Apr 19, 2018
HPM Sheikh Hasina places 7-point proposal to promote intra-Commonwealth trade
Honourable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh Hasina placed a seven-point proposal to promote intra-Commonwealth trade, investment and innovation and urged the grouping to keep the trade regime open and transparent. "We should ensure that the trade regime remains open, rules-based, transparent, inclusive and fair," said the Bangladehs Premier while taking part in an event titled "Commonwealth's Role in Promoting Trade, Investment and Innovation". The suggestions, among other issues, sought to -- frame a common investment policy; minimise non-tariff barriers; develop PTA and FTA; open market for services; technology transfer; visa liberalisation; and enhanced connectivity.
HPM Sheikh Hasina has called for more international pressure on Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees, rejecting an assertion by Myanmar that it has repatriated the first Rohingya family of five. The international community needs to put more pressure on Myanmar so that they take back their own people and ensure their security, she told an audience in London on Tuesday, reports Reuters. Also on Tuesday, Canada and Britain called for a meaningful investigation into reported atrocities by the Myanmar army. Moreover, the Bangladesh government and the UNHCR signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) relating to the return of Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar.
Bangladesh has won three crucial elections in United Nations Economic and Social Council or ECOSOC held in New York this week. With those victories, Bangladesh has become the executive board member of the Unicef and UN Women for a three-year term, and member of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for four years. Being the executive board members of the two UN bodies means Bangladesh will be able to contribute actively to its function, fund management as well as proper utilisation. It also said Bangladesh would better utilise those two bodies for the protection of the developing countries interest and implementation of the SDGs 2030.
63 plants with 15,967 MW capacity under construction
Aiming to ensure cent per cent electricity by 2021, the government signed contracts with private and public sponsors to set up 130 power plants having a total generation capacity of 23,861 megawatt (MW). Of the contracts, 67 power plants having generation capacity of 7,800 MW have already been commissioned while 63 power plants with 15,967 MW are under construction. Till date, under the able leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina, as many as 88 power plants with a generation capacity of 8,819 MW have been installed and the country has been importing 660 MW electricity since 2009 from neighbouring India.
As part of its efforts to address gas crisis in the country, the government is going to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Oman. Bangladesh Oil, Gas and Mineral Corporation (Petrobangla) will sign a 10-year contract with Oman Trading International (OTI) for bringing the gas under a government-to-government arrangement. For the first six years, OTI would supply 1.8 million tonnes of LNG each year and it would go up to 2.5 million tonnes for the following four years, according to the draft contract. In September last year, the government signed a 15-year contract with Qatar's RasGas, which would supply 2.5 million tonnes of LNG every year.
Owing to successful labour diplomacy, as put in place by the government, The United Arab Emirates yesterday lifted a six-year ban on the recruitment of Bangladeshi workers. A Memorandum of Understanding with UAE in this regard has been signed this week, allowing Bangladeshi jobseekers with new job opportunities in the Emirates. Initially, private sector will recruit them and eventually public sector will also follow. Under the MoU, the employment contract for Bangladeshi workers should include job description, salary, and other benefits like food, accommodation and transport. The salary will be paid following the UAE's Wages Protection System.
As many as 33,71,487 extreme poor people across the country are getting benefit from the 70,147 village development associations under One House One Farm scheme, as envisaged and implemented by HPM Sheikh Hasina. According to official sources, over 16million poor and extreme-poor people are getting direct benefit from the successful implementation of project with their family earnings increased to $ 129 annually each. Around 70,147 village development associations under the project were formed. The government has undertaken the project to alleviate poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through fund mobilization and farming. In line with the key objectives of the project, it has been playing a vital role to make the poor people self- reliant.
The education ministry has taken an initiative to introduce technical and vocational education in secondary school level (from class VIII) at all educational institutions from the next academic year. As part of the initiative, the technical and madrasa education division of the ministry has started a process of forming a high-level committee which will determine the course to be included in the secondary level. One or two vocational subjects of technical education will be made compulsory for students of class VIII from the next year. It will be included as subjects like physical education.
The government is implementing different projects involving $357002 for providing better health services in Sylhet region. The major projects include setting up of a health technology institute, building some health complexes and a new hospital and renovating and strengthening the capacities of existing community clinics. On impact, the people of north-east frontier areas of the district are now getting all types of health services after expanding health facilities at the Goainghat Upazila Health Complex. Moreover, works of different other projects involving nearly $6 million are also going on in full swing. Under these projects, necessary renovation was done at 185 community clinics while 75 new building were constructed for $30,904 to take the basic health services to the people's doorsteps.
Both the service accessibility and use of internet banking services doubled in the last five years as banks have intensified their focus on online banking to keep up with the digital revolution and attract new generation customers. Internet banking, also known as online banking, is an electronic payment system that enables the customers of a bank or other financial institution to conduct a range of financial transactions through digital platforms. Twenty-four commercial banks had internet banking services in 2014, which stood at 48 at end of the last year, according to a recent study of Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management. Official figures suggest that 1.7 million customers are currently using internet banking services. The number of transactions through internet banking increased by over three times, from 1,742,429 in 2014 to 7,278,421 at the end of 2017, according to the study.
During the recently concluded two day Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) summit, industry insiders said more than 40,000 people work in about 105 BPO companies in Bangladesh, pinning hopes that the number of workers would reach 100,000 by 2021. HPM Sheikh Hasina’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy inaugurated the event that saw at least 20 foreign experts and 60 local speakers share their knowledge and experience at the seminars aligned with the summit. Moreover, Industry leaders said BPO in the country began in 2008 with just 300 jobs, which now has turned into 40,000 jobs.
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