerns over the spread of the deadly virus, which has so far claimed more than 2,000 lives.

Officials say that the number of not only Chinese tourists, but also those from other countries visiting Bangladesh fell significantly between January and February, causing the hotel business to fall by 40% to 45% following the outbreak.   

Upmarket five-star Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Le Meridien, The Westin, Intercontinental Hotel Dhaka and Radisson Blu along with the medium-range hotels are facing booking cancellations.

Janealam Shawon, director (revenue management) of The Westin, talking to Dhaka Tribune last week, said: “Our business is experiencing downtrend since the coronavirus outbreak in China. The decline is already 35%. We fear it may go up to 40%.” 

Sakerina Khaled, marketing and communication manager of Le Meridien, said: “Some events scheduled to be held in Dhaka have already been cancelled, leading to the cancellation of many of our bookings.”

“Annually, around 40% of guests are from China. The bookings have been on the decline for the last two months," she informed.

Musharrat Hasan Promi, assistant manager (customer relations and PR) of Pan Pacific Sonargaon, said, “Suspension of on arrival visa for Chinese citizens for an indefinite period has prompted our Chinese guests to cancel booking while some guests have shifted their bookings."

“We have had almost no new bookings these days,” she added.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, a high official of Radisson Blu Dhaka said that besides the businesspeople, the number of tourists from China also fell and this trend might continue till April.

Meanwhile, more than half a dozen international expositions to be held in Bangladesh have been postponed following the coronavirus outbreak in China.

This also has negatively affected Bangladesh’s hotel business, sector people have said.

Bangladesh Plastic, Packaging and Printing Industrial Fair 2020, which was scheduled to take place between February 12 and 15 at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB), has been postponed.

Besides, Bangladesh Textiles Mills Association (BTMA) put off the 17th Dhaka International Textile and Garments Machinery Exhibition (DTG) 2020, which was originally scheduled to be held between February 20 and 23 at the ICCB. The international exposition has also been postponed.

The event organizers said about 3,000 international guests were expected to arrive in the country from different countries. Most of them are Chinese citizens. The date of the exposition was postponed because they were unable to come for the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak surfaced in December last year. The World Health Organization declared it an international health emergency on January 30.

Deaths from the coronavirus in mainland China hit 2,360 as of Saturday although the number of new cases fell, as authorities tightened already severe containment measures in the worst-hit city of Wuhan.

Financial Accounting / How an AIS Works In Real Life
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:12:56 PM »
We've seen how a well-designed AIS allows a business to run smoothly on a day-to-day basis or hinders its operation if the system is poorly designed. The third use for an AIS is that, when a business is in trouble, the data in its AIS can be used to uncover the story of what went wrong.

The cases of WorldCom and Lehman Brothers provide two examples.

In 2002, WorldCom's internal auditors Eugene Morse and Cynthia Cooper used the company's AIS to uncover $4 billion in fraudulent expense allocations and other accounting entries. Their investigation led to the termination of CFO Scott Sullivan, as well as new legislation — section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which regulates companies' internal financial controls and procedures.

When investigating the causes of Lehman's collapse, a review of its AIS and other data systems was a key component, along with document collection and review, plus witness interviews. The search for the causes of the company's failure "required an extensive investigation and review of Lehman's operating, trading, valuation, financial, accounting and other data systems," according to the 2,200-page, nine-volume examiner's report.

Lehman's systems provide an example of how an AIS should not be structured. Examiner Anton R. Valukas' report states, "At the time of its bankruptcy filing, Lehman maintained a patchwork of over 2,600 software systems and applications... Many of Lehman's systems were arcane, outdated or non-standard."

The examiner decided to focus his efforts on the 96 systems that appeared most relevant. This examination required training, study, and trial and error just to learn how to use the systems.

Valukas' report also noted, "Lehman's systems were highly interdependent, but their relationships were difficult to decipher and not well-documented. It took extraordinary effort to untangle these systems to obtain the necessary information."

Financial Accounting / Internal Controls of AIS
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:12:16 PM »
The internal controls of an AIS are the security measures it contains to protect sensitive data. These can be as simple as passwords or as complex as biometric identification. An AIS must have internal controls to protect against unauthorized computer access and to limit access to authorized users, which includes some users inside the company. It must also prevent unauthorized file access by individuals who are allowed to access only select parts of the system.

An AIS contains confidential information belonging not just to the company but also to its employees and customers. This data may include Social Security numbers, salary information, credit card numbers, and so on. All of the data in an AIS should be encrypted, and access to the system should be logged and surveilled. System activity should be traceable as well.

An AIS also needs internal controls that protect it from computer viruses, hackers and other internal and external threats to network security. It must also be protected from natural disasters and power surges that can cause data loss.

Financial Accounting / IT Infrastructure as a component of AIS
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:11:14 PM »
Information technology infrastructure is just a fancy name for the hardware used to operate the accounting information system. Most of these hardware items a business would need to have anyway, including computers, mobile devices, servers, printers, surge protectors, routers, storage media, and possibly back-up power supply. In addition to cost, factors to consider in selecting hardware include speed, storage capability and whether it can be expanded and upgraded.

Perhaps most importantly, the hardware selected for an AIS must be compatible with the intended software. Ideally, it would be not just compatible, but optimal—a clunky system will be much less helpful than a speedy one. One way businesses can easily meet hardware and software compatibility requirements is by purchasing a turnkey system that includes both the hardware and the software that the business needs. Purchasing a turnkey system means, theoretically, that the business will get an optimal combination of hardware and software for its AIS.

A good AIS should also include a plan for maintaining, servicing, replacing and upgrading components of the hardware system, as well as a plan for the disposal of broken and outdated hardware so that sensitive data is completely destroyed.

Financial Accounting / AIS Software
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:10:30 PM »
The software component of an AIS is the computer programs used to store, retrieve, process, and analyze the company's financial data. Before there were computers, an AIS was a manual, paper-based system, but today, most companies are using computer software as the basis of the AIS. Small businesses might use Intuit's Quickbooks or Sage's Sage 50 Accounting, but there are others. Small to mid-sized businesses might use SAP's Business One. Mid-sized and large businesses might use Microsoft's Dynamics GP, Sage Group's MAS 90 or MAS 200, Oracle's PeopleSoft or Epicor Financial Management.

Quality, reliability, and security are key components of effective AIS software. Managers rely on the information it outputs to make decisions for the company, and they need high-quality information to make sound decisions.

AIS software programs can be customized to meet the unique needs of different types of businesses. If an existing program does not meet a company's needs, the software can also be developed in-house with substantial input from end-users or can be developed by a third-party company specifically for the organization. The system could even be outsourced to a specialized company.

For publicly-traded companies, no matter what software program and customization options the business chooses, Sarbanes-Oxley regulations will dictate the structure of the AIS to some extent. This is because SOX regulations establish internal controls and auditing procedures with which public companies must comply.

Financial Accounting / AIS Data
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:09:58 PM »
To store information, an AIS must have a database structure such as structured query language (SQL), a computer language commonly used for databases. The AIS will also need various input screens for the different types of system users and data entry, as well as different output formats to meet the needs of different users and various types of information.

The data contained in an AIS is all the financial information pertinent to the organization's business practices. Any business data that impact the company's finances should go into an AIS.

The type of data included in an AIS will depend on the nature of the business, but it may consist of the following:

Sales orders
Customer billing statements
Sales analysis reports
Purchase requisitions
Vendor invoices
Check registers
General ledger
Inventory data
Payroll information
Tax information
This data can then be used to prepare accounting statements and reports, such as accounts receivable aging, depreciation/amortization schedules, trial balance, profit and loss, and so on. Having all this data in one place—in the AIS—facilitates a business's record-keeping, reporting, analysis, auditing, and decision-making activities. For the data to be useful, it must be complete, correct and relevant.

On the other hand, examples of data that would not go into an AIS include memos, correspondence, presentations, and manuals. These documents might have a tangential relationship to the company's finances, but, excluding the standard footnotes, they are not really part of the company's financial record-keeping.

Financial Accounting / Procedures and Instructions as a component of AIS
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:08:53 PM »
The procedure and instructions of an AIS are the methods it uses for collecting, storing, retrieving and processing data. These methods are both manual and automated. The data can come from both internal sources (e.g., employees) and external sources (e.g., customers' online orders). Procedures and instructions will be coded into AIS software—they should also be "coded" into employees through documentation and training. To be effective, procedures and instructions must be followed consistently.

Financial Accounting / AIS People
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:07:56 PM »
The people in an AIS are simply the system users. Professionals who may need to use an organization's AIS include accountants, consultants, business analysts, managers, chief financial officers, and auditors. An AIS helps the different departments within a company work together.

For example, management can establish sales goals for which staff can then order the appropriate amount of inventory. The inventory order notifies the accounting department of a new payable. When sales are made, salespeople can enter customer orders, accounting can invoice customers, the warehouse can assemble the order, the shipping department can send it off, and the accounting department gets notified of a new receivable. The customer service department can then track customer shipments and the system can create sales reports for management. Managers can also see inventory costs, shipping costs, manufacturing costs and so on.

With a well-designed AIS, everyone within an organization who is authorized to do so can access the same system and get the same information. An AIS also simplifies getting information to people outside of the organization, when necessary.

For example, consultants might use the information in an AIS to analyze the effectiveness of the company's pricing structure by looking at cost data, sales data, and revenue. Also, auditors can use the data to assess a company's internal controls, financial condition and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).

The AIS should be designed to meet the needs of the people who will be using it. The system should also be easy to use and should improve, not hinder efficiency.


Apple had forecast revenue of $63 billion to $67 billion for the second quarter to March

Apple is to miss its revenue forecast for the March quarter due to the coronavirus epidemic, the US tech giant said Monday, warning that iPhone supplies worldwide would also be impacted, underlining the economic cost of the health crisis.

The COVID-19 virus death toll now exceeds 1,800 in China, where it has infected more than 72,000 after emerging in the central province of Hubei in December.

The virus has sparked global economic jitters, travel bans and the cancellation of high-profile sporting and cultural events.

"We are experiencing a slower return to normal conditions than we had anticipated," Apple said in a statement.

"As a result, we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance we provided for the March quarter."

Apple had forecast revenue of $63 billion to $67 billion for the second quarter to March.

It said that worldwide iPhone supply would be "temporarily constrained" as its manufacturing partners in China were only slowly ramping up work after being closed due to the virus.

Consumer demand in the crucial Chinese market has also been dampened after all Apple stores were shut.

"Stores that are (now) open have been operating at reduced hours and with very low customer traffic," the company said.

"We are gradually reopening our retail stores and will continue to do so as steadily and safely as we can."

Under control?

International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva has said there could be a cut of around 0.1-0.2 percentage points to global growth, but stressed there was much uncertainty about the virus's economic impact.

Outside of hardest-hit Hubei, which has been effectively locked down to try to contain the virus, the number of new cases has been slowing and China's national health authority has said the outbreak was under control.

However, World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the trend "must be interpreted very cautiously."

The travel industry has been most directly affected by China's decision to quarantine dozens of cities and cancel all overseas tour groups.

Some countries have told nationals to avoid travel to China and banned arrivals from there.

Supply chains of global firms such as Apple supplier Foxconn and auto giant Toyota have been disrupted as key production facilities in China were temporarily closed, and some major airlines have halted services.

Sportswear giants Nike and Adidas shuttered hundreds of stores in the country earlier this month and warned of a negative impact on their earnings.

State media said China may postpone its annual parliamentary session, which has been held in March for the last 35 years.

MBA Discussion Forum / Looking inside the RMG reality
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:02:21 PM »

Why transparency and communication are key

These days we come across a good number of write-ups covering a gamut of issues concerning RMG -- our vital employment-generating and foreign exchange-earning sector.

Considerable awareness has been raised on issues like worker welfare and rights, enhanced worker-owner relationships, product diversification, automation and modernization, pollution control, environment friendliness, sustainability, retailer-buyer relationships, and the like.

We have considerable arrangements on ground for monitoring worker rights, including BEPZA, BGMEA, rights groups, labour organizations, and activists.

Thanks to concerted efforts by Accord and Alliance, we have reached a reputable standard in RMG and that, in spite of multifarious challenge.

How about employees of the level of supervisors, managers at the floor level, factories and other segments of quality, production, merchandising and a host of other factors? How well are they being looked after, and how about their rights and privileges and the working environment?

Are there enough efforts to ensure transparency and communication across the board, a healthy relationship between the top management and the staff at the floor or factory level?

There are factories enjoying all the prestige and privileges of being inside EPZ, termed as elite factories compared to “Bangla factories” outside.

Most of them are suppliers for renowned global brands. They have posh offices, nice lounges to host buyers from reputed brands in almost five star comfort. They have traces of enchanting greenery around, well cared for by arboriculture specialists, maybe a fountain flowing to create all the thrill of being so close to nature and enviably green.

As a valued visitor, one comes across the smartly dressed receptionist waiting to greet warmly. Visits from buyers are always given the highest priority -- they would find everything immaculately in order.

As they are taken round, all workers are deeply engrossed in their workstations with tidy uniform, head scarf and mask on. You can hear only the sound of machines with all aisles clear.

But the real inside story may be little different. You may find that some hundreds of extra workers -- who would otherwise give a feeling of congested workplace -- have been removed or sent home that very morning, stocks of finished products or waste items taking up floor space instead.

All this, because we must create an impression that we abide by the criteria of compliance and follow a zero-tolerance policy. Don’t get surprised if you find that a good percentage of the workers’ washrooms do not have a functioning toilet flush.

The poor maintenance guy had been sending out mail after mail. But who cares? How can you really spend so much for an unproductive purpose? Twice a day workers are confronted with “no water in the washrooms.”

A huge floor is functioning without AC in the sweltering heat, thus making life unbearable for workers. The floor manager and HR people are constantly going around convincing the ill-fated workers that they too are sharing the same hardship and that it would be over soon.

Even if temporary, why must the workers be put through such suffering? Such things happen only because of a lack of focus, transparency, and communication.

Such dire necessities are totally ignored because our workers are very docile and helpless, with no choice but to endure whatever comes their way.

The big boss is coming to visit from his abode in a mega city abroad today as he does once a month. The production, quality, merchandising, IE, HR heads are kept waiting for an uncertain period without knowing when and if at all they will be called.

The big boss is ushered into a posh hall room, sits with his favourite croissant and mug of black coffee in front. Recently there has been cancellation of some orders following a visit from some buyer representatives. They noticed some excess workers on the floor while some were trying to run away as the visit was in progress.

Nobody dares to utter a single word, all stand like mummified slaves. Yes, highly paid corporate slaves they are, some of them even earning to the tune of $20,000 a month.

There have also been renovations on a major sewing floor from a dilapidated shed to a newly constructed multi-storey factory floor. But it was done very hurriedly.

This represents a total lack of coordination and communication, where no deadline was fixed and no effective supervision done. Even the building could not be handed over by the construction agency. Toilets are not done yet, roofs are leaking, dining facilities are not yet ready.

Worst of all, the alternative power source is yet to be installed. Such was the hurry. The unfortunate workers need to take a long walk of 10 minutes to go for lunch or to use the toilet. If it rains, they are at the mercy of the weather and will get drenched.

This is what happens when there is a lack of transparency at the decision-making level, as well as when there is poor communication between the floor workers, floor-level managers, and the decision-makers.

Stakeholders are kept in the dark regarding such major works, which affects everybody.  They are not consulted and given a role to play in vital issues involving their working environment.

We may talk a lot about artificial intelligence, blockchain, the fourth Industrial Revolution and so on, but unless we give adequate attention to such basic but vital issues, sustainability in RMG will remain a far cry.

Brig Gen Qazi Abidus Samad (Retd) worked in some prestigious RMG establishments. 

BBA Discussion Forum / DSE turnover crosses Tk1,000cr mark
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:00:54 PM »

The turnover stood at Tk1,021 crore, climbing by 4.6% over previous day’s transaction of Tk976 crore

The turnover of Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) on Tuesday crossed Tk1,000 crore mark for the first time in 13 months as investors keep pumping fresh liquidity in the market.

The turnover stood at Tk1,021 crore, climbing by 4.6% over previous day’s transaction of Tk976 crore. It happened to be the biggest single-day transaction in the last 13 months since January 30 last year, when the turnover totalled a record Tk1,024 crore.

However, the key index of DSE declined 27.73 points or 0.58% on the day to end at 4740 points caused mainly by profit booking after five days’ index rally.

Meanwhile, the market capitalization of DSE rose to Tk356,160 crore on Tuesday, as the stocks’ value surged by Tk20,415 crore in last seven days.

DSE Shariah based index DSES declined 0.22% to end at 1,081.3 points, while blue-chip index, DS30 went down by 0.51% to close at 1,590.9 points.

Among the traded issues 132 gained, 188 declined and 35 remained unchanged during the session in Dhaka bourse.

Summit Power secured the leadership position on the top turnover chart with a turnover of Tk42.2 crore with its share price closing at Tk44.1 per share. ICB AMCL Sonali Bank 1st Mutual Fund secured the highest gain of 10% during the session. Shyampur Sugar Mills turned out to be the worst loser with its price declining by 7.7%.

BBA Discussion Forum / High hope comes crashing down
« on: February 20, 2020, 11:00:11 PM »
FDI inflows fall by 15.57% in 2019

The hope was high, almost touching the sky, when in 2019 Bangladesh moved eight notches up on the ease of doing business index.

Everybody expected that foreign direct investment (FDI), especially those shifting from China, would pour in because of the congenial atmosphere here. 

The rising FDI trend, an 19.47% rise to $1.7 billion, in the first half of the year also tallied well with the high hope. 

But, to utter dismay, the situation was just the reverse at the end of year, with the country witnessing a slump in receiving FDI despite improved infrastructure and apparent political calm.

According to Bangladesh Bank (BB) provisional data, Bangladesh last year received $3.05 billion in FDIs, down by $562 million or 15.57% comparing to $3.61 billion in 2018, when the growth was 68%.

Why this fall

Economists, government officials as well as businesspeople blame this decline on slower global economic recovery, policy deficiency and readiness to welcome foreign investors here.   

“FDI inflows can be up or down as it depends on investors and the global economic status.  Rise also depends on the big blow of investment in a certain sector,” Sirajul Islam, executive chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), told Dhaka Tribune. 

Sharp rise in FDI in 2018 was a sudden rise because of a big investment by a Japanese company and Chinese investment in Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), which was not a regular phenomenon, Sirajul noted.

In 2018, Japan Tobacco invested $1.47 billion to buy United Dhaka Tobacco, a venture of Akij Group, while two Chinese stock exchanges invested Tk947 crore buying 25% of DSE share.   

Businesspeople also blame slower economic recovery and deficiency in policy and infrastructure. 

“The amount of FDI is small considering the size of our economy and the GDP. As per the seventh five-year plan of the government, FDI is supposed to be 3% of GDP and it should be about $9 billion. But we are far behind that,” former DCCI president Abul Kasem Khan told Dhaka Tribune.   

For this, he blames slower growth in the last quarter of the year caused by the slower recovery of global economy.

Kasem also finds policy faulty, which imposes higher taxes putting pressures on businesspeople in keeping the doing business cost reasonable. 

As regards infrastructure, he thinks Bangladesh failed to reap benefits of investment relocation from China because of inadequate infrastructure.

Lack of readiness to attract foreign investment is another reason. 

“To take the inflow of FDI to a sustained level, Bangladesh needs to reach a certain level readiness in terms of infrastructure and business climate,” former World Bank lead economist in Dhaka office Zahid Hussain told Dhaka Tribune.

"We are now failing to meet the target. If there was diversified industrial base in the country, it could be met," he added. 

Policy unpredictability a barrier

In the recent time, there was tussle between the government and the telecommunication companies, which give a bad signal to potential investors.

“Regulatory predictability is a key indicator for attracting investment. The recent dispute over the audit claim with telephone companies gave the global investors a bad impression," Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Distinguished Fellow Mustafizur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune.

How to achieve target 

Bangladesh needs to gear up its domestic investment to give a message to the global investors that business is happening here in suitable climate, experts say. 

“To lure foreign investors, the government has first to make the special economic zones (SEZs) ready," said Rahman.

If the government could complete the projects within the deadline, FDI inflow would increase as targeted, observed Rahman.

"There is progress in hard infrastructure, though not enough. To make the business process quicker, the government has to concentrate on soft infrastructure such as efficiency of port and other services to ensure smother delivery," said the economist.

The government has taken initiatives to establish 100 special economic zones (SEZs) by 2030.

BBA Discussion Forum / A quantum leap for business?
« on: February 20, 2020, 10:59:01 PM »
Google reported a remarkable breakthrough towards the end of 2019. The company claimed to have achieved something called quantum supremacy, using a new type of “quantum” computer to perform a benchmark test in 200 seconds.

This was in stark contrast to the 10,000 years that would supposedly have been needed by a state-of-the-art conventional supercomputer to complete the same test.

Despite IBM’s claim that its supercomputer, with a little optimization, could solve the task in a matter of days, Google’s announcement made it clear that we are entering a new era of incredible computational power.

Yet with much less fanfare, there has also been rapid progress in the development of quantum communication networks, and a master network to unite them all called the quantum internet. Just as the internet as we know it followed the development of computers, we can expect the quantum computer to be accompanied by the safer, better synchronized quantum internet.

Like quantum computing, quantum communication records information in what are known as qubits, similar to the way digital systems use bits and bytes. Whereas a bit can only take the value of zero or one, a qubit can also use the principles of quantum physics to take the value of zero and one at the same time.

This is what allows quantum computers to perform certain computations very quickly. Instead of solving several variants of a problem one by one, the quantum computer can handle them all at the same time.

These qubits are central to the quantum internet because of a property called entanglement. If two entangled qubits are geographically separated (for instance, one qubit in Dublin and the other in New York), measurements of both would yield the same result.

This would enable the ultimate in secret communications, a shared knowledge between two parties that cannot be discovered by a third. The resulting ability to code and decode messages would be one of the most powerful features of the quantum internet.

Commercial applications

There will be no shortage of commercial applications for these advanced cryptographic mechanisms. The world of finance, in particular, looks set to benefit as the quantum internet will lead to enhanced privacy for online transactions and stronger proof of the funds used in the transaction.

Recently, at the CONNECT Centre in Trinity College Dublin, we successfully implemented an algorithm that could achieve this level of security.

That this took place during a hackathon -- a sort of competition for computer programmers -- shows that even enthusiasts without detailed knowledge of quantum physics can create some of the building blocks that will be needed for the quantum internet.

This technology won’t be confined to specialist university departments, just as the original internet soon outgrew its origins as a way to connect academics around the world.

But how could this quantum internet be built anytime soon when we currently can only build very limited quantum computers?

Well, the devices in the quantum internet don’t have to be completely quantum in nature, and the network won’t require massive quantum machines to handle the communication protocols.

One qubit here and there is all a quantum communication network needs to function. Instead of replacing the current infrastructure of optical fibres, data centres, and base stations, the quantum internet will build on top of and make maximum use of the existing, classical internet.

With such rapid progress being made, quantum internet technology is set to shape the business plans of telecom companies in the near future.

Financial institutions are already using quantum communication networks to make inter-bank transactions safer. And quantum communication satellites are up and running as the first step to extending these networks to a global scale.

The pipes of the quantum internet are effectively being laid as you read this. When a big quantum computer is finally built, it can be plugged into this network and accessed on the cloud, with all the privacy guarantees of quantum cryptography.

What will the ordinary user notice when the enhanced cryptography of the quantum internet becomes available? Very little, in all likelihood.

Cryptography is like waste management: If everything works well, the customer doesn’t even notice.

In the constant race of the codemakers and codebreakers, the quantum internet won’t just prevent the codebreakers taking the lead. It will move the race track into another world altogether, with a significant head start for the codemakers.

With data becoming the currency of our times, the quantum internet will provide stronger security for a new valuable commodity.

Harun Siljak is a post-doctoral research fellow in Complex Systems Science for Telecommunications, Trinity College Dublin. This article previously appeared on The Conversation UK and has been reprinted under special arrangement.

BBA Discussion Forum / 12 banks face Tk10,797cr provision shortfall
« on: February 20, 2020, 10:57:31 PM »

A dozen banks faced a combined provision shortfall of Tk10,797.87 crore in the fourth quarter of 2019, exposing their faltering financial health.

The banks are Sonali Bank, Agrani Bank, Rupali Bank, BASIC Bank, AB Bank, Bangladesh Commerce Bank, Dhaka Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, National Bank, Standard Bank, Social Islami Bank and Trust Bank.

Experts said that some of the banks faced provision shortfall because they lent beyond limits set in banking regulations.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank Salehuddin Ahmed said, “Provision shortfall is a bad sign for a bank, which indicates its weakness caused by fall in depositors’ funds.”

The capital base of those banks would erode significantly as they must keep provisioning as per the central bank rules, he added.

As per central bank regulations, banks have to keep 0.50% to 5% provision with Bangladesh Bank against defaulted loans of general category, 20% against classified loans of sub-standard category, 50% against classified loans of doubtful category, and 100% against classified loans of bad or loss category.

The high amount of non-performing loans in the banking sector is largely responsible for the huge provision shortfall, say bankers.

At the end of December last year, the amount of total non-performing loans in the banking sector stood at Tk94,331 crore, up by Tk420 crore from a year earlier, according to the central bank data.

According to the central bank data, the Agrani Bank’s shortfall stood at Tk1442.95crore, BASIC Bank's at Tk3334.12 crore, Rupali Bank's at Tk878.34 crore and Sonali Bank's at Tk2156.51 crore during the period.

The provision shortfall of AB Bank stood at Tk637.33 crore, Bangladesh Commerce Bank's at Tk538.03 crore, Mutual Trust Bank's at Tk275.24 crore, Dhaka Bank's at Tk425.93 crore, National Bank's at Tk487.32 crore, Social Islami Bank's at Tk296 crore, Standard Bank's at Tk161.91 crore and Trust Bank's provisioning deficit stood at Tk164.19 crore.

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