March 31, 2016
Business magazine Fortune has named Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as one of the greatest leaders of the world, endowing her the 1oth place among 50 leaders who are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same. Describing HPM, the Fortune wrote, she is the only female leader among the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, who deftly navigated the competing demands of Islamic tradition and women's rights. Terming her leadership as able and prudent, it recognized her fight to secure legal protections for women and make them educated and independent.
In an opinion carried by the leading Middle East daily Arab news, HPM Sheikh Hasina, has aptly denoted the secrets behind the real and measurable progress Bangladesh has sustained and secured to get itself elevated to the lower middle income status last year. The write up narrates how a country, mired in poverty just six years back, became the developing world’s biggest MDG success story, can come that far to end up the orthodox cycle of huger and takes the lead in South Asia in most of the human and social development indicators.
One of the leading newspapers of the Middle East, the Arab News, has termed Bangladesh as the next rising star in South Asia for investment. In an article which came out last week, the country’s economy was said to have registered a 6% growth last year and promises to reach 7% growth in years to come. It also mentioned the number of policy reforms which the government has designed to create a more open and competitive climate for private investment, both foreign and local.
A sustained round of applause and praise have been bestowed upon HPM Sheikh Hasina by the people from all walks inside the country following her recognition as the world’s tenth greatest leader by the business magazine Fortune. National newspapers carried a number of opinions and editorials on this occasion. One such titled “Sheikh Hasina: Her accomplishments as a woman, a leader”, published by the leading English daily Dhaka Tribune showcased all the awards and accolades the Bangladesh Premier achieved over the years in her endavour to make the country Bangabandhu’s “Golden Bengal”.
In an interview, ran by a special publication on Bangladesh “On the Spot”, HPM Sheikh Hasina narrated the struggle her government has encountered for lifting up Bangladesh from the low middle income status amidst a topsy-turvy economic situation around the globe. An array of measures were brought to the fore that includes bringing down poverty level from over 40% to 22.4%, setting up of 4,314 digital centers across the country, building landmark infrastructures and so on. The Bangladesh Premier also relayed her firm resolve to stand by people in turning this country into a developed one by 2041.
Given that more than one fourth work has already been accomplished, the dream for the largest and the longest infrastructure undertaking in Bangladesh–Padma Multipurpose bridge-- has started to appear as a reality now, heralding a new dawn in. 30 million lives will be transformed as it will connect the southern Bangladesh to its capital Dhaka. Completely a self-funded project worth $3.65 billion, the bridge site is filled with labourers, workers and engineers who are toiling hard day and night to get it open for traffic by 2018. Capable of standing against flood and earth quake, this mega project means a symbol of hope, height, pride and change to the people of this green delta.
Just within a span of 45 years after achieving its independence from the Pakistan, Bangladesh carved out its name on the world stage, carrying a higher brand value than the turmoil ridden Pakistan in most of the international indices. Recently, London-based Brand Finance, put Bangladesh at 47th spot with a value worth $144 billion in 2015 while only $93 billion was marked for Pakistan. Higher economic growth, sustainable development and progress are the indicators for this judgement.
Aiming to provide the capital dwellers with a time bound, faster and traffic free communication across the city, HPM Sheikh Hasina this week inaugurated the first phase of the 8.70 kilometer Moghbazar-Mouchak Flyover for traffic. After inauguration, hundreds of vehicles were seen plying over the carriageway, leaving a little traffic. With the rest two parts to be opened by next year, the entire network will have 50 ramps and earthquake resistant equipment, and is being built on 311 single-piers along the central line of the existing roads. It would help vehicles pass over a total of eight intersections and three level-crossings.
As Bangladesh is endowed with some 47.6 million youths, hopes run high that the country would ripe that demographic dividends, emerging as a land of quality work force in the globe. According to a report ran by Arab news, a shortage of skilled labor will prevail in Arab countries while Bangladesh is cited as credible source to help that cause. It also lauded the current government for its far reaching initiatives including enactment of Overseas Employment and Migration Act 2013 and the roadmap to transform the youths force into a skilled workforce. In 2015, remittance in Bangladesh hit its record high to $15.32 billion.
In accordance with the electoral promise “electricity for all by 2021”, the government signed a landmark $1.56 billion contract with a Chinese consortium for engineering, procurement and construction of a coal-fired power plant in Payra, Patuakhali, that is capable of producing 1,320MW electricity. The first unit of the power plant, which will have 660MW capacity, is expected to supply electricity by April 2019 while the second unit, with same capacity, will start generation six months later.
Building on the earlier successes that has seen around 75% of the population gain access to electricity, the government has chalked out another comprehensive project to light up the houses of 92% population around the country. Pursuant to that plan, fresh target has been set to provide 19 million fresh power connections with construction of 4,40,000 km distribution lines while some 77 Palli Bidyut Samities provided electricity connections to 12.1 million customers through construction of 248,000 km distribution lines. Another plan for brining 3 million customers under electricity facilities through construction of 30,000 km distribution lines in this year is under implementation.
Transactions through mobile phones rose 47.7% year-on-year to $2.137 billion in January thanks to increased economic activities at the grassroots level, according to Bangladesh Bank data. The amounts were $1.44 billion in January last year and $912.7 million in the same month of 2014. Such an achievement is a shining testament to the government’s action to make the economy ever more inclusive and ensure that low-income people can participate in economic activities seriously and bridge economic and wealth disparity.
As part of intensified efforts to ensure a sustainable healthcare service for the countrymen, the government has launched an initiative, on a pilot basis, aiming to ensure around 1.00,000 people in three sub-districts get individual health cards that would allow them to avail treatment at free of cost in different public hospitals up to the amount of around $638.3. Modeled after the Obamacare policy as introduced in USA, under this plan free treatment will be provided for at least 50 types of diseases while the scheme will be gradually extended to every household around the country.
Highly appreciating the wide ranging initiatives the government has undertaken to build up resilience in the aftermath of natural disasters, Col Joseph D Martin , Director of the Center for Excellence-Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (CFE-DM) has placed an urge and call before the regional leaders to emulate the steps and policies for lessening their stake. In an article the expert mentioned that Bangladesh stands as a regional example of the courageous progress that can be made by a nation and the time-tested civil-military relationships stand ready to support the government if they need assistance.
The government has taken action to stop the movement of shipping traffic for an indefinite period in the Shela River in the Sundarbans. A recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans, is the largest mangrove forest in the world and its waters are home to populations of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and Ganges River dolphins, as well as a variety of other rare wildlife, including Bengal tigers. This move has been welcomed by the wildlife experts both at home and abroad.
Canadian High Commissioner Benoît-Pierre Laramée yesterday offered his country's green technology to Bangladesh as many domestic apparel exporters are adopting environment-friendly production in factories. Pointing out that several garment factories in Bangladesh have so far achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certificate from the US Green Building Council, and the number is increasing, the international diplomat said that a guidebook will be prepared on how to make industrial units more environment-friendly.
According to government statistics, the first eight months (July-February) export earnings in the current fiscal year rose by around 9%, up from 2.35% of the target. Encouraged by this rising trend, the businesses are optimistic that the growth would continue to ride on the same trajectory, resulting in a 10% rise in this year. Among the major exportable products readymade garments posted $18.12 billion the highest to contribute up to 82% of the entire earnings.
Within decades, flower cultivation in Bangladesh has grown into an industry, employing more than 1,50,000 people in the entire thread including production, distribution and sales. The sales price of flowers was $31 million in 2009-10, which rose to around $100 million in 2014-15 fiscal and this increase in demand is the sign of a change in people's attitude. While the commercial farming of flowers beginning on 30-decimal of land in Jessore years back, at present, flowers are grown on nearly 1,000 acres of land in 22 districts.
According to a recent survey prepared by The National Food Security Nutritional Surveillance Project, the proportion of households reporting food insecurity have fallen to less than a quarter of households in 2014 from over two-thirds of households in 2011. During the monsoon of 2011, 66% of families were found to be food insecure, but the figure dropped to 26% during the time in 2014. This survey is yet another testament to prudent policies as envisaged and is being implemented by the HPM Sheikh Hasina to ensure food security for every citizen of Bangladesh.
Envisioned and introduced by the government, the increasing trend in use of solar irrigation pump has been taking the place of outmoded systems, signaling a silent revolution in the cultivation sector. Adoption of this new system at several parts in the country yielded the entire production by many fold and the farmers appeared to have content on applying newer technologies. As the country’s economy is often dubbed to be dependent on agriculture, HPM Sheikh Hasina has put a stronger focus on the improvement of this sector, ensuring a mechanized farming system.
Bangladesh has played a significant role in battling militancy in the region, especially in the Northeast of India, and the Sheikh Hasina-led government should be thanked for that, says leading Indian security analyst Jaideep Saikia. About the presence of ISIS in Bangladesh, the counter terrorism expert also said that operatives of homegrown extremists and radical terror groups such as, JMB, JMJB or Huji, are now trying to piggyback on to the ISIS bandwagon. In addition, on separate massages, HPM Sheikh Hasina, has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Lahore and Brussles.
The United States said it will remain beside Bangladesh in the ongoing fight against violent extremism and terrorism, which threaten Bangladesh, the United States, and many other societies that cherish basic human freedom. Addressing a function, Nisha Desai Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, also commended Bangladesh for becoming a food exporter, maintaining a 6% growth every year for 20 years and lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty.
Heralding a new chapter in the Indo-Bangladesh maritime trade and bilateral cooperation, a direct shipping service was launched between Krishnapatnam and Chittagong ports at a ceremony held at the Krishnapatnam port in India this week. Named after the Krishnapatnam-Pangaon weekly direct service, the new shipping line was welcomed by the traders on both sides as it would greatly reduce the transit cost and also saves a lot of time. The direct service is expected to significantly reduce transportation cost and infuse fresh dynamism on the export business between both countries.
The country has made noteworthy strides in achieving its vision of Digital Bangladesh, a pledge earmarked by the Awami League government and there is a likelihood that it could make the vision a reality before the 2021 deadline. For instance, the country has climbed four notches up in a space of four years as vindicated in the Global Service Location Index. Now, the country boasts of around 400,000 registered freelancers in BPO sector while process is underway to set up as many as 500 BPO support and training centres by the government to fetch around $ 5 billion from the sector by 2021.
While seven years back the fruition of digitalization could barely touch the people of Bangladesh, the Awami League led government has transformed around 70% of the government services into a digital format. On top of that, this government has also undertaken an initiative to create 3 million IT enabled skilled labour force in the next three years. This stunning and stellar, yet unthinkable, attainment has been accomplished under the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina and changed the course of progress of this nation.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives