Dec 01, 2016
This week, Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina flew to Budapest on a four day official visit to offer her speech as regards to provide solutions to the setbacks facing the world in ensuring sustainable use of water. Placing a seven point agenda with global leaders with a call for creating a Global Fund on water, the Bangladesh Premier stressed the need for addressing issues like protection and utilisation of water resources comprehensively. The premier was given a static guard of honour at the airport by the Hungarian armed forces. During her stay, Bangladesh-Hungarian Business and Economic Forum were inaugurated while a civic reception was organised in her honour by All European Awami League at Four Seasons Hotel here on.
Bangladesh and Hungary identified five areas of cooperation to revive their historic relations and boost up economic ties in future as Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Hungarian counterpart Victor Orban held official talks as part of the former’s visit. In the first-ever official talks, both leaders hinted opening diplomatic missions or consulate by 2018 which had been closed after brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975.Moreover, a total of three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) have been signed to expedite cooperation in the areas of agriculture, water management as well as trade and investment.
HPM Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock at the death of Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro, saying that the great Cuban leader will be remembered by the people of the country with love and reverence. In a condolence message sent to Cuban President, the Bangladesh Premier stated that the people of her country remembered the great friendship between Castro and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and an emotional remark as made by the former upon Bangabandhu. Castro was awarded "Bangladesh Liberation War Honour" in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the War of Liberation.
Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban said his country is eager to boost up economic and political relation with Bangladesh as the world sees unexploited economic and trade potentials of this dynamically growing country. Addressing the closing ceremony of Bangladesh- Hungary Business Forum, he said this proves very well that smarter and bigger states of the world can see unexploited economic and trade potential in Bangladesh. On the occasion, a MoU was signed on cooperation between Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) and Hungarian Chamber of Commerce (HCC), the apex trade bodies of the two countries.
Bangladesh stands eighth among the Asian countries in terms of women’s parliamentary representation with women occupying 20% of the seats in the national parliament, according to the Millennium Development Goals Report (MDG Report 2015) of the UN. The index placed Bangladesh several steps ahead of several Asian countries including the likes of India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. This success stands out as a testament to the government’s vision to ensure equality of opportunity for women in every sphere of workplace.
Growth and Development
Bangladesh Railway (BR) signed an agreement with a Chinese firm for the development of Pahartali workshop. The development project will be implemented by June 2017 with Japanese credit assistance worth over $14 million. While a plethora of projects are rolled out to bring in the entire country under the railway network, work is progressing fast for Padma Bridge railway connection, Chittagong-Cox's Bazar-Dohazari new railway lines, parallel bridge at Jamuna Bridge and Khulna-Mongla new railway lines.
The direct steamer service on Dhaka-Khulna-Dhaka route resumed this week after five years, putting an end to the ordeal of the passengers who were awaiting recommencement of the famous, safe and comfortable ferry service on this important route. Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) resumed the direct service on Dhaka-Khulna-Dhaka route, with re-launching the journey of a steamer from Dhaka towards Khulna. Moreover, BIWTC is running four rocket services on Dhaka-Morolganj route besides operating ferry services across the country and running some water services on different routes.
India has given approval to five more projects proposed by Bangladesh in key sectors, including railway, road infrastructure and power, to be implemented under its $ 2 billion Line of Credit (LoC), raising the total number of approved projects to nine. Of the projects, construction of double line track in Khulna-Darshana-Junction section of Bangladesh project with an estimated cost of $ 396 million, conversion of meter gauge line to dual gauge line in Patbatipur-Kaunia section are among others.
Tourism experts have lend high optimism that Cox's Bazar is going to be another success story of Asia like other beach destinations including Phuket, Pattaya, Langkawi with all its vast natural and pristine resources as Asia is the new frontier in tourism industry. PATA chairman, Andrew Jones, said that Cox's Bazar has the longest beach and unique life of the ethnic minority groups in the neighbouring hills. According to Xu Jing, Cox's Bazar has distinguished features like distinct and almost untouched nature and other culture related heritage, history which will clear the way for making another success story for Bangladesh.
Social Justice and Equity
The government is providing treatment, food and other humanitarian support to the Rohingyas who have crossed border into Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar poured into Bangladesh this week in a bid to flee after escalation of violence that has killed at least 90 people and displaced about 35,000 others. On the other hand, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood met diplomats, Heads of Missions and UN officials to apprise them on the evolving situation in Myanmar, urging them to mount pressure on the Myanmar government to bring in a halt to such atrocities.
A process has been rolled out by the government aiming to create provident fund for the RMG workers. Under this programme, each worker will deposit $3 each month at the post office and the government will deposit another $3 for every worker. The tenure of the provident fund will be 20 years he said and added that 0.1 million RMG workers will get the facility. As per the labour law, the owners will have to deposit .03% of their profit to the fund under the Ministry of Labour. Already, $2.1 million has been deposited in the fund with the assistance of the garment factory stakeholders.
International and Regional Cooperation
During his official visit to Bangladesh, Tanja Strnisa , Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Forest and Food of Slovenia expressed her country's deep interest to import ready-made garments, vegetables and fruits from Bangladesh. The call was made when the envoy called on State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam at the latter's office here. During the meeting, they discussed different issues when they expressed eagerness to further enhance bilateral ties and economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Chinese government has expressed its interest for the development of the blue economy of Bangladesh. The Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ma Mingqiang, disclosed his government desire while addressing a discussion on “Reimagining Bangladesh China Relations” held in the capital. On the other hand, several economic giants including the likes of India have also echoed the same view while work for extensive research to explore the potential of the thriving sector have already been initiated.
Digital Bangladesh
Bangladesh has made a significant stride towards a digital economy as around 69 % of government payments, or about $45 billion, are now being transacted through digital channels, according to a study by a United Nations organisation Better Than Cash Alliances (BTCA). The report, authored by pi Strategy Consulting, comes soon after a McKinsey Global Institute study found that digital finance was particularly important for a country like Bangladesh. In consideration of current progress that 39% of government transection have already gone digital, it has been projected that all government transactions can be paperless in the next two years.
The telecom regulator is set to issue a pricing guideline for operators, especially mobile carriers, for providing internet services. The government reduced the internet bandwidth price to as low as $8 a megabyte last year, which was amounted to $905 eight years back. In its cost modelling for the voice segment, the BTRC has fixed $.013 per minute as the upper limit and $.003 as the lower limit.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives