July 13, 2017
The average inflation rate remained below 6% in the fiscal year 2016-17 ending in June, fulfilling the target set in the national budget. The inflow of foreign direct investment or FDI into Bangladesh, particularly in energy, telecom and stock market has increased, registering $2.65 billion in the form of gross FDI inflow during the period of July-May of the fiscal year 2016-17 against $2.33 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year. Over the course of last six years, a rapid transformation took place on the economic landscape of the country with its graduation to the lower middle income status.
Saima Wazed Hossain, chairperson of Bangladesh National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, has been made the goodwill ambassador of the World Health Organization (WHO) for autism in the South-East Asia region. Terming Saima Wazed a globally renowned champion for the cause of autism spectrum disorder, WHO in a statement made the announcement that she will be the goodwill ambassador for a two-year term. Her passionate and persistent efforts for addressing autism are commendable. Saima Wazed, daughter of Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was designated as WHO Regional Champion for autism in May 2016.
Bangladesh has further enhanced its capacity to effectively train peacekeepers and conduct United Nations and regional peace support operations. A new multipurpose training facility at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) was inaugurated in support of the US State Department's Global Peace Operations Initiative or GPOI programme. During a recent visit to Bangladesh, Commander of United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) Admiral Harry B Harris Jr, attended the inaugural ceremony. The new $3.6 million multipurpose training facility provides the BIPSOT with a 750 seat auditorium and additional training rooms.
Outgoing Ambassador of Switzerland in Dhaka Christian Martin Fotsch expressed satisfaction over the security measures taken by the government for the diplomats and foreign nationals in Bangladesh after the last year's Gulshan cafe' attack. Within a year into its deadliest terror attack at an upscale restaurant in the capital, Bangladesh has made real and measureable progress in its fight against militancy, ensuring recurrence of similar grisly stay at a zero level. During a meeting with the Foreign Minister, the envoy congratulated Bangladesh for successful hosting of the 36th IPU Assembly in Dhaka early this year, where a 5-member strong Swiss delegation participated.
As part of government’s move to step up efforts to intensify renewable energy scheme, a new scheme has been rolled out to set up a solar plant capable of producing 7.4 megawatt at Kaptai.; This solar power plant will be the first of its kind in the country to supply power to the national grid. The plant will generate power uninterruptedly during day time on the availability of sun while PDB also has plans to set up a 30MW solar park on the banks of Dhorola River in Kurigram as an IPP on BOO (build, own operate) basis.
Some 2.6 lakh residential consumers in Dhaka and Chittagong cities are going to get prepaid gas meters from next year under a Japan-funded project. To this end, a Japanese contractor is now making pre-shipment inspections of the imported prepaid meters, which will reach the country this month. As many as 50 point of sales (POS) centres in Dhaka city will be set up to facilitate its consumers to recharge their prepaid cards while a data centre will be set up in Titas Bhaban in Karwan Bazar.
The government has sanctioned a project to construct the country's second elevated expressway in Chittagong at a cost $400 million to ease traffic congestion in the southeastern port city by 2020. The state-run Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) will build the 16.5-kilometre elevated expressway from Lalkhan Bazar to Shah Amanat Airport of the port city with the financial support of the government from its internal resources. This will be the second elevated expressway project after the 21-km Dhaka Elevated Expressway (DEE) which is to be constructed by a Thai company Ital-Thai on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
The government has established 1,203 adolescent care corners so adolescent boys and girls can receive better treatment and necessary advice. Similar corners under the family planning directorate would also be introduced at the hospitals in all upzilas in phases. At the existing care units adolescents can get advice, treatment and counseling for any problem related to their reproductive health.
Successful implementation of the massive social safety net programmes (SSNPs) has effectively improved livelihoods of the poor bringing them out of vicious cycle of poverty in the district. According to officials and development experts, the government is implementing SSNPs as priority initiatives of HPM Sheikh Hasina through GO-NGO collaboration to ensure social security of poor, backward and underprivileged people. The Asrayan Prokalpo, micro-credits, training for income generations, allowances for divorcees, poor pregnant women, lactating mothers, elderly citizens and disabled people, education assistance, rehabilitation and other SSNPs are playing vital role.
The government has launched a new project for the economically backward Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) which the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) views as Bangladesh's commitment to fully implement the 1997 peace accord. The UNDP in partnership with USAID and Danida will help implement the project titled Strengthening Inclusive Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (SID-CHT) for the next five years. This is a continuation of a project that has been implemented with "significant" results since 2003 in the three districts of the CHT area - Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.
The government has chalked out a raft of reform initiatives to revamp the export sector and gain the status of a developed nation, and get access to duty-free markets in Russia and Myanmar. In order to achieve the target, the Commerce Ministry has planned to take a total of 16 initiatives, and accordingly, the authorities concerned are working to further ease the country’s banking facilities for businessmen to export their products to the countries. Besides, a separate fund will be created for the sector’s growth.
Owing to successful labour diplomacy under the current government, over 4.6 million Bangladeshi workers went abroad in the last eight years since 2009 as her government has taken many initiatives for creating new labour markets. While under the BNP regime, such opportunities were available to 97 countries, the horizon has been extended to 107 countries under able leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina. Her government set up 29 labour wings at Bangladesh embassies or high commissions, with opening of the latest in Mauritius in October 2016, alongside, a study was conducted on 50 new labour markets including Europe, Australia and Brazil.
Thailand assured Bangladesh of extending its support to the country's efforts to be the member of regional forums, including Mekong-Ganges Cooperation Forum and East West Economic Corridor. During a recent visit, the Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai gave the assurance during a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office. He apprised the Prime Minister of the experimental 'goat project' of Thailand initiated by Thai Princess Sirindhron with Bangladeshi 'Black Bengal' species.
The head of UN refugee agency yesterday urged the international community to continue its support to Bangladesh over the Rohingya refugee issues through resource mobilisation, saying the solution to the problem lies with Myanmar. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also called upon the Bangladesh and Myanmar leaderships to secure the future of younger generation of the Myanmarese refugees living in this country.
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