June 08, 2017
Marking the arrival of the next fiscal year, this week saw Bangladesh rolls out national budget worth Tk 4,00,266 crore for next fiscal 2017-18 setting the GDP growth target at 7.4% and outlining a set of plans-strategies to build a prosperous, happy and peaceful country by 2041. In the proposed budget, 29.31 percent of the total outlay has been allocated to social infrastructure sector (of which 26.12% has been proposed for the human resource sub-sector) and 24.03% of the total allocation has been proposed for the general services sector.
Honorable Prime Minister (HPM) Sheikh has condemned the latest spate of terror attack in London, expressing Bangladesh’s solidarity with the British people. In a condolence message to British Prime Minister Theresa May she wrote the people of this country strongly condemn such mindless act of cowardice and stand in solidarity with the people of the UK. Three attackers drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing revellers nearby on Saturday night, killing at least seven people.
Foreign exchange reserves in the country rose by 12% to $32.25 billion in the end of May this year from the same month in the last year, an amount adequate to meet out nine months worth of imports for the country. Steady exports of readymade garments and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas - the key drivers of a more-than-$200-billion economy - have helped foreign exchange reserves grow in recent years. Bangladesh received $1.26 billion remittance in May, highest in 11 months, 4.37% higher from the same month last year.
Bangladesh has unanimously been elected chair of the upcoming sixth session of the Conference of the Parties for the convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to be held in Paris on June 12-15. The Asia pacific electoral group has unanimously decided that Bangladesh will chair the session to be held in Unesco headquarters. Representatives from 44 countries of the Asia Pacific region extended their support to chair the session.
A plan is laid out to install 42 more power plants, capable of producing 11,124 MW, given that sustainable development of power generation, transmission and distribution system is one of the priority areas in the country. In order to sustain the current level of power generation capacity, BMRE of the existing gas based power plants will be continued as well. Side by side, the government will carry on implementing its plan for importing power from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and the North-Eastern part of India under sub-regional cooperation.
In sync with the government’s vision to ensure electricity for all by 2021, a staggering amount worth ----- has been allocated in the budget for 2017-18 fiscal for the overall development of the power and energy sector. Over the course of last seven years, In 2009, our power generation capacity jumped to 15,379 megawatts, up from a paltry 4,942 megawatts. At same time, system loss has been reduced to 9.3% from 15.6%.
The World Bank has approved $100 million financing to help Bangladesh diversify exports in labour and skill-intensive industries beyond the garment sector and create more and better jobs. The Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project will improve competitiveness of existing and potential export-oriented industries such as leather, footwear, plastics and light engineering, where Bangladesh has demonstrated a competitive edge. The project will help create more than 90,000 jobs in non-garment export sectors.
In a bid to change the course of national progress, the government would continue priority financing for as many as ten large projects under 'fast-track' to accelerate their implementation. Envisaged and implemented by HPM, all those projects marked full swing progress owing to her direct supervision. Initiative has been taken to improve coordination between the Economic Relations Division and development partners to ease the fund release processes of 20 largest aid-recipient projects.
Target has been set to mobilize a permanent fund under HPM Sheikh Hasina's small savings model through creating cooperative societies with poor families. To this end, steps are underway to select genuine poor, vagrant, beggar families to reduce their poverty through income generating activities under a project titled one house one farm project. In continuation of this, there is a plan to form 60,515 more village development societies by involving 3.6 million poor families along with rehabilitation of 100,000 beggars within next four years.
A separate gender budget of Taka 1,12,019 crore for 43 ministries and divisions has been proposed in the new national budget for ensuring gender parity and women empowerment in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Under the gender budget in the new fiscal year 2017-18, allocation for women development is Taka 1,12,019 crore which is 27% of total budget, 5.04% of GDP and around Taka 20,000 crore more than the allocation in the previous fiscal.
The government has outlined a strategy for maintaining unremitting progress in the country's Information Communication and Technology (ICT) sector toward attaining the goal of Digital Bangladesh. The outline has been reflected in the proposed national budget for the coming financial year when this sector will get a substantial increase in funding for implementing the strategy.
The government's electronic procurement volume hit the milestone of 100000 last week in what can be deemed a major encouragement for the efforts to establish transparency and accountability in public purchases. Of the 1,233 government divisions and organisations, 1,103 have already adopted the process for their purchasing. Currently, around 300 tenders are floated every working day, and the number will be upwards of 500 when the system is adopted across the board.
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