Feb 16, 2017
A court in Canada has acquitted three business executives of charges that SNC-Lavalin Group Inc staff planned to bribe Bangladesh officials in a bid to win a $50 million contract to supervise the Padma Bridge construction. Media reports quoted Justice Nordheimer as saying in the judgment reduced to its essentials, the information provided in the [wiretap applications] was nothing more than speculation, gossip and rumour. The World Bank withdrew the funds it had promised for the Padma Bridge project following the alleged corruption. Bangladesh is now building the bridge with its own money.
Owing to a raft measures, envisaged and implemented by the present government, poverty in Bangladesh is declining at about 1.74%. According to the seventh five-year plan (2015-16 to 2019-20) being implemented by the present government, the poverty rate and extreme poverty rate by 2020 would be 18.6% and 8.9%. Investment in the social safety net programmes increased by manifold while various allowances like allowance for elderly people and allowance for distressed, widow and husband abandoned women are being given.
After assuming power in 2014, the present government has so far approved 733 fresh or revised development projects with a record allocation worth over $84 billion in a bid to change the course of national progress. On impact, Bangladesh continued to grow at a record pace, a marked progress is vindicated in construction of a good number of large-scale projects and living standard of general people reached a new height. Many of the said projects, once go operational, would uplift the nation’s run in achieving the Vision 2021- transforming Bangladesh into a technologically advanced one by 2021.
An agreement was signed between the government and the Asian Development Bank for a $100 million loan for upskilling young workforce, especially women, to enhance job opportunities, expand economic base and boost income. The programme underpins the country's path towards higher income level with diversified and expanded economic base, while providing good jobs to people, especially women. Over 240,000 people, 30% of whom are women, will be trained by 2021.
The government has approved seven projects involving over $143 million to check river erosion taking place in the costal zone due to climate change. The schemes included projects to protect Ramgati and Kamalnagar upazila and adjacent areas from erosion by the Meghna River, Shahbazpur Gas Field in Borhanuddin upazila of Bhola district from erosion by the Meghna River, alongside another project for rehabilitation of Polder no-64/1A, 64/1B and 64/1C and other infrastructure under Bashkhali upazila in Chittagong.
A new development project titled “Income Generating Activities (IGA) Training of Women at Upazila Level” has been approved aiming to provide rural women with training on income generating. To be implemented in 426 upazilas, at a cost worth over $294 million across the country, focus will be laid out on modern tailoring/embroidery and block-boutique. Moreover, a number of schemes were adopted including vulnerable group development (VGD), maternal allowance, working lactating mother assistance fund, grant distribution (women organizations), small loan distribution and sewing machine distribution.
A decision has been made to procure two new Liquid Natural Gas carrier vessels for transporting LNG after launching the country’s first ever LNG-import terminal at Moheshkhali in Chittagong. A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the representatives of Bangladesh Shipping Corporation and Chinese Institute of Maritime and Offshore Engineering HB Co LTD. The capacity of each carrier vessel is to be 40,000 cubic metre which will help ease transportation of LNG.
An agreement on cross-border power trade among countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), including Bangladesh, has been finalised. In a meeting in Kathmandu on February 7, senior officials of the seven Bimstec countries finalised the MoU on trade in power. The Trade Negotiating Committee would soon take up trade and trade facilitation matters.
Bangladesh earned $ 2,893.77 million from 2011-12 to 2016-17 fiscal by exporting 413.57 tonnes of fish. In 2013-14, Bangladesh exported 77.33 thousand tonnes of fishes and earned $ 615.35 million, while $ 534.92 million came from exporting 84.90 thousand tonnes of fishes in 2012-13 fiscal. In fiscal 2011-12 Bangladesh exported 92.48 thousand tonnes of fishes and earned $ 598.17 million.
Eight firms, including Japan's Honda and Suzuki and India's Bajaj, TVS and Hero, are set to establish facilities to manufacture motorcycles in Bangladesh. The development comes after the National Board of Revenue at the start of the fiscal year offered 20% duty rebate on import of motorcycles in completely knocked down (CKD) format for firms that want to sign up as progressive manufacturers. After getting the scope to import motorcycles in CKD form at reduced duty, most of the firms have cut the prices of bikes in the last two months. The price cut has also buoyed demand and contributed to the expansion of the overall market; nearly two lakh units were sold in 2016, according to industry insiders.
The fourth Indo-Bangla trade fair started in Dhaka this week in an effort to strengthen the business ties between the countries. More than 3O companies related to automobile, processed food, banking, insurance, home appliances, consumer goods, power, paints, electronics and electrical, textiles, cement manufacturing, and lubricants manufacturing sector exhibited their product and services in six pavilions and 3O stalls. In 2015-16, Bangladesh exports to India surged 30.8% to $689.62 million.
Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka on a three-day official visit to Germany to attend the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC). The Bangladesh Premier will hold bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 18 and will also take part in a panel discussion on 'Climate Security: Good COP, Bad COPs". Twenty heads of states and government will join the Munich Conference which is being considered as the 'Best Think Tank Conference' in the present discourses on world security.
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