July 21, 2016
Last week, Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina went to Mongolia on a three-day official visit to attend the 11th Summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) where she reiterated her unflinching commitment to put all possible measures on ground in wiping out the root of terrorism from her country, saying a national consensus has been developed in people against terrorism. Moreover, the Bangladesh Premier laid importance on smooth connectivity among all countries and communities to secure peace, stability and prosperity saying connectivity should be taken as a strategic opportunity.
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) leaders have highly praised HPM for her unyielding strides to combat terrorism and assured that their countries would remain with Bangladesh in fighting the demon. The appreciation came during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s meetings with Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Myanmar President Htin Kyaw, Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the fringes of the Summit.
Bangladesh is the second largest apparel exporter in the world, after China. The market share of Bangladesh, in the $503 billion global garment items is 5.1%, according to data from the International Trade Statistics of the World Bank. Bangladesh exported garment items worth $25.50 billion in 2014-15 fiscal and the earning from garment export during first 11 months (July-May) of the current fiscal year is $25.08 billion.
Russia has approved a deal to lend $11.38 billion to build Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP), ushering in a landmark era to realize the dream of country’s first ever nuclear power plant. The project is expected to cost $12.65 billion with the rest of the funding coming from Bangladesh government. Having two reactors with 1,200 MW capacities each, the first reactor is planned to start in 2022, the second will be open a year later. The lifespan of the reactors is 60 years with an option to extend it by 20 years.
Growth and Development
The government plans to open adolescent-friendly corners at every Union Health and Family Welfare Centre in the country within the next five years to provide reproductive and sexual health services, with 100 such corners already serving. In light of the Sustainable Development Goals, the government will gradually set up such facilities at all 4,337 family welfare centres in the next five years under health, population and nutrition sector development programme.
As many as 13 projects worth $15.8 million have been initiated by the government to intensify the efforts for a marked increase in the afforestation scheme to face the adverse impacts of climate change. The projects include sapling collection for afforestation, plantation of trees on embankments in coastal areas and dried up riverbeds. While five of such schemes are completed, HPM Sheikh Hasina has introduced annual national awards in 10 categories to encourage general people to play a significant role in protecting environment and ecology for country's sustainable green growth.
Within a space of seven years, a total of 9,000 new academic buildings of different school, colleges and madrasas had been constructed across the country, thanks to the sincere efforts as put in place by the government. As part of government pledge, works are well underway for the construction of infrastructure development in 2,657 more institutions. Such accomplishments have stood out as a shining testament to the government’s pledge-bound commitment to provide adequate facilities in ensuring education for all in the country.
The government decided to appoint China Railway Group Limited for building railway from Dhaka to Jessore through Padma Bridge at a cost of US$ 3.14 billion. Of the total railway, the main line comprises 172 kilometres while 43.22 kilometres are loop lines. The Chinese government will provide substantial funding the project cost while Bangladesh government will spend the rest from its own coffers.
In the wake of stepped up efforts to meet the ever growing demand of water, the Asian Development Bank has come up with $275 million in fresh loans for Bangladesh to help improve and expand the water supply system in Dhaka. The new project is targeting 24-hour piped water supplies to an additional 6.5 million people in the new district metered areas by 2022, helping more than seven million people in Dhaka get access to safe, regular and affordable water services.
Bangladesh enters into a final deal with USA to set up Bangladesh's first LNG terminal, which will handle imported liquefied natural gas and supply those to the national grid from early 2018. Plans are set in motion to set up four land-based LNG terminals and one or two floating storage and re-gasification units. The LNG terminal, also called floating storage and re-gasification unit, will have the capacity to supply 500 million cubic feet (MMCF) of gas per day.
State-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) with a Malaysian consortium of Tenaga Nasional Berhad and Powertek Energy Sdn Berhad to build a 1,320-megawatts (MW) coal-fired power plant at Moheshkhali in Chittagong. It will help generate electricity cost-effectively, and the cost of the proposed power plant project will be around US$ 2.50 billion, of which 70% will be sourced through debt financing and the remaining 30% through equity.
Trade and Investment
Garment exports to China and Japan, two new markets, soared in fiscal 2015-16 -- the strongest sign yet of the growing stature of Bangladesh's apparel sector in global trade. Last fiscal year, garment exports to Japan stood at $774.47 million, up 18.68 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. Some $341.22 million of garment items were shipped to China in fiscal 2015-16, an increase of 11.9% from a year earlier.
A report, released by World Investment Forum (WIF), deemed the existing set of law put in place in Bangladesh is strong enough to safeguard foreign investment in the country. Mentioning that Bangladesh for its geographical location is turning into a "Hub of Investment", the report further voiced that hard working people, availability of gas and land and social stability along with easy sea and air connectivity has made the country a best place for investment.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority or Beza plans to launch a one-stop service to provide investors with investment-related services from a single platform. Once the law is enacted, investors will not face the hassles of going from one office to another for their work. A deal has been struck with a software development company for installation of an integrated automated system. Under the agreement, the investors will primarily be provided with five kinds of services: project clearance or proposal for investment, name clearance, work permit recommendation and permit for import and export.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between Access to Information (a2i) programme and Green Delta Insurance Company Limited to provide insurance service through union digital centres. Initially, the centres will provide insurance service on a pilot basis and will gradually be scaled up to all the centres across the country. By providing the insurance policies, the agents in the digital centres will be getting a specific commission for each policy sold, adding insurance with the agent banking service and giving the Financial Inclusion programme a further boost.
People will soon be able to get ICT services and job-related suggestions by dialing 2041 and 105 directly. The services will be provided under the national help desk, which is being set up currently. The help desk will be rolled out shortly. Currently, the ICT division runs a customer complaint centre on the 16364 short code.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives