IMF says Bangladesh loan program on track

Updated 07 December 2012
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IMF says Bangladesh loan program on track

WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund said Bangladesh was making progress with reforms under an IMF loan program and may be eligible for the second aid payment.
An IMF mission to Dhaka met with senior Bangladeshi officials in the first review of the country's performance under a $987 million Extended Credit Facility granted in April.
Bangladesh's performance under the loan program so far has been generally sound, said IMF mission leader David Cowen.
"Quantitative targets are broadly on track, with all performance criteria met at end-June 2012 — the first test date under the ECF," he said in a statement.
Under the three-year loan deal, Bangladesh has pledged wide-reaching structural reforms to get its economy back on track and ease long-term poverty.
Bangladesh received some $141 million in an initial disbursement in April.
Cowen noted progress on structural measures as well as commitments by the government on several measures, including containing the budget deficit to 4.5 percent of gross domestic product in fiscal 2013.
The government also pledged to boost efforts to curb subsidy costs, particularly through a fuel price adjustment formula, and to take steps to lessen the negative impact on the most vulnerable.
The IMF Executive Board is expected to complete its review in January, which would make the second disbursement of some $141 million available to Bangladesh.
The government sought the IMF aid after rising global oil prices delivered a double whammy, spurring inflation and taking scarce foreign currency out of the country.
Under the IMF agreement, the government must hike prices of oil, power and fertilizer to bolster the country's shaky balance of payments. But poor farmers have relied on deep subsidies for decades.
"Despite global headwinds, Bangladesh's economy performed well in FY12, with preliminary estimates pegging growth at 6.3 percent," Cowen said.
The IMF projects GDP growth of about 6 percent in the current fiscal year, citing external uncertainties and the broader global slowdown.


Visa says over 5 million payments affected by June outage

Updated 19 June 2018
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Visa says over 5 million payments affected by June outage

LONDON: Payment systems giant Visa said Tuesday that a massive technical glitch earlier this month had affected 5.2 million card transactions, almost half of which were in Britain.
Visa, revealing the details in a letter to a British parliamentary committee that is probing the matter, said the “rare” disruption prevented many cardholders form making payments in Europe for 10 hours on Friday June 1.
And the company apologized “unreservedly” for the failure and outlined plans for a compensation scheme.
“Overall, for cards issued both in the UK and elsewhere ... 51.2 million Visa transactions were initiated and sent to Visa’s European systems for processing,” wrote Visa Europe chief executive Charlotte Hogg.
“Of these, 5.2 million failed to process correctly,” she added in the letter to Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan.
The outage was caused by a “very rare partial failure” of a switch in one of Visa’s data centers, Hogg added. It has since been fixed.
Visa said there were 27.6 million transactions made in the UK during the disruption, of which 2.4 million failed to process properly.
“At its peak, the disruption affected people in the midst of returning home from work, socializing in restaurants and pubs, and doing end-of-day shopping,” Hogg said in the letter published Tuesday.
“We take seriously our important role in supporting financial stability in the UK.
“A disruption to our processing that impacts consumers at any time is unacceptable, let alone during a busy Friday afternoon,” she added.
“We apologize again unreservedly to everyone who was affected by the incident,” Hogg said.
“Visa, together with our financial institution partners, has quickly implemented a compensation program for cardholders.”