As another financial year comes to an end, it gives me great pleasure to address and welcome all of you, our valued shareholders, on behalf of the members of the Board of Directors, to the 40th Annual General Meeting of your Bank — IFIC Bank Limited and to present to you the audited Financial Statements and Annual Report for the financial year 2016. At the very outset, I would like to express my profound gratitude and sincere thanks for your continued belief, passion, support and patronage extended to the Bank towards making IFIC as a foremost brand in our country.
The Directors’ Report on Financial Statements & Internal Control, the Financial Statements for the year ended on 31 December 2016 together with the Auditors Report thereon are already in your hands. The Annual Report sent to you gives a detailed overview of your Bank’s performance during the year 2016 which has been presented through various quantitative and qualitative parameters.
As per the publication of Asian Development Bank, Bangladesh reached lower-middle-income status in July 2015, on the strength of an annual economic growth rate of 6% and above. Growth was fueled mainly by a rise in readymade garment exports, overseas workers' remittances, and domestic consumption. In the past 2 decades, growth was steady and inclusive, creating jobs for low-skilled workers and women. A large increase in food production together with a sharp decline in population growth led to higher food availability per capita.
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has shown that the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.6 percentage points, to 7.1 per cent in FY2016, from the 6.5 per cent in FY2015. Hence, the final estimate exceeded target (7.0 per cent) set for the fiscal year for the first time in recent decade. Interestingly, as distinct from the agriculture sector (2.8 per cent), both industrial (11.1 per cent) and services (6.3 per cent) sectors registered higher growth rates in FY2016 compared to that of FY2015. Among the sub-sectors manufacturing sector registered the highest growth (11.7 per cent) since FY1996
In FY2016, Bangladesh’s overall balance of payments position was comfortable, accumulating an overall surplus of USD 5,036 million. The surplus increased by 15.2 per cent when compared to the previous fiscal year, in part due to the tapering trade deficit.
Bangladesh Bank has taken various initiatives aimed at ingraining a socially responsible financing ethos and mainstreaming financial inclusion initiatives. A strategic focus has been placed on nudging finance toward fostering social cohesion by devising policies to create a stronger base of the pyramid. Furthermore, given population density and vulnerabilities to weather shocks and climate change, environmental sustainability is a central part of the national growth strategy. Green initiatives can also offer new growth opportunities, which are less subject to the vested interests of the existing sectors.
In line with government's SDG priorities of an inclusive, environmentally sustainable growth, Bangladesh Bank is for quite some years now promoting inclusive, green financing (targeting SME, agriculture and green initiatives), fostering financial sector wide a socially responsible financing ethos. Bangladesh Bank has now taken up a consultative initiative of formulating Guidance Notes on the do's and don'ts of socially responsible financing to better foster social cohesion, with output initiatives that promote entrepreneurship, create more and better jobs, and protect environment.
Last year, as an outcome of inclusive banking, by pursuing excellence in customer care through customer relevance, by innovating consistently to deliver technology driven solutions to the banking industry and through continuous product innovations, we have carved a veritable niche for ourselves in the eyes of our customers. And it is thus that your point of view remains our point of consideration.
The Bank also has a pleasant involvement and proactive participation in benevolent activities like donations to different charitable organizations, to poor people, city beautification and patronizing art & culture, etc. As a trend-setter, the Bank is gradually organizing its involvements in more structured CSR initiative, in line with the Guidance of Bangladesh Bank.
Our Management Team, like previous year, in 2016 also, maintained their winning streak, receiving national and international accolades for transparency, good governance, sustainability, people practices, brand management, CSR and IT applications.
We intend to grow our business in a sustainable manner by enhancing the quality and efficiency, discover the new market as well as product and focusing on customer service.
We are confident that the Management Team possesses the right competencies to capitalize on these opportunities and maintain a higher growth trajectory for the Bank. As such, your Bank would concentrate on sharpening its competitive edge by improving its business strategies and by protecting its credibility through fulfilling the promises.
For the effective governance of the business of the Bank, the Board of Directors strikes a balance at a high standard of effectiveness between driving the business forward and controlling it prudently.
The Board of your Bank also continued to set the right tone from the top for the Bank and tracking progress against potential key risks and reputational issues. I am pleased to report that your Board continues to function well and is very clear and focused on its priorities. A strong governance framework is developed to support the long-term sustainable growth of the Bank.
On behalf of the Board, I wish to place on record our sincere appreciation to the Government, Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Securities & Exchange Commission and other regulatory authorities, various financial institutions, banks and correspondents at home and abroad for the manner in which they have supported and guided.
My sincere appreciations is also to the Managing Director & CEO, the Management Team and the IFIC Bank Team for making 2016 yet another year of commendable performance and for their continuing dedication to achieving the Bank’s objectives despite the veritable challenges.
We exist to serve our customers with the highest levels of convenience, transparency and respect. We sincerely appreciate the trust they have placed in us and look forward to maintaining a long term relationship with them.
A special word of thanks to our shareholders again who have been an integral part of the Company’s journey.
Finally, I wish to place on record my appreciation to my fellow Directors for their unstinted support, guidance and insight which has helped steer the organization towards the many successes it has achieved to date.
We look to the next financial year with confidence and resolute dedication. Let there be good days ahead for all of us. May the Almighty Allah bestow His choicest blessings on all of us.
Salman F Rahman