July 16, 2018
Support for Awami League to remain strong in election: BMI Research
Support for the Awami League government is likely to remain solid as Bangladesh is set for the parliamentary election in the final quarter of 2018, said BMI Research, a unit of New York-based Fitch Group. According to the report, the ongoing protests by the opposition BNP is expected to have a minimal impact on the AL in the parliamentary election. The BNP appears to have significantly weakened since the party chief, Khaleda Zia, was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption. In its report, BMI said support for the ruling party is likely to be strengthened by the populist FY2018-19 budget, which saw a significant increase in planned spending that is targeted at the rural agriculture community and social development. The government’s plan to increase subsidy, agriculture, and rural development spending by 27.9 percent, 24.8 percent and 8.9 percent respectively in fiscal 2018-19, compared to the previous year, will be positive for voter support.
As many as 5, 86,000 youths have become self-employed after receiving training from the Department of Youth Development in the last nine years. Moreover, around 22,37,000 unemployed youths both males and females received different trainings from the Youth Development Department between January 2009 and December 2017. Over the space of last nine years, 14 new projects have been implemented and 11 residential youth training centres also have been established. Besides, 64 districts and 476 upazilas have been brought under internet facilities. On a similar note, Taka 816.33 crore was given as loans among 2,00,000 youths while the rate of loan realization was 95% till June 2017.
During a recent visit to Bangladesh, Malaysian Defence Minister Mohamad Bin Sabu said preparations are underway to sign a memorandum of understanding between Bangladesh and Malaysia on defence training and technical cooperation. The Malaysian minister said the bilateral relations between the two countries are very good. He also conveyed greetings of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina. The envoy appreciated the economic development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, adding that the country’s 7.78% GDP growth is highly appreciable.
Bangladesh won the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier after defeating Ireland by 25 runs at Kampong. Asked to bat first, Bangladesh scored a decent total of 122 for 9 from their allotted 20 overs with Ayasha top scoring 46 runs and Fargana making 17. In reply, Ireland found the chase stiff and eventually dismissed at a paltry total of 97 in 18.4 overs. Bangladesh played the World T20 tournament as the hosts in 2014. They had to qualify for the tournament in the next round in 2016, but were defeated by Ireland in the final of the qualifier tournament.
$7.4b deals inked to produce 6,000MW
Bangladesh has taken another leap towards addressing its energy shortage, signing two separate agreements involving $7.4 billion to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity largely from liquefied natural gas. One of the deals involves the local Summit Group, Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation and the US's General Electric Company, and the other Bangladesh Power Development Board and GE Switzerland. Summit, Mitsubishi and GE signed a preliminary agreement at an event to invest $3 billion to establish five power plants, two LNG terminals and one oil terminal. The project also includes two units of onshore LNG terminal with a total capacity of 380,000 cubic metres, and an oil terminal with a 100,000-tonne capacity -- all to be located in Matarbari, Cox's Bazar.
The country produced a record of 11,059 megawatts (MWs) electricity last week. The power sector has crossed the earlier record of 10,958 MWs electricity generated on May 28 this year. On March 19, Bangladesh exceeded the milestone of 10,000MWs power production, it added. A total of 10,137MWs were produced on April 24, 10,147MWs on May 22, 10,699MWs on May 26 and 10,825MWs on May 27. This set of milestone stands as a testament to the stellar progresses made by the government in its pursuit to ensure electricity for all by 2021.
The Asian Development Bank will give $2 billion in loans to Bangladesh this fiscal year – 66.66% higher than it did last year – to help the country implement the ongoing development projects. The project will be to build roads within the camps to connect essential food distribution and storage centres, hospitals, education facilities, and provide emergency access. It will also resurface the road from Cox's Bazar to Teknaf and other critical sections. To address the water needs, the project will provide mobile water carriers, community bathing facilities and build a piped water supply system and waste management facilities, together with small water treatment plants.
Bangladesh Railway (BR) yesterday signed a contract with a joint venture company, for the construction of a rail line to link the under-construction Rooppur nuclear power plant with the country's rail network. The 26.52 kilometers (including a 4.50 km loop-line) dual-gauge railway line between Pabna's Ishwardi Bypass and Rooppur power plant will be constructed within a year and half. The main purpose of the track is to transport heavy equipment and goods for the power plant project, and also for its waste management, while the joint venture company would start their work within few days.
The government has approved a new agricultural policy, which includes encouraging research into nanotechnology, to boost production. The new draft of the policy was finalised at a cabinet meeting chaired by Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Secretariat last week. Nanotechnology refers to technology that can change and control the substances of molecular and atomics. In generally, one nanometre is equal to one millionth (short scale) of a metre. It is possible to gain remarkable success in various fields, including medical, electronics, science and technology by using this technology. Another alternative study on the adverse impact of nanotechnology on the environment has also been taken into consideration.
The government has made a draft policy to establish the much-talked-about Tk 10,000-crore Jute Sector Development Fund (JSDF) with a view to bringing back the glory of the moribund sector. According to the draft policy, the duration of the revolving fund will be 20 years and entire management will remain under the central bank. Jute farmers, traders, entrepreneurs, jute and jute product exporters are entitled to the get the loan from the fund at only 2.0% interest rate. The government will supply the money for the fund through budgetary allocation at one go or by phases, the draft policy mentioned.
Bangladesh exports to the United States rose by 2.60 per cent to US$ crossed 4.92 billion in the first 10 months (July-April) of the last fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 compared to same period in the previous FY, riding on the growth of the country's readymade garment sector. The exports to the US were US$ 4.79 billion in the corresponding period of the fiscal previous FY 2016-17. The export figure represents 16.19 percent of the country's total export earnings during the period of July-April, according to data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The major exports to the US market during the July-April period were woven garment (US$ 3,254.31 million), knitwear (US$ 1133.40 million), home textiles (US$ 157.77 million) and cap (US$ 105.68 million).
Border forces of Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to work together to step up security in the common border areas by conducting joint patrol and enhancing surveillance. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Border Guard Police (BGP) of Myanmar reached the agreement at a four-day senior officer level conference. At the conference, the frontier bodies have agreed to conduct joint patrol, enhance surveillance along their common borders to stop border crimes such as smuggling of narcotics especially the contraband yaba pills and illegal firearms and human trafficking. They also agreed to exchange information between them about border crimes to take immediate action to effectively fight the menace.
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