Feb 02, 2017
Given that over one fourth work has already been accomplished, the dream for the largest and the longest infrastructure undertaking in Bangladesh–Padma Multipurpose bridge-- has started to appear as a distinct reality now. Completely a self-funded project worth $3.65 billion, the bridge site is filled with labourers, workers and engineers who are toiling hard day and night to get it open for traffic by 2018. Capable of standing against floods and earthquakes, this largest project will usher in a new dawn in lives of 30 million southerners.
This week Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the month-long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela and the three-day International Literature Conference on the Bangla Academy premises. Dedicated to the supreme sacrifices of language heroes of 1952, this book fair got the recognition as the biggest book fair of the world in terms of duration, said the Premier. As many as 663 stalls to 409 organisations were allocated while strict security measures have been taken in and around the fair venue to avert any unpleasant incident.
With the economy growing at a rate over 7%, Finance Minister AMA Muhith lent out high optimism that the country will continue to maintain a stable economic outlook this year. While all the key macroeconomic indicators are signaling a robust growth, a marked progress is also vindicated in poverty alleviation and ensuring social justice for all. Now that target has been set to take the growth at a staggering 7.11%, Bangladesh is also turning out as a sweet spot for global investment.
The World Bank approved a $300 million fund for Bangladesh to empower the local governments that would benefit more than 110 million residents. Under the scheme, discretionary funds would enable communities to decide and implement local development priorities at grassroots level. The project will also be expanded to the urban local government and pilot a fiscal transfer system in 16 municipalities in all eight divisions of the country.
A master plan has been taken up to improve navigability of the waterways across the country. Under the master plan, extensive river dredging will be conducted during a period of 15 years or more at a cost over $240 billion. An agreement has already been signed to procure four dredgers while another deal has been forged for procuring water transport and equipment. In the last seven years, dredging works have been completed of 786.00 lakh cubic meter, alongside a total of 908-kilometre river-ways have been made navigable.
Some 123 fire service stations at different upazila sadar and important places have been set up across the country. Moreover, owing to a host of initiatives, construction of 34 more stations is underway now while 200 more will be built in phases under three projects. With an aim to build minimum a fire station at every upazila, the government has bought different modern equipment including vehicles, ambulances and others in a bid to bolster the country’s capability in facing different disasters like earthquake, fire or road accidents.
The government will provide farmers in 64 districts across the country with financial assistance worth over 4 million to help them access the latest environment-friendly technology and safe pesticides for the cultivation of different types of Aush paddy, vegetable, jute and sugarcane to. For cultivating highbred Aush, each farmer will get US$14 for procurement of agriculture equipment while an amount worth US$ 9 will be allocated for Neriko Aush farming.
Works are well underway to set up a solar project capable of producing 200 megawatt in the Cox's Bazar district. To this end, an agreement has been struck between a US based firm and the government to set up the project by next 18 month. The solar power plant will receive a tariff of 17 US cent/kWh or Tk 13.6/kWh for a period of 20 years on a no power, no payment basis.
In a bid to drastically reduce the time for new electric connections to investors, a new project has been devised and rolled out to ensure businesses and investors will be provided with electric connections within a space of a month. To this end, a seminar has been organized by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) that drew a spontaneous participation from all top officials of all relevant ministries. This move coincides with the government’s vision to improve Bangladesh's ranking in the World Bank’s ‘doing business’ ratings.
Works are well underway to implement the government's aim of setting up 100 economic zones (EZs) across the country to make Bangladesh an investment hub and an export-centric country. To this end, the government has acquired 15,528 acres of land while another 20,000 acres of land will be acquired within the current year. Of the 100 EZs, infrastructure development works, land acquisition, development of land, appointment of developers and ensuring uninterrupted supply of electricity for 74 economic zones are now under process.
The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has signed a six-year agreement with the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) to improve the business environment in the country. Under the agreement, IFC would support policy reforms to improve business environment and to help BIDA to have one-stop services, and to act as a very effective investment and facilitation agency. The project titled ‘Investment Climate Fund’ would have $2OO million for six years technical assistance.
HPM Sheikh Hasina has held a meeting with Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, on his first-ever state visit to Bangladesh. After a brief discussion, they took part in a bilateral meeting where the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The Palestine President arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday on a three-day visit at the invitation of his Bangladesh counterpart Md Abdul Hamid, who received him at the airport.
Dhaka and Moscow have expressed confidence in building up supportive and comprehensive economic partnership between the two countries to realise the full potential of bilateral relations. This has reflected in the messages of foreign ministers of Bangladesh and the Russian Federation, who exchanged messages of felicitations to mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Bangladesh and the Russian Federation (then USSR) established diplomatic ties on January 25, 1972.
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