May 18, 2017
Bangladesh's gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached 7.24% this fiscal year, beating all the previous records in the history of the country’s economy, according to a provisional estimate by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS). Meanwhile, per capita income rises to $1,602, which was $1,466 in the last fiscal year. The economic growth reached the record high, riding on buoyant exports and robust agricultural outputs. In last six years, Bangladesh has been amongst the top performing economies in Asia, averaging an annual growth rate over 6%. This milestone stands as a shining testament to the government’s commitment to fulfill its electoral pledge in making Bangladesh a middle income nation by 2021.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) South Asia Department Director General Hun Kim said Bangladesh has appeared as an emerging economy and is doing right in terms of policy formulation and development project implementation. Speaking at a briefing in Yokohama, the expert made the comments, projecting that the country would set new economic milestones, owing to a set of policies envisaged and being put in practice by the present government over the last six years.
In the aftermath of that grisly attack last July, the country's security forces and agencies swung into relentless action, giving a lie to allegations of complacency leveled against them by detractors of the government. In the last seven months, at least 77 radicals were neutralized during raids conducted by law enforcing agencies. On the other hand, following the attempted suicide bombings in Dhaka in March, HPM Sheikh Hasina appealed to misguided militants to shun violence aimed at weaning away the less radicalised elements to return to normal life , for which Hasina promised adequate rehabilitation.
The female migration from Bangladesh has increased by 217% in the last five years as some new destinations have opened up for their overseas earnings. The female migration for the overseas jobs was 56,400 in 2013, 76,007 in 2014, and 103,718 in 2015 while there are .3 million Bangladeshi migrants are working abroad till April 2017. Jordan is the top Bangladeshi worker recruiter over the last five years, followed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Lebanon and Qatar.
Bangladesh has ranked 28th among 41 economies in the Asia-Pacific region on access to physical infrastructure index, an UNESCAP report has said. According to the report, resealed from the UN agency's Bangkok office, Bangladesh has been ranked ahead of India, Bhutan, Nepal and Afghanistan among the South Asian neighbours, securing 0.277 points in terms of access to physical infrastructure of the people. It has further been mentioned that the largest estimated gain in terms of infrastructure development is for Bangladesh at $35.5 billion, followed by Kazakhstan at $26.6 billion.
A plan has been laid out to connect all districts of the country under the railway network during the current tenure of this government as demand for this mode has been rising than other automobiles for journeys. To this end, the government has decided to split the entire railway into four zones-West, East, North and South- to expedite the process. Each zone will be divided into two divisions while the country has 339 passenger trains in its fleet apart from a pair of Maitree trains plying the Dhaka-Kolkata route.
A large scale scheme has been taken out to expand the country’s power generation capacity aimed at transforming Bangladesh into a middle income one in line with the Vision-2021 of the government. To this goal, a total of 34 power plants with 11,363 MW generation capacity are now under construction and will go into operation in phases from 2017 to 2021. On the back of strong government policies, the country is not experiencing any power shortfall since it has been producing 15,379 MW of power against the total demand for 8,500-9,000 MW.
The government has approved a staggering amount worth $19.18 billion outlay for the annual development programme or ADP for the year starting July 1, a 39% increase from the current year. The transportation sector has been allocated the largest chunk of funds for mega projects such as Padma bridge, metro rail and the Karnaphuli tunnel. In the new ADP, rural development, education, power, health, and water sector are given the highest priority.
The government has undertaken a project to set up 1,500 more primary schools in rural areas aimed at ensuring cent percent education. The schools would be set up in the rural areas across the country where there are no primary schools yet. Under this government, over the last seven years, 1,324 primary schools were built in the remote areas, bringing in fruition to an uncountable number of children who earlier did not have any scope to get access to education.
A move is underway to build a total of 1,029 new community clinics in different areas of the country to take the basic health services to the people's doorsteps. Besides the new clinics, around 2,000 old community clinics would be refurbished so people could get better health services there. Envisaged and introduced by the present government, the community clinics have become an inseparable part of the health service sector in the rural Bangladesh with around 80% women and children receiving services in as many as 13000 such clinics sprawling across the country.
The government is set to increase the number of beneficiaries and the monthly allowances for transgender people under its social safety net programmes (SSNPs) in the next fiscal year. On impact, the existing allocation worth $ 1 million will see a rise soaring to $1.3 million. Some 7,550 transgender people will get the money in the 2017-18 fiscal year, while the current figure of the beneficiaries is 6,970.
Envisaged by HPM Sheikh Hasina, the Ashrayan project, meant to provide housing facilities for the landless and the homeless people, has brought in fruition for as many as 1,43,692 families, deprived of this facility, over a course of two years. Under this scheme, two members of such fateful families were given a 14 day training that would help them equip basic skills for income generation. Now the target has been set to rehabilitate .2 million homeless families by June, 2019. Like this one, other initiatives, numbered nine, rolled out by HPM have proved instrumental in turning around lives of the ultra- poor people.
Exports grew a modest 3.92% year-on-year to $28.72 billion in July-April, riding on shipments of knitwear, home textiles, leather products and jute. Month-wise, it also rose nearly 3.49% to $2.78 billion in April compared to the same month a year ago, according to the Export Promotion Bureau. Shipments of knitwear, jute and leather products and leather footwear helped the country maintain the positive export growth as exports of raw jute, jute yarn and twine and sacks and bags all went up 25.22 %, 12.91% and 15.17 % respectively.
The government has moved to enact a new law to offer foreign and local investors with one-stop services. Entrepreneurs and investors with registered companies will get 16 types of services from the one-stop service centre within a stipulated time. Once enacted, the law was expected to enhance Bangladesh's position in the Doing Business ranking published by the World Bank while this service would be delivered to both local and foreign investors and would be given centrally and regionally.
Two bilateral agreements - financial cooperation and technical cooperation - have been signed between Germany and Bangladesh on the financing of environment and safety retrofits in the Bangladesh readymade garment sector. The objectives of the project are to enhance the capacity of the selected commercial banks to better address the funding needs of the RMG factories. It is also to support RMG factories in bridging the knowledge gap regarding investments and remediation upgrades and also supporting the actual implementation of these investments.
Bangladesh has agreed to the Finland’s proposal to hold foreign office consultations to strengthen the relations further. New non-resident Finish Ambassador to Bangladesh Nina Irmeli Vaskunlahti proposed it during her meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali in Dhaka this week. The foreign ministry said that during the meeting with the minister, she praised Bangladesh’s economic growth as mesmerizing, alongside, laid out assurance to bolster efforts to make Finland visible to Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has formally assumed the chair of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the next one year with effect from May 12. This is for the first-time Bangladesh has been elected to a high post like the Chairperson of the Executive Council in the OPCW. Ambassador Belal, during his assumption ceremony, appealed to states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention to intensify efforts for formulating an untied approach for a world free of chemical weapons.
The government will train 10 million rural and underprivileged women on information technology and e-commerce by 2022 to empower them under a project worth $62 million. According to project plan, 490 information centres will be set up at upazila level. The centres will have a web portal and information archive, among others. The aim of the project is to empower the rural underprivileged women by giving them access to IT and providing technology-based service.
The government is set to buy a supercomputer to analyse critical data and reap the maximum benefits of digitisation. A supercomputer is a high-performance computing machine designed to have extremely fast processing speeds, and is employed to handle very large databases or for applications that require immense amount of mathematical calculations. The demand for a supercomputer came from the Bangladesh Meteorological Department after the recent floods in the haor areas.
The government has set a target to develop infrastructure for the ICT sector by investing about $500 million in the next two years to build 28 hi-tech,software and IT parks across the country. The aim is set to earn $5 billion from this sector by 2021, and to reach the target, the government is developing human resources, establishing connectivity and improving related policies.
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