Ride-sharing has become a popular and quintessential phenomenon in most of the city-dwellers everyday life. The impact of bike ride-share is evident in 50% hike in bike sale in 2017. The immense acceptance of ride-sharing mainly ascribes to its door-to-door pick up and drop off service, ease of finding a vehicle in emergency hours and no “decline culture”, that the city dwellers are habituated to while finding rides in the era of three-stroke wheelers. From another aspect, rise in purchasing power of middle class bracket of the society, made rooms for the ride-sharing space to flourish. And this phenomenon is now not only restricted within the bounds of The mega city of Dhaka; this is spreading at a rapid pace in other parts of the country as well. The fact that ride-sharing created employment opportunities for more than 40,000 people, asserts the promise of this sector in economic prosperity. Although, the latest announcement of 5% VAT on ride-sharing will make the service tad costlier, the higher authorities should move cautiously and evaluate how the imposition of new regulations would create an impact on the millions of commuters and the local ride-sharing startups.
Starting with few instances of how brands create superior customer experience in the most engaging technique: eBay, a renowned e-commerce platform recently introduced a feature that helps sellers find the right sized box for the products they are shipping. The “Share a Coke” campaign of Coca Cola, which is deemed as one of the best campaign designed by Coke, demonstrated how a brand can engage its customers by changing the logo with their names. The campaign earned around 1.83 million media impressions, Facebook website saw a traffic increased by 870% while the Facebook page grew by 39% in terms of fans.
The world has gone digital in almost every facet - be it fetching food from a 5 km distant restaurant to our desk by ordering online, calling out from transportation sitting at the cozy chair or seeking for a domestic help over online. The digital age enabled brands to intertwine with customers’ lifecycle and create superior brand experience. In Bangladesh, this is the “uber moment” for digital marketing as all the stakeholders are working collectively to achieve a common goal. A handful number of innovative, fresh entrants are making the digital space more interactive, whereas the legacy agencies are thriving with their own digital wings. On the other hand, the CMOs are looking into the bright picture in the digital space and coming up with highly personalized and result-driven digital campaigns in an endeavor of taking the brand towards customer’s heart.
On March 16, 2018, Bangladesh got the first recommendation for graduating to a developing country by Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a United Nations Panel. The declaration is worth taking pride in for Bangladeshis of every sphere. The country has been showing consistently brilliant performance in all the three indices (Gross National Income, Human Assets Index and Economic Vulnerability Index) and become a serious name of development in international dialogues. Bangladesh outstripped the LDC average Gross National Income (a strong parameter of economic success) in 1996 and has been rising since then. The country leaves some good lessons for the rest of the world on significantly reducing under-five mortality rate (to 16% from a 54% in 1990), which is one of the parameters of Human Assets Index.
On the flipside, lifting of international support measures that Bangladesh is entitled to as an LDC, would have some impact on the economy. The most marked impact would be lifting of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) schemes of Europe and Canada. Having an RMG-focused export basket where 64% of the export goes to 27 EU countries under GSP, the probability of lifting of these benefits arises some concerns. However, countries like Cabo Verde, Samoa, Maldives who still enjoys the LDC benefits despite not being LDCs, give us assurance of the developing status not being heavy on the economy. Most importantly, we need to maintain the current momentum of development and opt for the next level in a bid to formally graduate with flying colors in 2027.
The Central Bank announced the Monetary Policy Statement for the second half of FY 2017-18 on January 29, 2018 in the wake of the banking sector’s acute inquisitiveness regarding new directives for lending. As the industry experts and economists labeled the MPS aptly as “Cautionary”, it sets a lukewarm tone for private sector lending. The private sector credit growth target set for H2, FY 18 is 16.8% which is modestly higher than that of last half (16.2%) and considerably lesser than the growth achieved in December’17 (18.13%). In another bid to tighten credit supply and enable banks to continue lending appropriate sectors, the Central Bank curtailed the Advance-Deposit Ratio (ADR) of conventional banks to 83.5% from 85% (89% IDR for Shariah based Islamic banks from 90%), in a separate circular. The new directive asserts that banks must show steady growth in deposit mobilization alongside lending, unlike the scenario till date. On another note, the effort of the Central Bank to curb excessive lending may have a bright impact on the mounting NPL trend. It is the time to discern how the banks maneuver the perfect deposit-lending portfolio mix aligning with the directions by Central Bank and still maintain the thriving growth of their profitability.
Like many other Asian countries, Bangladesh’s staple food is rice. There goes a universal saying for the Asian countries - undesirable fluctuation in rice price can make or break the agriculture/economic texture of the country. In 2017, Bangladesh, which is the world’s largest 4th rice producer, was hit by flash floods and waning stocks, resulting into soaring rice price. Retail prices of the coarse and medium quality rice, consumed by the majority of the population, ranged from BDT 44 to BDT 56 a kg from below BDT 40 range a year ago. In this context, it becomes tough for the commoners to afford such expensive daily intake. Simultaneously, import is also on rise, keeping in line with the deficiency in stock. Going forward, it will be a challenge for the country to meet its internal consumption demand of rice with smooth local production and intermittent on demand import amid fluctuating foreign exchange market and threat of natural calamity because of climate change.