Feb 09, 2017
Bangladesh has the potential to become the world's 23rd largest economy by 2050, overtaking countries such as Netherlands, Australia, Spain, Thailand and Malaysia, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). PwC also predicted that Bangladesh would be the 28th largest economy by 2030, up from 31st in 2016. It is also mentioned that the country will benefit from its youthful and fast growing working-age population, boosting domestic demand and output. Given the current speed of growth, projections are laid out that this country would overtake Malaysia by 2050.
The ministers of education and heads of delegations of the E-9 countries adopted an eight-point Dhaka Declaration, pledging to ensure inclusive and equitable education to all by 2030. The E-9 initiative is working on the common educational goals of nine countries -- Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Pakistan -- representing more than half the world's population and two-thirds of the world's non-literate youths and adults. Addressing the inaugural session of the event, HPM Sheikh Hasina said that Bangladesh can achieve inclusive and equitable quality education by 2030 braving all the challenges.
Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Ignatov has extoled the leadership of HPM Sheikh Hasina, saying that the authorities of Bangladesh are actively dealing with the threat of terrorism. In a recent interview, marking the 45th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Russia and Bangladesh, the envoy pointed out that Russia has the necessary legal basis to develop cooperation with Bangladesh in this sphere and assist it in fighting terror. Moreover, high optimism has been lent out as regards to the opening up of a new chapter of bilateral cooperation between the countries in all the sectors.
This week the cabinet gave the go-ahead for the setting up of a fund with money from the foreign currency reserves, which would be used for government investment in long-term projects. Primarily the fund will start with $2 billion and it will be raised in phases to $10 billion in five years. This sovereign wealth fund, could be set up as soon as this July and be used for investments in seven sectors, including power, energy and in large infrastructure projects. Plans are laid out to form an advisory council or an expert panel, consisting eminent citizens and experts on the financial sector, to review the fund management and make recommendations for the board.
A new plan has been devised and worked out to construct a 220-km elevated expressway with a multimodal transport corridor over the existing Dhaka-Chittagong highway to boost trade ensuring faster communication between the two major cities. Once the elevated expressway is constructed with rail tracks costing Tk 80,000 crore, passengers will be able to travel from Dhaka to Chittagong or Chittagong to Dhaka within one hour by speedy trains while it will take two hours by buses. In addition to easing traffic, this effort would save huge agricultural land, bazaars, mosques, educational institutions and establishments from destruction by constructing another expressway through land.
An initiative is well underway to increase the capacity of existing runway and taxiway of Osmani International Airport in Sylhet. The airport will be modernised in a way that various aircraft, including wide-bodied Boeing-777 model planes, can land and take off there. According to the planning ministry proposal, the number of international flights arriving at the Sylhet airport almost doubled to 314 in 2013 compared with that in 2006. More runways will be added as the condition of the existing runways has deteriorated over the years because of the increasing number of flights.
The government has raised the subsidy to farmers for purchase of agriculture machinery to 50 percent with a view to expanding mechanised seeding, transplanting and harvesting such that growers can produce more food at a reduced cost. Moreover, the ratio of subsidy has also been increased to 70% for buying certain types of farm machines by farmers in haors and the southern coastal zones. The project also aims to enhance cropping intensity and reduce post-harvest losses. Under the revised scheme, the government will provide combine harvester, reaper, rice transplanter, power thresher and seeder at half the prices to a select group of growers at the upazila level.
Envisaged and implemented by HPM Sheikh Hasina, the 'Ekti Bari Ekti Khamar (One House, One Farm) project has created scopes for employment and poverty alleviation of about 30 million people across the country. From 2011 to June 30, 2016, a total of 12 million people from 40,527 wards in 4,503 unions of the country were added to the project through 40,213 village associations. Moreover, an association has been formed with participation of 60 poor families, including 40 women, in every village under the scheme.
Decision has been taken to begin disbursing money to the country's garments workers from a central fund, which was designed for welfare of workers in the export-oriented apparel sector.. The fund, apart from ensuring welfare, is also aimed at addressing untoward incidents. According to the decision, the government will start providing insurance money to the workers with effect from October last. Deceased workers will get help from the board from January last. According to rules in line with the Bangladesh Labour Act 2013, the owners of export-oriented garment industries contribute 0.03% of export value to the workers' welfare fund.
Exports brought home $3.31 billion last month, up 4% from a year earlier, driven by higher shipments of garment. The amount was 6.43% higher than the previous month's receipts but fell short of the target of $3.40 billion. January's receipts take the export earnings for the first seven months of fiscal 2016-17 to $20.11 billion, a 4.36% increase from a year earlier. Garments, which typically account for 80% of the export receipts, raked in $2.7 billion, up 3.05% year-on-year and 4.65% month-on-month.
Bangladesh has received $30.43 million orders at the month-long Dhaka International Trade Fair, which is more than double the direct sale at the fair. According to organizers, DITF will continue to encourage such innovative activities while this fair will be held in a broader space in future. Awards were distributed among the companies for the attractiveness of pavilions and stalls.
Works are well underway to enact a digital security act to prevent cyber-crimes and track down cyber criminals. Under the law, the government for the first time would set up a world standard forensic lab to prevent cyber-crime, track down cyber criminals and test various devices. As many as 21 critical infrastructures across the country are identified through nine meetings while a cyber security guideline was also prepared.
Bangladesh is going to connect with the second submarine cable on February 21 to get another 1500 gbps bandwidth. This move, once become operational, would help the country a great deal in realizing its dream of achieving Vision 2021- transforming the future of the country into a technologically advanced one. Over the last five years, the number of internet users marked a significant rise, opening up new horizons for the youths to get involved in IT outsourcing.
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