June 15, 2017
Bangladesh's Ba3 stable sovereign credit profile is supported by the robust growth of an economy that is bolstered by garment exports, Moody's Investors Service has said in a new report. While the agricultural sector is still the biggest employer in Bangladesh, the garment industry employs over three million workers and offers continued opportunity for labour productivity gains, Moody’s said. According to William Foster, a vice president and senior credit officer at Moody's, this RMG sector will remain a leading global supplier of basic garments and the industry will continue to drive the nation's growth, exports and job creation.
Bangladesh has topped a global list of countries that have installed the highest number of Solar Home Systems (SHS). Recently released “Renewables 2017 Global Status Report” stated that with four million of the systems set up so far, the country is also at the forefront of nations using clean stoves and biogas plants, and promoting the cause of renewable energy that constitutes a fifth of the world's final power consumption. This growth in renewable energy use also helped increase employment in Bangladesh, resulting 16% rise in jobs in this regard.
A majority of Bangladeshis are satisfied with the situation in their lives and are optimistic about the country’s progress, according to a recent opinion poll commissioned by The Independent and carried out by Research Development Centre (RDC) in the first quarter of 2017. 56.9% responded that they have a good opinion about the party, in comparison with only 18.5% expressed in favour of BNP. On a similar note, around 64% of respondents feel that they have made progress in their lives, compared to 24.5% who feel that their lives have not progressed while 11.4% respondents feel that their position has remained unchanged.
Bangladesh has been re-elected deputy member of the governing body of International Labour Organization (ILO) for a three years term. The election for the 2017-2020 term was held last week in Geneva during the 106th International Labour Conference (ILC). Bangladesh vied for the position of the deputy member from the North and Central Asia sub-region of the Asia-Pacific Group of ILO. Bangladesh secured the first of the two positions bagging 190 votes while Nepal became the other deputy member with 173 votes.
Nine power plants, capable of producing some 2,000 megawatt electricity, are being set up in both government and private sectors and set to go operational in this year. On a similar note, capacity of renewable power generation is some 450 megawatt a day in the country. Of the 450 megawatt, solar power is 212 megawatt, wind power is 2.9 megawatt, biogas 5 megawatt and hydropower 230 megawatt. Over the last seven years, power generation capacity has been doubled and the number of power plants crossed over 100.
In sync with the government’s vision to ensure electricity for all by 2021, a wide range of initiatives are underway to light up the houses and lives in remote part of the country. In a divisional headquarter, the rural electrification board has so far commissioned 4,285 kilometers of distribution line providing power connections to 1,99,872 clients including 1,83,716 dwelling houses, 2,768 irrigation pumps, 8,841 commercial establishments, 1,112 industrial units and 3,289 charitable organizations. On impact, a new ray of hope has transpired in rural lives with scopes are opening up for income generating activities.
Plan has been laid out to build the eighth Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge on Rajapur-Pirojpur Highway with Chinese financial support. When the bridge will be constructed, an undisrupted communication up to the southern district of Pirojpur will be ensured, alongside, two southern divisional towns of Barisal and Khulna will also be connected. To this end, a project proposal has been sent to the Planning Commission (PC) for getting approval of the $103 million scheme for building the bridge.
In course of last seven years, the government has reopened five jute and three textile mills, which were closed by previous governments, opening up employment opportunities for over 6,500 people. Moreover, a move is underway to form a $124 million special fund, which aims at expanding jute industries and regain its past glory. The government is also using $74 million provided by China for balancing, modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion of 26 jute mills in phases, he said reading out scripted replies to lawmakers' queries.
An initiative has been laid out for re-excavation of six rivers in different districts across the country by spending $62 million. The main aim of excavation is to maintain the navigability of rivers, river management to reap maximum benefit at the time when siltation is a threat in almost all rivers of the country. The project is expected to help forge an integrated approach to developing, managing and regulating both surface and groundwater resources jointly at the basin and aquifer scale. It would also strengthen the capacity for integrated water resources management across the country.
Exports from Bangladesh to China jumped by 23.6% to $881.67 million during the first 11 months of the outgoing fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, according to the latest Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data. The exports were worth of $713.18 million in the same period from July to May of the past FY 2015-16. Exports to China in the whole of FY 2015-16 was $808.14 million, registering a modest 2.17% growth over the FY 2014-15 when export to China stood at $791 million. This rise is attributed to Chinese preferential treatment to the Bangladeshi products.
Leather production in the country has been increased to 13.16% during the last three fiscal (FY) with producing 4,76,23,060 pieces of leather. The country produced 1,70,03,407 pieces of leather in 2015-16 FY, 1,55,94,602 pieces in 2014-15 FY and 1,50,25,051 pieces in 2013-14 fiscal. A good amount of financial assistance has been disbursed among poor and marginal fish farmers under Small Loan Index in Fisheries sector-2011. The disbursed small loan in the fisheries sector is interest free and the government realized and added the loan as revolving fund and redistributed among those poor and marginal fish farmers again under small loan distribution index.
Bangladesh and Bhutan will work together in preventing corruption through exchanging experiences and good practices of the two countries. To this effect, Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Iqbal Mahmood and ACC-Bhutan Chairperson Kinley Yangzom have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Eight areas were identified in the MoU for mutual cooperation including primary investigation of corruption, detection and authentication of graft allegations, exchanging experiences to prevent corruption, good practices, and educational programme to control corruption.
In observance of the national day of the Russian Federation, Russian Ambassador in Dhaka Alexander Ignatov has said they are looking forward to working closely with Bangladesh for the sake of progress and stability. Till the end of 2016, a record-high trade turnover has been posted for two years in a row, which exceeded $1.4 billion. On the other hand, the envoy also pinned hopes to take the bilateral ties into a new height in future, stating that Russia is open to partnership and cooperation with Bangladesh.
According to a news published in the Voice of America (https://goo.gl/sbqAkN), Bangladesh has begun training thousands of school girls to protect them from being blackmailed or harassed online. Government officials recently finished conducting a pilot project in which female students from urban areas were taught how to keep themselves safe if faced with online threats.
The Union Digital Centres across the country will provide some tax-related online services, including e-TIN registration, re-registration and BIN registration. The taxpayers at grass-roots will get required services faster and easier at an affordable cost. The entrepreneurs of the digital centres will also get commission against the services they provide to the taxpayers. The digital centres have been helping the country to achieve the SDGs. The centres have already provided 278 million services of 122 types including bank account opening, transactions, remittance, passport fee and online registration for migrant workers, the statement also said.
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