Nov 19, 2015
According to a poll carried out by Gallup, Bangladesh has fared better than other South Asian countries including the likes of India in maintaining law and order to keep its citizen safe and secure. Gaining 78 points as one of the safest countries of the world, Bangladesh is closely followed by the United States and Australia with 77 points. With a zero tolerance policy to terrorism and violent extremism, coupled with an unyielding commitment to global peacekeeping, Bangladesh has received local and international acclaim in recent times for security matters.
Towards the fight to elevate Bangladesh to the higher middle income status, the government has set a target in motion to secure an unprecedented 8% growth rate by 2020 pushing up the total investment worth a whopping $41.26 billion. In addition, a set of time bound steps is also in the making to bring down poverty and extreme poverty rates respectively to 18.6% and 8.9%. In domestic resource mobilization, target has been fixed to take the share of external financing to 34.4% of GDP in 2020.
Major indicators of the economic health in Bangladesh continue to maintain upward trend for better part of the first quarter in this year. Bangladesh has registered 36% rise in the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) with global businesses making an investment worth $449 million for July –September period this year, comparing with $331 million for the same timeframe a year back. This surge is largely contributed to the wide ranging initiatives being envisaged and introduced by government including creation of economic zones and various incentive packages.
A major breakthrough in the Japanese national Hoshi Kunio murder case was witnessed on last Friday as officers of Rapid Action Battalion arrested three more suspects, two of them being BNP activists, who are thought to have direct involvement in the killing. Two small firearms, bullets and machetes were also recovered from their possessions. After the killing, the trio went into hiding and changed locations to avert arrest. Earlier, two more persons were caught and later shown arrested in the murder case.
Extending her firm commitment to stand in solidarity with Paris and Beirut to fight the menace of terrorism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned in strongest terms the recent wake of separate series of bomb and gun attacks in the aforesaid countries. In separate messages, the Bangladesh Premier said that terrorists are terrorists irrespective of their colour, creed or religion and must have no place in any civilized society. She expressed deepest condolences and prayed for the grieving families and departed souls.
Infrastructure and Mega Projects
With full swing progresses in the soil tests and utility services identifications being marked, officials of the country’s first ever metro rail project hope they can start the construction work of the mega project in early 2017 while contract signing for Depot Land Development is set for next year. Once become operational, this ambitious $2.5 billion project will ease traffic congestion in the city through an improved, faster, comfortable and time-bound public transportation service.
Construction works of an expressway to establish a stronger communication connecting the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong will commence soon. Moreover, preparations are also laid out to launch the work of Kanchpur 2nd Bridge, Meghna 2nd Bridge and Gomoti 2nd Bridge in the last week of this month. Such landmark initiatives are envisaged by the Awmai League government aiming to entirely upgrade the infrastructure sector and make the transport network across the country smoother, faster and cost effective.
Reaffirming her pledge to transform the railway sector into a more dynamic, modern and time bound one, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that a mammoth scheme has already been envisaged and implementation works are also well underway to bring the entire stretch of the country under railway network. She disclosed the plan when Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun met the former at her office. Highest level of focus is being attached to ensure more goods being transported through railways.
Growth and Development
For the better part of the last year the country has witnessed a remarkable surge in creating new destinations for overseas employment and getting more number of people employed across the globe resulting in growing amount of remittance being sent to the country. Recently released government data shows, over 4, 50,000 male and 90,000 female workers migrated to different countries until November 10, up from around 5, 00,000 at the end of last year, thanks to successful labour diplomacy by the government.
Healthcare services in the country will witness a major uplift as plans are laid out to make the services ever more accessible. This week Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced to set up two new medical universities at Chittagong and Rajshahi. Moreover, efforts are well underway for recruiting 10,000 more nurses to upgrade the standard of service of the public hospitals and health care centres. In recent years, Bangladesh has witnessed consistent improvements in a number of key health indicators.
International and Regional Cooperation
Impressed at the incredible march of Bangladesh to emerge as one of the developing countries biggest success stories in attaining the MDG’s, the Asian Development Bank has earmarked a scheme to provide Bangladesh with financial assistance worth $5 billion for striving to fulfill SDGs. During a visit to Bangladesh, ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang made the announcement, stating that, the money will be help the country realise the seventh Five Year Plan among other initiatives.
Country’s pursuit to remodel, revamp and lift up the primary education sector is set to gain a major boost as the European Union has sanctioned an allocation worth €50 million for the cause. In a press statement, the EU Ambassador Pierre Mayaudon commented that Bangladesh , over a space of last few years, has appeared a success story in making education accessible higher than ever. Amon others, the country has gained gender parity at primary level as well as securing 100% enrollment rate.
Bangladesh and India signed the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP) to introduce bilateral shipping service that will boost trade between the neighbouring countries by reducing freight time and cost and easing pressure on land ports. A rapid growth in bilateral trade has led to congestion at Indo-Bangladesh border and at the land, custom stations/integrated check posts, causing an increase in transportation cost. Coastal shipping between the neighbours will thus greatly facilitate trade in alternate mode.
Power and Energy
The World Bank has approved an additional $177 million fund aiming to increase reliable and low-cost electricity supply in Bangladesh. This amount will be spent for the construction of a 335-megawatt combined cycle power plant at Siddhirganj, near Dhaka. In realizing the dream to ensure electricity for all by 2021, the Awami League led government has put numerous steps in place that resulted in an unprecedented level of power being generated while 74% people already gained their access to electricity.
Climate Investment Funds (CIF) endorsed Bangladesh's plans for renewable energy development and has agreed to provide another $75 million for their implementations. The assistance will be spent for developing different sectors including grid-connected renewable energy; grid-connected rooftop solar PV; as well as mini and off-grid solar solutions and advisory support for municipal waste-to-energy projects. It should be noted that currently Bangladesh has one of the largest solar home systems programme in the world.
Trade and Investment
Bangladesh is believed to have the potential to become the second largest steel importer in East Asia, after India, and the fourth largest importer in Asia as a whole. Various aspects of the country will be showcased at the Steel & Raw Material Conference to be held in December aiming to pour in foreign investment in the sector. Bangladesh had roughly 1 million tonnes of steel capacity in 2014 but this figure is expected to grow to 3 million tonnes this year owing to steady economic growth.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is exploring opportunities to become a development partner of Bangladesh through extending financial assistances for the country. This week Jin Liqun, president-designate of the China-led bank, came to Bangladesh and met the Bangladeshi Premier to extend his intent to stand in hand in hand for ensuring development projects are flourished. According to Jin Liqun, Bangladesh deserves support in case of developing institutional capability among other sectors.
Digital Bangladesh
State-owned mobile operator Teletalk is moving towards a major brand overhaul by February 2016 -- with a new logo, website, packages and a modern complaints system -- to make the brand attractive to users. Along with brand refurbishment, Teletalk is also working on setting up 1,000 new base stations across the country. The operator currently has 3,750 base stations, of which only 1,562 are 3G sites.
As part of the current government’s digitization vision, ICT equipments like laptop, multimedia, projector, speaker, modem along with Internet connection have been distributed among 23,331 educational institutions across the country. Moreover, 9,15,778 teachers have received trainings on computer, English, mathematics, along with different subjects to improve their skills in respective areas.
Necessary measures are being taken by the government to draft and finalize the Digital Security Law with a view to curbing cyber-crimes. To that goal, a number of programmes has already been undertaken such as using digital signatures in ensuring secure use of internet. Over the last six years a revolution has taken place in the ICT sector in Bangladesh, necessitating that security measures are also stepped up to keep that sphere free from the menace of cybercrimes, including terrorism.
Bangladesh Awami League Bangladesh Insight Archives