Jul 09, 2015
Banking giant HSBC, in its latest report, has revised upward the growth of Bangladesh’s economy, and placed the country as the best in comparison with Vietnam and Sri Lanka. Terming the current budget to be “business friendly”, the report stated that Bangladesh has a strong fiscal position, robust external balance sheet and best credit rating. The report forecasts steady flow of remittances, improved domestic demand, positive outlook for capital market and prospect of PPPs for booting investment climate.
According to the recent country rating by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Bangladesh has outperformed all the South Asian countries expect India, and moved up to category 5 in the globe. The resilience of the economy and the high and stable growth contributed to this landmark feat. This report stands as yet another testimony of the Awami League government’s policies which has elevated the country to a new frontier market, shifting a move away from aid dependency.
A latest survey, conducted by MIDAS and Power Cell, revealed that a staggering 76.66% Bangladeshis expressed their satisfaction about the present power supply situation under the Awami League government. 72.33% countrymen termed the present service as good over the past while 100% farmers in rural areas received electricity during irrigation time. The findings represent a never-seen-before rise in public confidence in the government’s efforts to realize the goal of electricity for all by 2021.
Last week, the country witnessed its incoming remittance reaching the highest in the country’s history as migrant workers sent home $15.31 billion from their earnings. Recently, Bangladesh's central bank stated that the remittance in 2014-15 also rose 7.6% from $14.23 billion in the previous fiscal year. A huge increase in manpower export has driven this growth. Meanwhile, the government has comfortably met its inflation target in the just concluded fiscal year riding on prudent monetary policies.
Law enforcers have arrested 11 suspected operatives of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), including its chief. The elite force also seized a huge cache of bomb-making material, manuals and literature on militancy and subversion. The arrested extremists confessed their role in preparing to build their organizational capability to join AQIS and unleashing a bombing spree after Eid to let everyone know of their existence and goals.
In an effort to tap into the immense prospects and spur the growth of the country’s tourism sector, the government has given the go-ahead to a varied assortment of policies which aims to turn resort town Cox’s Bazar into a planned tourism city. The Cabinet approved a draft law to constitute a special body to develop plans for the city. A three year plan has been devised to connect the coastal town with the capital through introducing a train service while works are underway to build an international airport.
Bangladesh government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two Chinese companies to implement two projects including Buriganga River restoration and Dhaka Eastern bypass construction. Under the MoU, the Chinese companies, initially, will conduct feasibility study on Buriganga restoration and Dhaka Circular Route Eastern Bypass. With the completion of the first phase, necessary steps will be taken over financing by the Chinese government in those projects.
In its latest report, the World Bank has predicted very positive outlook for the Bangladesh economy, stating that the country is expected to witness 6.7% growth of its GDP in the current fiscal year, which is close to the government’s GDP target of 7%. It stated that with the economy running at capacity, growth is expected to remain at close to potential over the forecast period. In addition, the report states that country’s consumption would remain supported by resilient remittance inflows.
The World Bank has decided to focus its next level of cooperation in enhancing the connectivity of the country with its three neighbours, namely India, Bhutan and Nepal. The planned five-year country strategy for Bangladesh will also focus on ensuring food and water security. Additionally, the five-year scheme will address the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, which aims to help the country fight disasters. In addition, WB funding will also be expanded in the areas of power and energy.
The government has taken up steps to provide special monetary and medical assistance to over 600,000 poor pregnant mothers and their newly born children in seven poverty-prone districts to ensure their nutrition support. Under a WB funded project, the beneficiaries will be given cash handouts every months through their local union post offices. The cash would be transferred on a quarterly basis. Local community clinics would be used for providing the necessary services.
The private sector wing of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced a programme to make Bangladesh's garment industry safer for workers, providing $50 million to five local banks and forming partnerships with leading international buyers. The initiative comes as many factories have found it difficult to access the capital needed to make the necessary improvements. The allocation will enable banks to increase lending for structural improvement in the garment sectors.
Bangladesh has shattered its previous record of highest ever power generation by crossing the 8,000 mega-watts mark, thanks to the visionary policies devised by the Awami League government to bring everyone under electricity coverage. On Wednesday, the total power generated and supplied to the nation grid stood at 8,032 MW. Currently, 74% people in Bangladesh have been brought under electricity coverage, up from only 42% in 2006.
With a view to ensuring uninterrupted supply of oil, Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has finalized long- term contracts with 13 companies to procure refined oil products. The deals will come into effect from the second half of this year at a lower price than is prevailing in the market now. In addition, the premium for 180-centistoke (cst) quality fuel oil for the second half of the current year will be $24 a ton, compared to Singapore spot quotes, which is $29.95.
As part of stepped up efforts to elevate foreign direct investment (FDI) to a new height, investment to the country’s economic zones and high-tech parks is being incentivised by the government through allowing the duty-free import of capital machinery, construction material and development equipment. The economic zone governing board is considering a range of other proposals to draw investors and developers, and their capital and know-how, to the country.
After conquering the global apparel market, the country's garment makers have now turned their attention to the domestic market, hoping to repeat their success. Over the last one year, at least five export-oriented garment makers -- who have been supplying clothing items to Western brands like Walmart and so on for decades -- have opened retail stores in the capital. With their emergence, the size of the domestic fashion market will cross $5 billion a year.
In a historic development, Bangladesh-India's joint survey for final verification has begun to ascertain the residents of the border enclaves of their citizenship. Started at the Bhitorkuti-Daspota enclave in Lalmonirhat district, the survey will be conducted in all of the 162 enclaves inside two neighbouring countries. Over 60 officials are conducting the survey in 111 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh and 34 officials are conducting it in the 51 Bangladesh enclaves inside India.
About 2,000 Bangladeshi industrial and technical interns are set to receive trainings in Japan under an apprenticeship and entrepreneurship training scheme. Two separate Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between the two countries were signed in this connection. Each intern will be paid 80,000 Japanese Yen for a month on a fixed date as training allowance during the collective training course while the travel expenses will be given by the Japanese government.
Bangladesh government has drafted a new law for tackling the emerging threat of cyber terrorism. Under Cyber Security Law 2015, a high powered National Cyber Security Council headed by the Prime Minister will be set up, along with a National Cyber Security Agency. The law makes provision for a modern digital forensic laboratory to verify evidences of cyber crimes related complaints for judgment and asks that cyber crimes-related lawsuits be disposed within six months.
Riding on the rapid growth of the internet and mobile phone usage across the country, e-commerce sales are growing at a record pace by 50% annually in the country. Currently, around 250 e-commerce sites and 2,800 Facebook pages are selling products online. With the Eid is nearing, the market is expected to witness a meteoritic rise during the Ramadan. Multinational companies are also entering the local e-commerce market to take advantage of the boom and bulk up their online presence.
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