Nov 3, 2016
Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves hit a record $31.90 billion at the end of October, up by $520 million from the previous month, according to Bangladesh Bank. The reserves were sufficient to cover about nine months’ worth of imports, and are $4.32 billion higher than a year ago. Steady garment exports and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas, the key drivers of the country’s more than $200 billion economy, have helped build the record reserves in recent years. Moreover, all major economic indicators showed a sound growth this financial year in comparison with the previous.
According to the latest survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the chronic epidemic of poverty that had spawned for decades has been slashed down by a remarkable 8.3% in the space of last 6 years. Experts attributed this accomplishment to the earmarking of a strong social safety net policy and its implementation by the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Amazed by this decline, recently the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who was recently in Bangladesh to attend events on the 'International Day for the Eradication of Poverty', urged other countries to emulate the path set out by this country.
In an exciting finish to the test series, Bangladesh beat England (for the first time in tests) by 108 runs inside three days, drawing the series 1-1. Over the last one month, the cricket world soaked in frenzy as the British lions and Bangladeshi tigers played a three match one day series, which England won 2-1, followed the two test series. The successful completion of the test put to rest concerns over security in Bangladesh. In fact, according to Reg Dickason, the Director of Security Management for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), commented that the government of Bangladesh delivered a 'gold standard of security' during the tour of England.
With more than one fourth work has already been accomplished, the dream for the largest and the longest infrastructure undertaking in Bangladesh–Padma Multipurpose bridge-- has started to appear as a distinct reality now. Completely a self-funded project worth $3.65 billion, the bridge site is filled with labourers, workers and engineers who are toiling hard day and night to get it open for traffic by 2018. Capable of standing against floods and earthquakes, this mega project means a symbol of hope, height, pride and change of fate for around 30 million southern lives.
HPM Sheikh Hasina has reopened the re-excavated Mongla-Ghoshiakhali river channel, a key international route with India that remained closed since 1975. The dredging of the 31-km channel began on July 1, 2014 with an aim to protect the Sundarbans and save time and fuel of vessels. The Bangladesh Premier also inaugurated a 50,000-mt capacity silo at Joymonirghol to strengthen the regional food security at the South Western region of the country alongside reducing misuse through unloading food grains automatically from marine vessels at Mongla Port.
The first field trial of the Golden Rice in Bangladesh has yielded promising results, triggering prospect of the vitamin A-rich grain's release as early as 2018. Two months after harvesting the Bangladeshi version of Golden Rice line, GR2E BRRI dhan29, scientists found that rice grains retained 10 μg/g (micrograms/gram) beta carotene which is good enough to address vitamin-A deficiency (VAD). With this development, a long wait is nearly over for rice breeders who have been trying since 1999 for a varietal development and release of Golden Rice, long being touted by the scientist fraternity as a key remedy for acute VAD problem.
The Asian Development Bank has unveiled a new country strategy for Bangladesh for the next five years in order to help the country diversify its economy and accelerate rural and balanced regional development. It would adopt a broad-based approach for the Country Partnership Strategy period spanning 2016-20 such that it can respond flexibly to Bangladesh's needs and demands. Under the new partnership strategy, the ADB will provide $8 billion to Bangladesh, up 60 percent from the previous five-year programme.
Works are well underway to light up the future of residents of 95 Upazilas by next year around the country. This move coincides with the inauguration of 100-percent electricity coverage in the country's six upazilas on August 13 by the Bangladesh Premier. Over the last seven years, the country has seen an unprecedented scale of revolution in power sector, with the number of power stations crossing over 100, the power generation capacity getting doubled and 76% people gaining access to electricity.
Plans have been laid out to introduce feed-in-tariff shortly to boost production of electricity from renewable sources in a bid to ensure energy security and cut carbon emission. To this goal, the government is pushing for prepaid meters and has prepared an action plan for introducing energy auditing for all industries. According to government estimates, target has been set to generate 20,000 MW of electricity by 2020 and 40,000MW by 2030 as part of the government’s vision to bring all citizens under electricity coverage.
HPM Sheikh Hasina has launched a nationwide coverage of Bangladesh’s first toll-free ‘Child Help line 1098’ to provide a free telephone service to children who are facing violence, abuse and exploitation. The Helpline operates a 24-hour telephone line and provides emergency support to children at risk, as well as to concerned citizens who need to raise the alarm about certain children. The service also links children with existing social protection services through rescue, safe shelter, referral and networking.
An estimated 5.3 million disadvantaged people have been brought under the government programmes for allowances for elderly, destitute, insolvent, disabled and other section of people across the country. According to the Ministry of Social Welfare, a total of 3.1.million people aged 65 years and above are receiving old-age allowance of Taka 500 each, 1.1 million distressed women are getting allowances of Taka 500 each across the country and 7,00,000 insolvent disabled people are also receiving allowances at Taka 600 each.
Residents of recently dissolved enclaves took part in the elections to 22 Union Parishads (UP) under former enclaves in Lalmonirhat, Kurigram and Panchagarh, showing great enthusiasm as first-time voters in their lifetime. The voters enjoyed their first such experience with no incidents of vote rigging, stuffing of ballot boxes, polling station occupying or other irregularities. Ever since the inhabitants become Bangladesh citizens, their decade old aspirations to secure basic rights have been addressed by the HPM Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League Government.
In a recent interview with a leading English Daily, Dhyana van der Pols, a garment buying consultant from the Netherlands, laid out hopes that the future of Bangladesh's garment sector is bright, given that the number of factories has gone up over the years and almost all of them are accredited and audited now. According to the expert, the transformation has been a miracle while retailers are also shifting orders to Bangladesh from China, which has lost its comparative advantage due to higher costs of production and shortage of skilled workforce.
American investment in Bangladesh is on the rise thanks to the growing investment opportunities in infrastructure and the fast expanding middle-class, said US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat. The net influx of US investment into Bangladesh over the most recent fiscal year stood at $450 million. According to the envoy, Bangladesh offers one of the world's fast growing economies, sustained impressive economic performance over decades, opportunities to enhance infrastructure and a burgeoning middle-class.
A total of 305 investment proposals involving a total of Tk 50,251.0692 crore have been registered with the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) during July-September period this year. The amount is up by Tk 10,017 crore compared to April-June period's Tk 40,233.94 crore this year. The highest (68.63%) investment proposal drew in engineering sector, followed by chemical sector (10%), textile sector (5.74%), print and publication sector (3.13%) and other sector (12.5%).
An agreement has been forged between Bangladesh and India to enhance exchanging information for disaster management. Pledges have been made that the two countries would extend cooperation in exchanging data of disasters like earthquake, cyclone, flood etc. The agreement was reached when Indian High Commissioner Harshavardhana Sringala called on Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya at Bangladesh Secretariat office in the city.
To give the shipping sector a boost, the governments of Dhaka and Colombo have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) soon on using various facilities at ports on reciprocal basis. The decision came at the first ever secretary-level meeting between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, held this week. Once the deal is signed, Bangladesh would get tariff concession and berthing facilities at Sri Lankan port when shipping time toward different destinations would also be shorter via Colombo Port, creating scope of more employment in the shipping sector.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives