April 07, 2016
According to a recent survey published by the International Republican Institute (IRI), 71% Bangladeshis have asserted their support, confidence and trust on the ruling Awami League government, relaying the ever rising popularity and wide acceptance of the HPM Sheikh Hasina once again. In the survey, some 73% deemed the country is heading in the right direction and 83% reported Bangladesh as being a safer place for living. 83% agreed that the education policies are working for the good. The polls not only showed popularity of the current government but also the clear popularity of Bangladesh Awami League (71%) as a political party as compared to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (48%).
A milestone has been set in the nation’s march towards realizing its vision 2021, as envisaged by HPM Sheikh Hasina, to transform Bangladesh into a middle income nation as the country, in its journey of 45 years, for the first time crossed the 7% GDP growth margin, registering a growth at 7.05% in the ongoing fiscal year. It should be noted that despite the global economic crisis, Bangladesh stood as a resilient economy, achieving over 6% growth on an average. Despite BNP-Jamaat's destructive politics, this achievement is testament to the sound economic management of Bangladesh under the prudent leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina-led AL Govt.
With all economic indicators yielding positive outlook, fresh optimism and perception run high that the per capita income in Bangladesh will increase by 11.39% to $1,466 by end of this fiscal year, up from $1316 in last fiscal year. The first nine months of this fiscal year saw the size of the economy grow larger, the garment industry expanding at a rapid pace, expansion in the export industry and the foreign exchange reserves marking record increase. Last year, the country has been elevated to the lower middle income status, thanks to the prudent policy reforms and ensuring its implementations by HPM Sheikh Hasina.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, exports accelerated 9.27% year-on-year to $2.83 billion in March, 2016 on the back of higher shipments of garment, leather and leather goods, and jute and jute goods. Over the last nine months till March, the volume of overall export fetched $24.95 billion, getting closer to the vision set out by the government to earn $33 billion export earnings by this year. Introduction of different cash incentives and other measures such as launching a dedicated trade portal for international businesses have contributed largely to this attainment.
Last month the foreign exchange reserve of the country has hit an all time high as an amount worth $28.27 billion was registered, emulating the progress, often deemed unattainable, in the economic sector, achieved in the last few years. While the country, even back in 2001, had to defer its payment to Asian Clearing Union, this growth is strong enough to cover up the expense of imports for eight months. Experts attributed that rise to steady exports and a slowing import costs and steady remittances from expatriate workers employed overseas.
Plan is laid out to erect as many as four subways (underground railways) across the capital city to give the dwellers a respite from the sprawling traffic. According to the plan, a 32 kilometre long subway worth $5.25 billion will connect Sayedabad with Tongi, and the second subway will connect Aminbazar with Sayedabad, with a total distance of 16 kilometres. The third and fourth routes will connect Gabtoli with Sadarghat, and Rampura with Sadarghat respectively.
Aiming to set up a world standard centre of excellence for burn and plastic surgery treatment, HPM Sheikh Hasina has laid the foundation stone of Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in the city. Inaugurating the construction work, the Premier has reiterated her government’s commitment to set up a separate burn and plastic surgery unit at every medical college hospital around the country. Most of the burn victims, who fell prey to the BNP’s politics of terror, took a sweep at the party and welcomed the move by HPM.
Work is well underway for the construction of the first ever exclusive tourist zone that would fill the hearts of the travelers and tourists with aplenty of latest amenities including hotels, cottages, beach villas, night clubs, a convention hall and an amusement park. To be located in Teknaf, near sea-beach town of Cox’s Bazar, this project would cost the government around $1.66 million only to acquire around 1,028 acres of land. Construction of a marine drive road in the area is well under way and a four-lane road would also be developed to reach the zone.
Over the last seven years, a silent revolution has reshaped the digital spectrum in Bangladesh that thrives out a new world of opportunities for small businesses. Given that the number of internet users reached to 58.31 million in February this year, the entrepreneurs, using that platform, can establish business credibility, expand global footprint and get closer to the customers without investing any bigger amount on office charge and offline promotion.
This week saw a team of European Union representatives arrived in Bangladesh, attending the First Bangladesh-EU Dialogue on Migration Management with an aim to explore the possibilities of wider cooperation on migration and mobility through a possible comprehensive political declaration. During the dialogue, both sides focused on entire spectrum of migration and mobility including global migration situation, Global Forum on Migration and Development, 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in relation to migration, irregular migration and trafficking.
As part of intensified efforts to connect Bangladesh and engage with the rest of the world, the government has proceeded with the move to open up nine new diplomatic missions abroad. This move is part of the Awami League led government's vision to extend the country's diplomatic reach as far as possible. In the last seven years, the government has managed to extend the ambit of diplomatic missions to 14 more countries and managed to cement and foster stronger ties with respective countries.
During a recent visit to Bangladesh, US Under-Secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights Sarah Sewall highly appreciated the enormous progress achieved by Bangladesh in its social and economic sectors. Mentioning Bangladesh's leading role in women empowerment, climate change and sustainable development issues, the US under-secretary sought the country's cooperation in implementing the Plan of Action under the United Nations. While attending a meeting with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, the envoy also relayed a round of applause upon HPM Sheikh Hasina for her unwavering stance to fight terrorism and fundamentalism.
The course of lives of some five million people, stuck in poverty, will take a new turn as the government will launch the village rationing programe, an unique feeding scheme for pulling lives out of poverty,from July next. All the Beneficiaries of the initiative will be given a special card that would entitle them to get 30kg of either rice or wheat at an affordable rate. Moreover, the government would introduce open market sale (OMS) at the union level soon and extend the Vulnerable Group Feeding programme to the remotest part of the country.
Following in the footsteps of her mother HPM Sheikh Hasina, Saima Wazed Hossain has dedicated her life to stand for persons with disabilities and give them their rights to live a normal life. Participating as a panelist at an inaugural discussion arranged by the United Nations to mark the World Autism Awareness Day, she pointed out that fourteen Bangladeshi ministries are coordinately ensuring their rights and their access to socio-economic activities like education and employment. Moreover, HPM Sheikh Hasina said her government would make permanent arrangements for the children with disabilities so that they do not remain neglected in absence of their parents.
Petrobangla and US-based Excelerate Energy signed an agreement to set up Bangladesh's first terminal to handle imported liquefied natural gas and meet growing demand for the energy in the country. The terminal known as a floating storage and re-gasification unit will be set up on the island of Moheshkhali in the Bay of Bengal. The unit will provide natural gas to Chittagong which has been facing an acute gas crisis for a long time. The agreement is the first step of the government to alleviate the gas crisis in the long-term. It would be developed in 23 months while 500 million cubic feet of natural gas per day will be supplied from imported LNG.
The Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has introduced a Digital Complaint Management System (DCMS) aimed at reducing sufferings of the users across the country. From now on, the clients would have option for sharing their innovative ideas along with making suggestions through the newly reorganized client friendly website while the officials would monitor the digital complaint management system to respond earliest to customer's needs.
The Asian Development Bank signed trade finance programme (TFP) agreements worth $40 million with four Bangladeshi banks to support exporters, importers and small and medium enterprises. Under these agreements, the ADB, along with the Bangladeshi partners will provide loans and guarantees to support export and import companies in Bangladesh, including small and medium enterprises which will help spur economic growth and create jobs, according to Steven Beck, head of trade finance of the Manila-based multilateral lender.
Works are put in place by Bangladesh government to ratify the trade facilitation agreement of the World Trade Organisation, committing to an easy flow of goods across borders and lowering the costs of doing business. The TFA is expected to help the developing countries diversify their exports. If the TFA is fully implemented, developing countries could increase the number of new products being exported by as much as 20%.
In a move to inject fresh momentum in the export industry, the central bank has increased its cash incentives for leather, textile and shrimp exporters. The incentive for export of leather goods is increased to 15% from 12.50% while the ceiling of cash incentive for frozen shrimp has been increased to US$4.98 per pound from $3.79 and for other fishes to $1.97 from $1.10. The cash incentive for the export of RMG goods and textile products through cargo shipment has been extended to 4% from existing 2%.
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