Dec 08, 2016
Exports rose 5.46% to $2.89 billion in the month of November, propelled by strong performance of apparel, leather goods, jute and jute goods and shrimp. According to latest data from the Export Promotion Bureau, this registered amount beat the monthly target by $196.32 million and is higher than October’s by $180 million. In addition, export of leather, leather products and footwear, the second biggest export earning sector, grew 16.62% to $533 million year-on-year during the July-November period.
The rate of inflation fell to 5.38% in November due to decline in prices of some food items like rice, fishes, vegetables, oil and other daily essentials. The point-to-point inflation was slightly lower than that in the previous month--5.56%, but it was substantially lower than that in the same month last year 6.05%, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) figures released this week. In between December and November this year, the annual average inflation also dropped by 0.61 percentage point to 5.60% from 6.21% in the corresponding period of last year.
Bangladesh received $1.51 billion net foreign direct investment during first three quarters in the current fiscal year which is 4.86% higher than $1.44 billion over the corresponding period last year. Political stability, higher return of investment, less risk of investment and reinvestment of earnings contributed largely to this achievement. Given that a plethora of opportunities have been put in place, the world's biggest investors like JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Suisse Bank and PwC have shown their interests to invest in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is set to send an infantry battalion and an engineering company of armed forces to maintain peace in war-torn South Sudan. Bangladesh has also received an offer of contributing an engineering company of 260 personnel last month. Both the infantry battalion and engineering company are expected to be deployed shortly under "United Nations Mission in South Sudan" (UNMISS).
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
This week, the government approved as many as 13 mega schemes, at a cost of $19 billion, including Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and a rail bridge over the Jamuna River. Bangladesh has already received $500 million for initial work of the 2,400 MW power plant project, which began last July and is expected to be complete by December 2025. Once implemented, such schemes would result in a landmark transformation in the course of national progress and prosperity for all.
Works are laid out to ensure around 0.2 million small institutions be brought under digital connectivity to boost up business and economy in remote areas. To this goal, a number of 10,000 points of presence at business growth centres will be set up across the country to expand digital financial services and e-commerce. Computer labs will be set up at 15,000 educational institutions. A digital money pay point and a payment gateway platform will also be set up.
Growth and Development
The government has planned to construct 87 bridges in important points across the country in a bid to improve rural road connectivity and help boost agricultural production. Out of the 87 bridges, a hydrological and morphological feasibility study for 37 bridges has already been completed. The main project operations include construction of some 18,550 metres of main bridge, 45,100 metres approach and access roads, some 150 hectare land acquisition, and some 10,150 metres of river training works.
An agreement has been forged between the government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for a new development project, focusing on sustainable and inclusive development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).The planned amount for the new project is $31.6 million, of which about $14.6 million is being funded jointly by Denmark, SAARC Development Fund, USAID and UNDP. Focus has been laid out for inclusiveness of all communities in the area.
Owing to a comprehensive measure, as put in place by the government, Bangladesh has sent a total of 3.6 million workers abroad during the last eight years since 2009. With introduction of a good number soft skills training and language centers across the country, the government has gained success in building up a skilled workforce. In addition, on the back of successful diplomacy, 1.07 million Bangladeshi undocumented workers in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Iraq, have been legalized over the years.
To ensure equality of opportunity for all, the government has built a database of some 1.5 million physically challenged people of the country and will work to find out the reasons behind disabilities and to curb them. Moreover, announcement has been made that all people with disabilities will get smart identity cards by the end of December 2017. HPM Sheikh Hasina, along with her daughter Saima Wazed, placed a raft of such measures to merge people, with special needs, in the mainstream part of the society.
Trade and Investment
Riding on the robust growth of garment exports, Bangladesh outperformed the other Asia-Pacific countries in merchandise shipments between 2010 and 2015, according to the latest report by the UNESCAP. During the period, Bangladesh's exports grew 14% while the average export growth of the Asia-Pacific region was 7.5%. This has been credited mainly to the country's strong competitiveness in the labour-intensive textile and garment industries and an abundance of low-wage workers.
Bangladesh Bank has created $200 million Green Transformation Fund for export-oriented textile and leather manufacturing industries. Six private commercial banks will receive funds from the central bank and provide loans to the export based textile and leather factories for transforming them into green ones. More loans will be given under the fund through other participatory banks to maintain green environment in the manufacturing factories.
International and Regional Cooperation
The traditional procession brought out on Pohela Boishakh - the first day of the Bangla New year - has got recognition of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as an 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'. The recognition was given at the 11th session of UNESCO'S Inter-Governmental Committee on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Bangladesh, already a self-sufficient country in food production, is to see a further jump in crop yield in near future as $20.1 million would be invested by China to grow mainly paddy in the draught and saline prone areas. To this end, the government under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will carry out continuous research as to how to increase the crop production in the country's 1 million hectares of drought and saline prone lands, now growing limited amount of paddy and other crops.
Bangladesh's e-commerce recorded an impressive growth of about 67% in the first three quarters of 2016, taking the total e-commerce transactions to $ 50 million. According to a study by Kaymu Bangladesh, a leading online shopping community, a large young population and high rate of internet penetration have made Bangladesh a booming market for global e-commerce giants in recent years.
China's mobile handset brand Infinix is making a foray into Bangladesh, aiming to capture a share of the country's fast-growing smartphone market. The company will roll out three models in Bangladesh this week, all of which will be priced at less than $252. In a bid to capitalize a market stretching over 120 million active users, as many as 11 service centres of the brand has already been set up in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives