March 19, 2017
Bangladesh Navy started its journey as a "three-dimensional force" as two submarines were commissioned in its fleet for the first time. Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina formally commissioned the twin submarines named Nabajatra and Joyjatra at a colourful ceremony at the Chittagong Naval Berth. The Bangladesh Premier also handed over the commissioning order to the commanding officers of the submarines bought from China and formally unveiled their name plaques. According to the Premier, Bangladesh is a peaceful nation and the country's foreign policy is to maintain friendship with all but this country never compromised with anybody when it came to its self-respect.
Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock has extoled Bangladesh for an array of steps taken in combatting militancy after the Gulshan cafe terror attack, crediting Bangladesh Police for their successful anti-militancy operations after the attack. The envoy was addressing the opening session of an international police conference held in the capital. Moreover, as part of anti-militancy crackdown, members of law enforcing agencies, over the last few weeks, busted a good number of militant dens while over 15 militants, affiliated to homegrown outfits, were arrested, let alone a huge cache of arms are recovered.
Commerce ministers of Commonwealth countries appreciated the advancement of Bangladesh in different sectors. They came up with the appreciation at a roundtable on “technology and innovation, creating an export economy” at the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting at the Lancaster House in London last week. Bangladesh’s graduation to the lower middle income status and attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are also received high praise.
A senior executive of the United Nations (UN) came up with high praise for Bangladesh's continued advancement in the health and pharmaceuticals sectors, terming Dhaka a role model for many other developing nations. Dr David Nabarro, special adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said it was indeed a matter of a great appreciation that Dhaka has achieved successes over years in greater heath sector, especially on reducing mothers and children deaths and taking health services to rural folks.
Bangladesh has received $1.71 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between July and January in the ongoing fiscal year 2016-17, highlighting a positive indication for the economy of the country. The figure included net investment of $975 million, which was 7.8 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year, when the net investment was $898 million out of the total FDI of $1.597 billion during the same period in last fiscal.
Works are well underway for collecting data from a whopping 30.50 million households of the country for preparing National Household Database (NHD) to identify economic status of the people aiming to eliminate poverty. NHD, an online database, will be prepared based on economic status of every household to ensure bringing the target group under the social safety-net programme which will remove all sorts of irregularities. Launched in 2013, this project will be completed by December, 2018, while data collection will be carried in three phases.
HPM Sheikh Hasina inaugurated a water treatment plant in Chittagong, aiming to end the water crisis in the port city. She opened the plant "Sheikh Hasina Water Treatment Plant", having a daily production capacity of 9.30 crore litres of water, from a function held at Chittagong Boat Club. Financed by Japan Inter-national Cooperation Agency (Jica), the work on the project began in 2010 and it went into operation in November last.
Owing to a number of government measures, the enrolment of students at tertiary level in the country has reached an all-time high, crossing over 3.2 million while a target has been set to take the figure up to 4.1 million by 2026. A good progress has been made in the expansion of higher education in the country. Expansion of stipends, alongside some other initiatives, also attributed to this milestone, according to experts.
A 20-member tripartite consultative council has been formed with representatives from workers, employers and the government for the country's readymade garment (RMG) sector. This newly formed council will advise the government to take different measures for developing RMG employers-workers relations and increasing productivity considering the country's existing overall socioeconomic situation. Besides, it will also review the overall labour situation of the RMG sector and apprise the government of the situation.
Private sector credit growth remained steady in January amid higher import and rising business activities in the country. In January, private sector credit growth stood at 15.6%, which is almost identical to the previous month's figure. Since September last year, the credit growth has been hovering around the 15% mark amid a stable political situation and lower lending rates.
Major development works like construction of connectivity roads, embankments and bridges and supply of drinking water for commissioning the first phase of Mirsarai Economic Zone have almost been completed. Around 70% of works on connecting roads, 75% of embankments and bridges and 80% of safe drinking water through pipeline have been mostly completed so far. In the second phase, two EZs would be established on 1300 acres of land. Already, feasibility, and social and environmental-impact studies have been completed in the second phase. The BEZA has also obtained clearance from the directorate of environment.
Bangladesh was elected Chairperson of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the next one year. Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the OPCW Sheikh Mohammed Belal was elected as the OPCW Chairperson from May 12, 2017 to May 11, 2018.The Bangladesh envoy was unanimously elected by the 41-member Executive Council of the OPCW comprising of State Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) during the 84th Session of the Executive Council of the OPCW being held in The Hague, Netherlands from March 7-10.
Bangladesh's transfer-pricing cell under the revenue authority has partnered international economic forum OECD to check alleged profit shifting by the multinational companies (MNCs). The cell of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to work together for next two-three years in the process of spearheading the combat against such siphoning of funds.
Bangabandhu-1 satellite is on course for its scheduled Victory Day launch, with more than two-thirds of its construction work already completed. Bangabandhu-1 is expected to provide services to all South Asian countries as well as Indonesia, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, if its frequency is properly coordinated, according to project documents. In November 2015, the BTRC signed a $248-million deal with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture and launch the country's first satellite.
The U.S.-based Google Glass startup and healthcare company Augmedix Inc. has announced that it would recruit more than 7,000 employees from Bangladesh in the next five years. Over the next five years, Augmedix and its partners will hire a large number of Bangladeshis in Dhaka and throughout the country to complement the company's U.S. scribes, who serve as remote personal assistants to physicians in the U.S.
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