Jan 26, 2016
Finance Minister Abdul Maal Abdul Muhith has pinned hopes that that Bangladesh will witness a surge in economic growth in next two years while the growth rate would reach at a record high at 8%. Given that, a remarkable growth is achieved in poverty alleviation, foreign exchange continues to reach newer heights, flow of investment sets new milestones and inflation remains at a tolerable level. Moreover, disparity of wealth is reducing fast and employment opportunities are opening up also. A number of international financial organizations lent out high optimism on their growth forecast.
Owing to intensified diplomatic efforts, around five to seven lakh Bangladeshi workers are going to get jobs in different sectors in Malaysia this year. The procedure for recruitment of the workers will begin next month and the recruitment will be done online. On January 19, Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited Malaysia to attend an international seminar. Moreover, efforts are put in place to ensure workers be provided with at least a hundred thousand smart cards.
A group of visiting Japanese tourists found Bangladesh safe and its people filled with dreams. Clearly happy with their sojourn that began on January 20, the tourists enjoyed their last night in the country as guests at a banquet hosted in their honour by Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Rashed Khan Menon. During the banquet, the tourists heaped praises on Bangladesh while narrating their experiences in the country, which they have come to visit within five months of a terror attack that claimed the lives of seven of their compatriots.
Power and Energy
In sync with government’s promise to ensure electricity for all by 2021, a total of 16 new power projects have been given a go-ahead nod with the capacity to generate 975 megawatts(MW) of electricity. Of the 16 projects, BPDB has already signed the power purchase agreement (PPA) with a proposed project having the capacity to generate 82 MW of electricity. Besides, the government issued Letter of Intend (LOI) to another five power projects while the signing of PPAs with those renewable energy schemes and other projects must be completed as per the stipulated timeframe.
The government has targeted to generate 697MW electricity from renewable energy sources within 2019 to take the country on the path of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the country. According to official statistics, some 50,00,000 Solar Home System, Solar Irrigation 441, Solar Drinking Water System 122, Biogas Plant 45,070, Improved Cook Stove 30,22,213, Improved Rice Parboiling System 75 have been installed in the country. Another agreement has been signed to agreement to install a solar park having capacity of 200 MW solar power at Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar.
Growth and Development
A project worth $29.8 million has been taken up for rural women to make them self-reliant through income-generating training at upazila level across the country. While the project period has been fixed from January 2017 to December 2018, the Department of Women Affairs will implement the scheme to train up rural women so that they can find jobs or become self-employed. Rural women will receive a four-month training on various trades, including tailoring, tourism, handicraft, mushroom growing, carpet making, salesmanship, mobile phone repairing, and computer handling.
The government has rolled out a project involving $47 million to renovate or re-excavate various water bodies, including ponds and dighis, of zila parisad across the country for preserving and supplying potable water. Under the project, 809 ponds would be re-excavated across the country and 43 ponds, owned by zila parisad, would also be re-excavated in rural areas.
Trade and Investment
A master plan to place Bangladesh among the top 100 countries in the World Bank’s 'ease of doing business' rankings within the next five years will be in the public domain this month. To this end, a good number of measures have been devised to reduce time and cost for doing business. By the end of this month, a roadmap will be finalised for every government agency, which would specify how many days it would take an investor to start his/her business, get the relevant permits and electricity connection.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian government, exports to Australia soared 38.1% year-on-year to $703.22 million in fiscal 2015-16. Australia became a major export destination for Bangladesh under the government's stimulus package for new markets. Over the next five years, shipments to Australia are expected to grow 33.8%, DFAT said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has pledged to provide Bangladesh with financial assistance worth $200 million for accelerating economic growth and to encourage development of the country's Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Under this agreement, this money will be spent on accelerating the development of SMEs, especially SMEs in rural and nonurban areas, by improving their access to medium- and long-term credit.
International and Regional Cooperation
Bangladesh's strongest ever participation under the able leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina in the just-concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2017 has successfully contributed to making "positive branding" of the country, further brightening its image on the world stage. HPM Sheikh Hasina led the Bangladesh delegation to the meeting and discussed issues relating to trade, commerce, development, climate change, water and security at global and regional levels.
Bangladesh and Cambodia made a fresh push to revive dormant bilateral trade initiatives, with Phnom Penh hosting the first-ever conference and exhibition for a delegation of leading Bangladeshi companies. Plans are laid out to utilize comparative advantages and complementarities of our manufacturing industry and global imports and exports, given that the two countries have every potential to double bilateral trade volume and diversify bilateral trade baskets within the next half decade.
Digital Bangladesh
Yearly transactions through mobile financial services (MFS) have increased by more than 37% in 2016, the latest Bangladesh Bank (BB) data shows, an upsurge which has been attributed to the proliferation of MFS in the country's far-flung areas. The number of transactions through MFS channels, at the same time, has also increased by around 18.7% during the same period. Industry insiders have attributed this growth to the proliferation of mobile banking agent outlets that has helped coverage of greater number of unbanked people by the MFS even in the remote areas of the country.
In a bid to take the internet to every citizen’s doorstep, the government has taken up a $1 billion project. The project also seeks to construct multimedia labs, hardware technology development centres, computer training centres, providing biometric devices to register students, setting up internet hotspots at public places frequented by youths and other benefits. Connectivity span of 10 Point of Presence (online transaction centres), and Growth Centres will be expanded.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives