June 16, 2016
Bangladesh was elected as one of 21 vice-presidents (VP) of the United Nations General Assembly's 71st session. This achievement will elevate the country a step further to augment its active participation on the global stage. According to UN Bangladesh mission’s First Secretary Bijon Lal Deb, Bangladesh has been elected unanimously and will represent the Asia-Pacific region in the upcoming session. During the last session, HPM Sheikh Hasina with her high profile participation made a place for herself and earned Bangladesh the status of a country whose achievements are internationally recognised.
While the global economy is gripped by an evolving financial crisis, the economic growth rate in Bangladesh continued to ride on a higher trajectory, securing a whopping 7.5% annual growth at the end of this fiscal year. Owing to a set of prudent measures, as envisaged by the present government, the country managed to maintain over 6% growth rate for the last six years. According to a preliminary account, the per capita income in the current fiscal has been increased to $1466, which is 11.4% more than the previous fiscal.
Inflation decelerated 16 basis points month-on-month to 5.45% in May -- the lowest in 43 months. Boro production was bumper and crop production was also good as well -- and they helped in lowering inflation. Last month, food inflation dropped 3 basis points to 3.81% and non-food inflation 42 basis points to 8.34% on the back of the decline in commodity prices. Side by side, the prospects of persistent agricultural growth and improvement in domestic distribution system will help contain food inflation at a tolerable level.
HPM Sheikh Hasina strongly condemned the deadly terrorist attack on a Florida nightclub in the United States and calling for taking collective measures to eradicate this hateful menace from society. In a message to US President Barak Obama, HPM has condemned this dastardly act of terror in the strongest possible term and reiterated her government's zero tolerance policy against any form of terrorism and violent extremism. The prime minister said terrorists must be regarded as terrorists regardless of their colour, creed, origin or orientation.
Growth and Development
Over the last seven years, the present government has trained 1530,982 unemployed youths and helped 429,567 trained male and female youths attain self-dependence. Currently, training schemes to male and female youths are operational on 74 trades while the youth development department is allocating loan to youths for establishing and expanding self-employment projects. Moreover, a new five year scheme is introduced to enhance skills of 14,400 women under the poverty alleviation project in five northern districts at a cost of $41 million.
Bangladesh Railway (BR) signed an agreement with a private company to construct dual gauge railways from Laksham to Akhaura on Dhaka-Chittagong route and turning the existing rail lines into duel gauge. The required fund worth US$ 826 million will be financed jointly by Bangladesh government, Asian Development Bank and European Investment Bank. With the implementation of the project, train journey in between the said route would become faster, giving the travelers a respite.
Last week, a total of seven development projects worth US$ 88.3 million were given a go ahead nod in view of uplifting the course of national progress. One of such projects include construction and repair of roads and footpaths and development of drainage systems in Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) to ease traffic congestion, develop roads, remove water logging and improve footpaths. Another project was also approved for recovering of Buriganga River through re-excavation.
Bangladesh has got its maiden high-tech ocean research vessel last week to assess the country's marine resources within its Bay of Bengal boundary. Equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and other oceanographic research, the research and survey ship will play a tremendous role in managing the marine resources well and improving the lifestyle of around 5 million people living in the country's coastal areas who depend on fishing.
On last Wednesday, the power plants in Bangladesh have generated a record 8,776 megawatts of electricity, the highest in the country’s history, signifying a real and measurable improvement from eight years back when the generation capacity stood out at a mere 4,036MW. After assuming power in 2009, the government led by HPM Sheikh Hasina ensured the capacity was doubled as well as around 76% people brought under electricity coverage.
Works are well underway to construct as many as 31 new power plants in a bid to realize the government’s vision to bring every house under electricity coverage by 2021. With full speed progresses being made, hopes run high that all the plants would go into operation in phases during 2016-2019. Of the 31 under construction power plants, a total of 16 with 5,625-MW capacity are in the public sector and 15 with 3,736-MW capacity in the private sector.
Given that Bangladesh has made out its name as a lucrative investment hub in South Asia, the Board of Investment (BoI) received proposals for local and foreign investment worth $12.72 billion in the last fiscal year, 45.46% up from the previous fiscal. Proposals for local, joint and 100% foreign investment of US$ 12.6 billion were registered with the BoI in the last fiscal year, while all the proposals amounted to $8.6 billion in last year.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed between Bangladesh and China for the development of an exclusive China economic zone at Anwara Upazila in Chittagong. Once it goes operational, the zone will accommodate around 400 factories that will attract around US$2 billion Chinese investment within three years while employment opportunities for 1,50,000 people will also be created. To be built on 774 acres of land, the project would get around 290 acres of land from the government.
A plan is set in motion to increase the number of the existing beneficiaries in the sector of insolvent disabled allowance by 25% and raising their allowance to US$ 8 from US$ 6 in the new fiscal year. During the last fiscal year, the government has allocated US$ 45.7 million for 6,00,000 insolvent disabled persons while that males over 65 years and females over 62 years are entitled to elderly allowance in Naogaon like other districts of the country.
A 50 day training scheme is initiated in northern Bangladesh to equip transgender people with adequate skill development training for improving their living and livelihood condition. The training will help the extremely excluded population free from being subjected to repression, discrimination and negligence in every spheres of their life.
A ship carrying 1,000 tonnes of steel and iron sheets, bound for Tripura, has reached Ashuganj river port on last Wednesday as Bangladesh and India launched formal transit trade and transportation. With this new move Bangladesh would get the authorization to use Indian territories for transporting goods to Nepal and Bhutan and similarly, India would access Myanmar by crossing over Bangladesh. Earlier this month, a Bangladeshi ship sailed from Kolkata and reached the port in Khulna's Angtihara.
China and India have conveyed their commitment to provide Bangladesh with necessary assistances in the latter’s endeavour to tap its marine resources. From India’s part, an instrument was struck and capacity building and training, sharing of information and joint research in several areas have been identified as the possible areas of cooperation. Moreover, Beijing floated a proposal that incorporates formation of a joint working group to find out the required areas of cooperation.
People living in remote rural areas can now easily learn computer programming, as the government has launched an e-learning platform—www.eshikkha.net—that offers lessons on computer programming in Bangla. The site will get a complete look in six months with the inclusion of lessons in English and lessons on physics, mathematics, chemistry and basic science. According to experts, all the upazilas are now connected through fiber optic cables and all the unions will be covered soon, which will boost ICT use in the country.
Steps have been taken to turn 10,000 entrepreneurs into info-leaders who will disseminate information about the grassroots level development activities of the government properly. The move came as part of government plans to build the country's 4550 Union Digital Centres as an individual Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre in future. In a related development, seven digital buses will be introduced by the government as part of a new training scheme that would provide around 1,66,000 rural women with training on information technology enabled service (ITES).
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives