Sep 01, 2016
This week saw John Kerry, being the fourth US foreign Secretary, flew into Bangladesh for a whirlwind visit, ushering in a new dawn of hope in the course of getting the growth story of Bangladesh relayed before the world. “Bangladesh has an extraordinary development story,” he tweeted expressing his satisfaction following his meeting with the Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina. The visit took place when the government of Sheikh Hasina is putting in its best to fight terrorism and to transform the country into a developed one. While taking to media, the international dignitary highly appreciated the recent counter terrorism steps and commented that the government is not sitting idle.
Amazed at the tale of fast track progress in national development, British Minister of State for International Development Rory Stewart reiterated that the UK investment programme in Bangladesh will not be affected in the aftermath of the recent spate of terror attacks. According to the Minister, given that Bangladesh has become a 'nursery of innovation' the economy is growing strongly, coupled with a success story in health and education, his country would like to continue the support to Bangladesh for mutual prosperity and growth.
Highly appreciating Bangladesh's stunning success in socioeconomic development, newly appointed Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka Julia Niblett described Bangladesh as the champion of development in terms of economic growth and women empowerment. The comments were made when Australian High Commissioner paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office. Talks of stepping up cooperation between the countries in different sectors were also held during the meeting.
Bangladesh Army Colonel Dr. Nazma Begum has been given a special UN award for her outstanding leadership in the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI).The UN has thanked Bangladesh Army for their invaluable role in ensuring peace across the world. Nazma, who served the UNOCI from February 27 to August 31, 2016 as the first female contingent commander in UNOCI's history, has also been selected for the “Military Gender Advocate of the Year-2016 Award”.
Growth and Development
A revised Strategic Transport Plan (STP) has received a go-ahead this week in a bid to give the entire transport sector a complete overhaul by 2035. This mega plan includes implementation of several large expressways, metro rail, circular ring roads and circular waterway project. The STP was revised to develop the capital's internal road network, ease congestion and build a planned and coordinated modern mass transportation system.
An amount worth $110 million was allocated for implementing 52 development projects under the Department of Fisheries and the Department of Livestock Services for the current fiscal year (2016-17). Of the allocation, the government will provide $85 million and the rest will come as project assistance. This move stands as another testament to the government’s vision to uplift the already growing fisheries industry and to add further push to this momentum.
While the global rate for jobless young population is predicted to take a turn for the worse, Bangladesh will stand as an exception with the employment rate projected to mark a steady and consistent rise this year, according to the latest report of the International Labour Organization (ILO).The World Employment and Social Outlook 2016, mentioned that the current rate of youth unemployment in Bangladesh stood above the average rate for the Southeast Asia, outshining the neighboring countries in South Asia.
Social Justice and Equity
The regional office of Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) disbursed US$ 119 million loan among poor people in the country's north-west region to help them generate their income through self-employment in agricultural and non-agricultural sector. Over 2, 00,000 people including 1, 000,76 women were brought under the credit scheme through forming 6,310 Bittahin Samabaya Samity. Necessary measures were also taken to create short and long-term employment opportunities for socioeconomic development, with intensifying participation of beneficiaries including women in planning and implementation.
A new initiative is rolled out to distribute rice for free among nearly 4,00,000 flood affected families of 17 districts for three months from next month. Under the Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme, each of the flood victim families will get 20 kilogram rice per month from September to November. Besides, the government has already sent 19,481 bundles of corrugated iron sheet for flood-hit families in 19 districts. In related development, the government is set to introduce rice for the poor at 10 TK per kg.
Power and Energy
For the first time the state-owned North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) is going to set up a 7.6MW solar power plant in Sirajganj to generate electricity for the national grid. This plant will be set up on 23.75 acres of land that would cost around US$16.02 million. Under a master plan, a target has been set to produce 3,490 MW that will be implemented by NWPGCL under the master plan. Out of 3,490 MW, 100MW will be based on renewable energy source.
Works are laid out to install single-point mooring with double pipe line at deep sea in the Bay of Bengal for the state-run Eastern Refineries Ltd. A Chinese firm will supervise the work which will help in unloading fuel from tankers in the deep sea to storage facilities on mainland, saving the government US$ 12 million annually. As per the latest project design, two large 36-inch pipelines would be built to pump the oil to a storage facility 16km away on the Matarbari island in Maheshkhali.
Digital Bangladesh
Bangladesh has been experiencing a rapid rise in the number of mobile internet users with the latest figure going up above 60.3 million, as revealed by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). In addition, according to the BTRC website, the total number of the country’s internet subscribers reached 63.91m at the end of July, 2016. Experts credited this milestone to the time bound policies of HPM Sheikh Hasina, alongside a strong supervision of the government to put the policies in practice.
In light of the government vision to transform Bangladesh into a Digital one by 2021, works are underway aiming at creating employment for two million youths in ICT sector. With the implementation of this vision, export earnings in the sector would also be raised to US$ 5 billion. Currently, the government is setting up Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City aimed at creating around 1,00,000 employment for youths by the next 10 years. Last year around $1 billion was earned riding on the back of a skilled workforce.
International and Regional Cooperation
Bangladesh has stressed on “effective” implementation of South Asian free trade agreement or SAFTA and other trade related treaties within the SAARC at the finance ministers’ meeting in Islamabad this week. State Minister for Finance Affairs MA Mannan said many institutional and legal frameworks for regional cooperation had been built up through agreements and programmes covering wide range of areas of importance to the region, but little progress being made towards the aspired goal.
Bangladesh and India have begun a new bus service connecting Khulna and Kolkata, opening up a new horizon in the road connectivity between the countries. West Bengal Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari flagged off the service from Kolkata at 12.30pm on Tuesday that came through the Benapole check post. It is the third direct bus service between the neighbours after Dhaka and Kolkata, and Agartala and Dhaka. Meanhwile, an agreement was struck between the countries for construction of a new Building at Sardah Police Academy.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives