Aug 25, 2016
Secretary General of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Ameen Madani on Friday reiterated his organization's support to Bangladesh to counter terrorism and emphasized on cooperation of member countries in this regard. The statements came when he had a meeting with Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali in Dhaka. In a related development, the UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Robert Watkins assured of working with Bangladesh to prevent violent extremism as he lauded security measures taken by the government following the Gulshan incident.
Banking giant Standard Chartered is optimistic about the economic and growth prospects of Bangladesh despite the recent militant attacks. According to the bank's chief executive for Bangladesh Abrar A Anwar: “We believe there are strengths in the country and in the country's growth outlook, people and clients”. He also stated that the bank’s board has picked Bangladesh as an investment destination. The bank has raised more than $3.5 billion investment in the last four years for the power, energy, aviation and telecom sectors of Bangladesh.
The balance of payments surplus swelled by more than 15% last fiscal year to $5.04 billion thanks to lower import growth than export and an increase in foreign aid. However, Bangladesh Bank projects the surplus will be eroded by half this fiscal year, as the investment scenario is expected to pick up. In fiscal 2015-16, exports grew 8.94% and imports 5.45%, which caused the expansion of the overall surplus, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. During the period, the trade deficit stood at $6.27 billion in contrast to $6.96 billion in fiscal 2014-15.
The construction work of the super structure (upper structure) of Dhaka Elevated Expressway will begin in November this year with the target of completing its first phase by 2018. The government is expecting that the portion of expressway linking Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport with Kamalapur would be completed by 2018. Construction work of the substructure of the expressway has already been done. The 19.73 kilometers expressway will be built at a cost of neasarly $1.2 billion.
Two jetties of Mongla Sea Port will be developed involving $52.74 million under public private partnership (PPP) and an agreement in this regard was signed on Sunday between the Mongla Sea Port Authority and Powerpack Ports Limited. The annual container handling capacity of the port will stand at 1 million TEUs (Twenty Feet Equivalent Unit) after development of the jetties. The government has already implemented seven projects at a cost of $39.4 million for the development of Mongla port, while three more projects are under implementation phases.
The government has taken a mega plan to conduct 2,001 kilometers of river dredging and 690 kilometers of river training over the next 15 years. The aim of this mega plan is to maintain the navigability of rivers, river management from which the country could reap the maximum benefit at a time when siltation is a threat in almost all rivers of the country. The government has taken an initiative for capital dredging and management of major rivers of the country. A feasibility study on capital dredging and sustainable river management in Bangladesh has already been done on 24 rivers of the country and this dredging project follows from that study.
Construction of Chittagong Apparel Zone is likely to start by next October as a joint initiative of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and Chittagong City Corporation (CCC). Over 20 ready-made garment (RMG) industries have already applied for setting up their factories in the proposed zone to be built on land owned by CCC. The construction of buildings in the apparel zone will be completed within three years with financing from RMG owners concerned as per the rate of rent agreed upon by both the parties.
The overall manpower export from Bangladesh is expected to witness a robust growth at the yearend as the officials say as many as 4,52,420 workers have got overseas jobs this year and many more skilled and semi-skilled would go during the rest of 2016. Bangladesh has sent over 10 million overseas workers abroad with employment that has contributed significantly to the socio-economic advancement of the country. As many as 3858,078 workers have gone from Bangladesh to 69 countries till August 17, 2016 from 2009.
The government has extended to 2022 the deadline for a ban on cutting down trees at the country's preserved and natural forests, a measure aimed at protecting biodiversity. A regular Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, approved on Monday the proposal submitted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The deadline on the ban earlier ended on Dec 31 last year. For taking a wide array of measures to protect the environment and tackle the adverse impacts of climate change, HPM Sheikh Hasina won the UNEP’s ‘Champion of Earth’ Award in 2015.
Bangladesh has planned to carry out a census on marginalized communities to pursue the new sustainable development goals or SDGs “leaving no-one behind”. A Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics official told a discussion on Monday that the issue had been discussed in the highest policy approval meeting of the government, the ECNEC. The government plans to carry out the census on over 1OO such communities to know the number of such population, Deputy Director of BBS Dipankar Roy told the discussion organized by three NGOs on ethnic minorities in plain lands.
Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB) has made a commitment to provide 30 million new rural electricity connections by FY 2016-17. The REB would also construct 35,000 kilometre long electricity distribution lines across the country by 2016-2017. The state run organization has also fixed a target to bring system loss down to 11.50 percent, set up six solar charging stations and install 11,000 prepayment metres by FY 2016-17. This is part of the government’s vision of “Electricity for All” by 2021.
The proposed 1,320 megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Maheshkhali, Chittagong is expected to begin its commercial operation by 2022, four years after the singing of the engineering procurement and construction contract (EPC) in 2018. The decision came at the first meeting in Dhaka this week of the Bangladesh-Malaysia Joint Steering Committee, formed to launch joint venture Company to set up the power plant. The meeting decided that the various agreements and studies for construction of the power plant would be completed by December 2016.
The government has approved an over $36 million to acquire 300 acres of land for the 300 to 400-megawatt supercritical coal power plant to be built by it in Munshiganj. This power plant is one of the several that the government will build across the country as part of the power sector master plan. The supercritical power plant would require less coal per megawatt-hour, leading to lower emissions, including carbon dioxide and mercury, higher efficiency and lower fuel costs per megawatt. The plant in Munshiganj will be on the banks of Meghna River, where some 50 families live. The amount stated above will be used for rehabilitating the families elsewhere.
China will provide 1000 ‘water mist fire motorcycles’ fitted with modern technologies and necessary tools for the modernization of Bangladesh’s Fire Service and Civil Defence. These motorcycles would be “highly useful” for fighting fire in crowded Dhaka as they can move quickly within narrow lanes. The 14th session of the Bangladesh-China Joint Commission (JEC) meeting on Monday was told about it. In this regard, two “letters of exchange” have been signed on the motorcycles between the Bangladeshi and Chinese delegations.
As part of efforts to boost trade and improve rail communication, five rail routes will be launched between Bangladesh and India in phases by 2018. According to Bangladesh Railway, freight services will begin on the route from Biral in Dinajpur to Radhikapur in West Bengal by December this year and passenger services on Khulna-Kolkata route via Benapole by early next year. The other three routes are Shahbazpur-Mahisasan, Akhaura-Agartala and Chilahati-Holdibari routes, which will be used for carrying goods. Other routes being considered are Feni-Belonia, Burimari-Changrabandha and Banglabandha-Siliguri.
China plans to extend duty-free benefits to 17 more products from Bangladesh, including leather goods and tobacco, in an effort to deepen trade relations between the two countries. China has long been providing duty-free benefits to 4,700 products, mostly garments from Bangladesh. The assurance came at the end of the 14th session of the biannual Bangladesh-China Joint Economic Commission held in Dhaka this week. Gao Yan, Vice-Minister for Commerce of China, led the Chinese delegation, while the Bangladesh side was led by Mohammad Mejbahuddin, Senior Secretary of the Economic Relations Division.
The country earned US$300 million by outsourcing online in the just concluded 2015-16 fiscal year. IT experts say that Bangladesh has a lot of potentialities to earn more foreign exchange from the sector. They hope to achieve $1 billion export earnings from IT outsourcing within 2020. As Bangladesh has a large number of young populations, the country can be the next top outsourcing destination, if it creates efficient workforce and carries on its development of infrastructure. This achievement and hope comes only years within the government embarking on the “Digital Bangladesh” mission in 2009.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives