Jun 25, 2015
The US Department of State in its latest Country Reports on Terrorism 2014 has once again vindicated the counter terrorism efforts of the current Awami League government. The report states that Bangladesh continued to make counterterrorism progress in 2014 with the government demonstrating a commitment to counter both domestic and transnational terrorist groups. It notes that the government’s counterterrorism efforts have made it more difficult for transnational terrorists to operate in or use Bangladeshi territory.
A recent United Nations report on global hunger highlights Bangladesh for having cut chronic hunger by more than half since 2000. The report cites Bangladesh as one of a number of bright spots in a global effort to eradicate hunger by 2030. Bangladesh has been referred to as one of three success stories that gives the world hopes of eliminating hunger. A number of factors has been cited as reasons for this success, including robust economic growth, progress in human development and social safety nets.
A debate was held on Bangladesh and its future in the Westminster Hall of the UK Parliament on June 17, 2015. The debate was addressed by members of the UK All Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh. The British MPs who addressed the debate highlighted the remarkable progress Bangladesh made in recent years in a number of economic, human development and social indicators. Conservative Party MP Ann Main termed Bangladesh a secular country acting as a bulwark against religious fundamentalism.
The government is connecting public offices in Dhaka with district and upazila headquarters through a high-speed fiber optic network. The ICT Division has also built a network of internet protocol telephony for public offices to ensure better communication. The services are part of the "National Backbone Network of Bangladesh Government" or "BanglaGovNet" project. The project connects 58 ministries and 227 government directorates in Dhaka with the district headquarters and 64 Upazila-level offices.
Addressing the Parliament on Wednesday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government's zero tolerance policy on human trafficking. The Premier highlighted the steps taken by her government to stop this serious issue, such as forming grassroots committees, providing coast guards and border guards with modern equipment for enhanced patrols, enactment of stringent laws etc. She also mentioned that the National Plan 2015-17 for prevention of human trafficking has been drafted which will be published soon.
Construction of a deep seaport at Matarbari in Maheshkhali Island in Cox's Bazar is set to start by early next year. Japan is likely to be the country who embarks on this mega infrastructural undertaking. The port will have a draft of around 18 metres, which is more than double the draft available in Bangladesh’s existing ports in Chittagong and Mongla. This will allow bigger ships to offload cargo there, resulting in lower port handling expenditure and enhancing competitiveness of Bangladesh’s exports.
China Communication Construction Company is set to build a two-lane tunnel underneath the Karnaphuli River under a project worth $1 billion. The tunnel will be constructed with soft loans from China and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved China Communication as the builder. Construction of the tunnel will begin by the year-end and will be completed within a four-year timescale. The tunnel will significantly facilitate transit traffic, relieve the existing bridges of traffic pressure and promote regional economic growth.
Growth and Development
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will more than double its lending to Bangladesh over the next three years, attaching priority to connectivity projects linking the country to India, Nepal and Bhutan. Bangladesh is likely to receive $5.9 billion between 2016 and 2018, in contrast to $2.68 billion between 2013 and 2015. The decision comes after a month-long discussion, led by ADB Country Director Kazuhiko Higuchi, with senior officials from the Economic Relations Division and a number of ministries and divisions in Bangladesh.
The remittance sent by Bangladeshi expatriates has touched $15 billion before the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year. Building on $24 billion and rising earnings from exports, remittance growth has reached this record threshold. According to data released by the Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday, the expatriates remitted $970 million from June 1 to 19. In the past 11 months (July-May), Bangladesh received $13.88 billion in remittance, which was 7.21% more than the same period previous in the previous fiscal year.
Bangladesh's central bank has asked all scheduled banks to spend a portion of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to raise the transgender community’s living standards. A circular in this regard was issued on Tuesday. Earlier Bangladesh Bank instructed all banks and financial institutions to give loans to people of the third gender to help them run small and medium businesses. Awami League government in late 2013 first gave official recognition to the "Hijras" as the third gender.
Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, has highly appreciated Bangladesh's progress in achieving gender parity in education, also a key MDG goal. The UNESCO director general in particular highlighted the role of PM Sheikh Hasina in this regard. The praise came as she met Foreign Minister A.H. Mahmood Ali in Paris on Monday. During the meeting, UNESCO DG renewed her invitation to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend its high-level "Leader's Forum" to be held in November this year.
Top Bangladesh pharmaceutical manufacturers Square Pharmaceuticals and Beximco Pharmaceuticals were recently given approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval is given based on the comprehensive audit on all the systems of drug manufacturing: quality, facilities and equipment, materials, production, packaging, labeling and laboratory controls. This is yet another testament to the quality of pharmaceuticals from Bangladesh and further opens avenue for exporting medicines to the US market.
According to a recent study by the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), Bangladesh will remain a popular sourcing destination for US fashion retailers. Bangladesh is the sixth most popular sourcing destination this year with 50% of the respondents currently buying from the country. The country is also among the top five sourcing destinations with the highest growth potential after Vietnam, India and the US. About 42% of the respondents expect to increase sourcing value or volume from Bangladesh in the next two years.
The government has adopted a plan to make all the EPZs across the country green and low-carbon area by setting up solar-power and central effluent treatment plants. Under the plan, the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) has setup a central effluent treatment plant (CETP) in Comilla EPZ at a cost of $4.8 million to ensure environment-friendly industrial production. This brings three EPZs under effluent treatment facilities. Various steps are also being taken to popularize the use of solar power.
According to a latest circular issued by the Ministry of Education, all new educational institutions will from now on have to make a master plan for their campus considering the size and nature of their land. These establishments will also need to make provisions for, among others, solar panel and motion sensor technology for preventing wastage of water and electricity. The circular stipulates that for the main design, the buildings should have tiled rooftops rather than flat ones to allow easy flow of rainwater and ensure space for rooftop gardening.
The Russian deputy foreign minister, Morgulov Igor Vladimirovich, has said his country's current political relation with Bangladesh is on a ‘high trajectory’. He said this during a bilateral meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart Md Shahriar Alam in Moscow on Tuesday. During the visit, both sides agreed to sign an agreement exempting visas for each other’s diplomats and officials. The meeting also discussed a whole range of issues and signing of pending agreements on trade, economy, media, education, science and technology and defence.
Bangladesh has prioritized seven projects following the signing of the Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) which establishes road connectivity between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, commonly called the BBIN countries. The projects will further the aims of the MVA which envisages a unique road network between the four countries. Personal, passenger and cargo vehicles will be able to ply the selected routes connecting the countries. The objective of the MVA is to help establish people-to-people contact and expand trade and commerce.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives