Nov 20, 2017
Bangladesh's economy grew 7.28% in the last fiscal year, the highest in the country's history. The development came after the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) updated the final estimate of the gross domestic product growth for 2016-17. In the final count, the GDP growth rose by 4 basis points from the provisional estimate of 7.24%, riding on the faster growth of the services sector. Per capita income rose from $1,602 to $1,610. The agriculture sector grew 2.90%, manufacturing grew 10.22% and the services sector grew 6.69%.
Bangladesh earned nearly $800 million this year exporting locally made software, and providing ICT-related services like outsourced and freelance work. The government aims to get the earnings up to the $1 billion mark next year and $5 billion by 2021. Bangladesh's top export earners are the ready-made garments sector, leather and leather goods industries, jute and jute products, and then ICT and IT services. Of the $800 million, an estimated $500 million came from software exports to 70 countries and about $15-20 million from game and app development.
During a recent visit to Bangladesh, State Secretary of Danish Development Cooperation Martin Bille Hermann praised Bangladesh for having performed a great task by taking in the hundreds of thousands Rohingyas who have fled Myanmar since the influx began on August 25. The Danish official came up with the remarks while having talks with Foreign Secretary at the Foreign Office Consultation meeting in the city. Denmark was one of the first responding donors to the on-going crisis and has so far committed over US$ 18.7 million for humanitarian relief of the Rohingya refugees through UN agencies and NGO’s.
United Nations’ military advisor Lt Gen Carlos Humberto Loitey appreciated Bangladesh for its efforts towards global peacekeeping mission. The UN advisor came up with the appreciation while having talks with Md Mozammel Haque Khan, senior secretary of Public Administration ministry. Lt Gen Loitey congratulated Bangladesh on ranking second in peacekeeping contribution and hoped that the trend will continue in the future. Over the space of last couple of years, Bangladesh has emerged as leading peace troops providing country in ensuring global peace across the world.
A new move has been rolled out to build $2 billion Dhaka East-West Elevated Expressway for easing traffic congestion in and around the capital. The work on project involving an estimated cost worth around $ 2.05 billion is expected to kick off in January 2018 and end by December 2024. The main objective of the 39.24-km long East-West Elevated Expressway project is to reduce traffic congestions in and around Dhaka city. According to media reports, the East West Elevated Expressway Project will allow traffic to travel around the western perimeter of Dhaka between Dhaka Highway and Dhaka-Chittagong Highway with connections to Dhaka-Mawa highway which is directly linked to the Padma Bridge apart from reducing traffic congestions in and around the capital.
Work is going to repair and develop different infrastructures including the damaged roads and drains under different constituencies. The project titled 'Development of Different Infrastructures of Different Areas of Local Lawmakers Under the City Corporation' will be implemented at a cost $112 million. The project aims at repairing and developing damaged drains, increasing navigability of canals after recovery from encroachment, developing drainage system for draining out rainwater, addressing waterlogging problem and turning the city into a modern and mega one as well.
As many as 10 development projects were involving $83 million, including a project for dredging the outer bar of Pashur channel to enhance Mongla port’s large ship handling capacity. Among the projects, one 'Dredging at outer bar of Mongla Port Channel' project was approved aiming to increase the navigability of the Mongla Port Channel for handling ships with 10.5-metre draft. For this, there will be dredging of some 10 million cubic metre of earth in the outer bar area of the port channel alongside conducting supervision by the hydraulic experts and evaluation of the impact of modeling.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide US$260 million to Bangladesh for sustaining and increasing its investments in infrastructures, particularly financing public-private partnership (PPP) projects as well as renewable energy interventions. The objective of the project is to help provide the rural population and small to medium enterprises with clean and affordable electricity either through grid-connected or off-grid energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions.
Implementation works of a big project are progressing fast aiming at enhancing the accessibility of the rural people to the markets and economic opportunities in the region with ultimate goal of uplifting their living and livelihood condition. The project being implemented by the government has already started widening the access to markets and economic opportunities. It will also boost the earnings, access to basic services like health and education of the rural poor. Under the project, around 678-km Upazila roads and 173-km union roads are being upgraded bitumen standard to provide connectivity between agricultural production areas and growth center markets.
Bangladesh has selected eight prospective sectors expecting a large volume of investment from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), according to media reports. A high-powered business delegation from Riyadh is scheduled to arrive early next month to discuss modalities of possible investment in Bangladesh. The priority turfs designated for investors from the oil-rich country are: agribusiness, food processing, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals, textile and high-end clothing, leather and leather goods, and hotel and tourism services.
The state minister for foreign affairs has stressed on increasing trade and investment relations with North East India region which is both geographically and culturally linked with Bangladesh. Md Shahriar Alam called upon the business chambers of both sides to identify the barriers in existing trade and investment and “proactively” work with respective government so that the volume of business could be expanded in future. Human Resources Development is another area of strategic intervention, he said while inaugurating the North East India-Bangladesh EXIM Conclave.
Plans are set in motion to set out 28 hi-tech parks throughout the country aiming at enriching its ICT sector. Experts have pinned hopes that unemployment problems of the country would be reduced to a greater extent upon successful establishment of the parks. The Hi-tech Park is being built on 31 acres of land at Bulanpur area with an estimated cost worth $ 27 million to make Rajshahi as the city of technology. Its implementation works are expected to complete by December, 2018. More than 14,000 unemployed youths both male and female will get job.
More than 140 million people, out of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million, use mobile phones while around 80 million people access the internet, say the telecom regulators. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC released the latest figures recently. The number of mobile subscribers was a little over 140.7 million by the end of September this year against 120 million during the same period last year, marking an 18% growth.
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