Oct 13, 2016
Strategic cooperative partnership between Dhaka and Beijing is set to enter a new level during the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is scheduled to arrive on Friday for a 22-hour visit. It would be the first time a Chinese president is paying a state visit to Bangladesh in the past 30 years. On a related note, HPM Sheikh Hasina, in an interview with the China’s state-run news agency Xinhua, hailed the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative, and said Bangladesh is also working to connect growth centres of the country with the rest of the region in South Asia and create a single economic contiguity between South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Bangladesh has been elected as one of the members from Asian-Oceania group of the Postal Operation Council (POC) of Universal Postal Union (UPU). A total of 147 countries voted to elect the POC member in the congress. With this victory, Bangladesh will be able to contribute significantly to different policy making issues such as postal services, charge fixing and technical assistance etc.
Growth and Development
The government has entered into a deal with a Chinese company to upgrade the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway into a four-lane one with service lanes on both sides. Under the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway four-lane upgrading project, 60 small bridges, four flyovers and 27 box culverts will also be built. The 226-kilometre highway from Kanchpur to Sylhet would be upgraded at an estimated cost of nearly $2.2 billion.
The grain silo near Mongla port is set to become operational by the end of this month, enabling the food directorate to unload imported wheat without pilferage and store the cereal for distribution in the south and southwest region. The silo, constructed at $73.7 million on the bank of Pashur river at Joymonirghol, has the capacity to store 50,000 tonnes of wheat. Grains storing may begin by unloading 21,000 tonnes of imported wheat from a ship that is likely to arrive at Mongla by the third week of this month.
Works are well underway for implementing the Dasherkandi Sewage Treatment Plant project, aimed at protecting the nearby Hatirjheel project and providing cent percent environment-friendly sewerage facility to city dwellers. In this endeavor, China has agreed to provide Bangladesh with required financial assistances worth $280 million in loan. Once implemented, the project will help make the Balu River water free from pollution through treating the sewage of Hatirjheel and the adjacent areas.
To boost agricultural production in the changing climatic situation, the government of Bangladesh has released one more stress tolerant paddy variety for farmers’ demonstration, making the number of such varieties to 18. The newly-released BRRI Dhan 78, an Aman variety developed by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), can cope with saline and submergence situation simultaneously. This stress tolerant high-yielding paddy variety can produce 4.5 to 7 tonnes in each hectare and is less affected by diseases and pest attacks.
Social Justice and Equity
A total of 800,000 ready-made garment factory workers from 585 factories across the country will receive training on occupational safety and health under EOSH programme. The announcement was made at the launch of a third phase of ‘Essentials of Occupational Safety and Health (EOSH)’ designed by the International Labour Organisation’s International Training Centre in Turin. The training for workers covers seven priority areas for the RMG sector namely fire safety, electrical safety, trips, slips, falls and good housekeeping, dangerous substances, ergonomics, personal protective equipment and first aid.
According to a new survey, around 20% of Bangladeshi social enterprises are led by women, accounting for 41% of the full time equivalent workforce; more than double of their participation rate in the general workforce. The British Council, United Kingdom's international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, launched two new survey reports, which stated that the participation of women in part time jobs is 53% and 47% in full time jobs this year.
Trade and Investment
Bangladesh's export earnings rose by 4.12% to $8.08 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2016-17) against the same period in the last FY, according to data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). As per the EPB data, RMG sector’s export earnings has earned $6.66 billion posting a 3.52% rise compared to $6.43 billion in the same period a year ago. The knitwear exports grew 4.64% to $3.40 billion while woven product exports gained 2.38% to $3.26 billion compared to $3.19 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Owing to these increases, experts believe that Bangladesh can become the number one apparel exporter in a decade.
The government is set to frame a 'national mango action plan' making contract farming compulsory to enhance exports of the fruit. The action plan has given priority to capacity building of relevant stakeholders including farmers, frontline staff, buyers, exporters, service providers and traders. Support for farmers, orchard management, pest and disease control, weeding, cleaning and disposal of crop residues and waste, drop fruits etc have to follow modern scientific methods as per the plan.
International and Regional Cooperation
Bangladesh and German foreign ministers have discussed all aspects of bilateral relations in an official meeting in Berlin this week and agreed to work closely to strengthen and expand areas of mutual cooperation. During a meeting last Friday, both ministers also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the on-going refugee and migration crisis in Europe. Both sides also discussed the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism and vowed to work together to address these global challenges.
Bangladesh and Thailand have signed a framework deal on cooperation in cyber security, e-governance and development of the information technology industry. The signing took place in Bangkok when Bangladesh’s State Minister for ICT Affairs met Thailand Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Juntong. Under the framework cooperation deal, both countries become pledge bound in knowledge sharing, technical cooperation, training, bilateral investments, women in IT and sharing of best policy practices including on cyber security and BPOs.
The 2nd Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) has endorsed Bangladesh's proposal to be a co-prime mover in the Working Groups on Connectivity and Food, Water and Energy Security under the ACD Vision for Asia Cooperation-2030. According to experts, it has been a foreign policy aspiration of Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina to work closely with all Asian neighbours to realize the vision of a prosperous, peaceful and seamlessly connected Asian continent.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives